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4 tips on implementing new technologies in your organization

Summary

Consider employees' needs when implementing new technology

Time: 4 minute read
New technologies bring productivity and flexibility benefits to your employees. But beware: you can have the right technology implemented poorly, doesn't address a business need or problem, or doesn't match how your employees work. To get the most value out of new technologies, you need to understand what your workers want, what your organization needs and how technology can be an answer to both. Here are tips on how to successfully implement new technologies in your organization.

Understand how successful change happens

From your perspective, you're bringing improvement—saving employees time, allowing them to be more flexible, improving productivity, improving sales and profits, etc.But from employees' and departments' point of view, you're rocking the boat, telling them to change how they've always been doing things, give up precious tools, and take the time to learn new technologies.

Without a change management program in place, those affected by this change will struggle—impacting productivity, efficiency and staff morale. There's a lot to consider here, but you're not alone. A recent study from the Project Management Institute 1 found that more than 4 of every 5 companies don't think they're highly effective at managing change. By understanding where you may have weaknesses and deficiencies and addressing them long before any sort of change management initiative begins, you'll be able to prevent many of the issues that can cause an initiative to fail.

​If people aren't positively motivated, even the best new tools won't be helpful.

Do your homework

For the target technology solutions, research what's currently being done—and not done—in your company with mobile and other new technologies. Ask questions and don't be afraid of the answers. What are competitors, customers, and business partners doing? For example, how are people sharing task lists and project management? Do your competitors have one or more mobile apps for their sales and field support people? Do they offer apps for customers? Is it better than what you offer?Look for a problem or pain point, such as being unable to print from a mobile device, or if workers are able to easily send/share sensitive data without violating compliance rules. Then, it's time for more questions:

  • Who is being hurt? Identify employees (and groups) this is a problem for and tailor your solution to their unique needs.
  • How big is the problem? How much money, efficiency, productivity, etc. is in play here? Does it make sense for your organization to implement new technology, or is there a better alternative?
  • What's the timeframe? Are you under a deadline to get something done, or do you have enough time to adequately test and prepare the right solution?
 

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Frame the solution

When the time comes to choose the priority and importance of problems, size up the requirements for a solution. Here's a quick checklist to follow:

  • Pick modest initial goals for what parts of a problem you will be solving.
  • Identify speed bumps and obstacles to implementing a solution. For example, are there organizational or cultural or political challenges? Who might be negatively impacted by this change?
  • Identify potential solutions. Look for consumerized—but business-class—off-the-shelf products (which can include cloud and -as-a-service offerings) that require a minimum of IT resources.
  • Consider all your options. For example, if you have limited time or resources, it may make sense to bring in an outside expert with experience who could get started immediately

Presenting a solution

For a technology project to truly succeed, you have to know how you will “sell" it internally. Start by identifying initial places where the solution will be applied, such as a pilot department or group, or for a specific event. A soft launch can help smooth out any problems before the technology is fully implemented. Also, be sure to identify champions—people who will be the visible face of users. These people can be invaluable not only as a marketing tool, but as a teacher and mentor for others.From there, publicize a target timeframe for the tech rollout, and be transparent about it. If there are setbacks, explain what happened and why. Keep employees engaged and up-to-date on what's happening.

Also consider some method of measurement that will show key data like adoption rates or efficiency gains. This is key for maintaining strong executive support of the program.

A good training platform and partnership with HR is key for this to work, and a recognition program for early adopters who champion new technologies should also be considered. Ultimately, good tech isn't just about functionality—it's about presence and adoption by the masses, now and into the future.

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1 Kelly Kuchinski. "360⁰ Change Management." Project Management Institute Reprinted on Supply & Demand Change Management. June 26, 2015. http://www.sdcexec.com/article/12081109/360-change-management.