Six Steps for Successfully Implementing New Technology
This post originally ran on Inc.com, where Rocketrip’s CEO Dan Ruch has a regular column on travel, technology, and entrepreneurship.
No matter what size, companies are constantly looking to increase productivity, efficiency, and performance. Naturally, the implementation of new technology can accomplish that. However, while introducing new technologies is essential in running a successful company, how we choose to introduce those technologies can make or break their success.
A study at MIT Sloan Management Review reports that 63% of managers believe the pace of technological change in their workplaces is too slow, with the most cited obstacle for digital transformation being a lack of urgency. They also express that the benefits of newly introduced tools are poorly communicated. With the need to constantly improve productivity often comes the pressure to find the correct technology and to have it integrated in a timely manner. But if we handle this process incorrectly, it can be disastrous. It’s important to have a progressive digital culture without compromising the success of the new technology we choose.
With careful preparation, strategic implementation, and honest evaluation, new technology can be seamlessly integrated and painlessly adopted by employees.
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your next technology rollout:
Work from the ground up – when evaluating new technology, start from the most basic level. What’s not working, what can be expected to change with newly implemented technology, and how its success will be measured. Then rank your priorities窶蒜unctionality and cost are important, but don’t undervalue user compatibility. Opt for systems that are accessible and intuitive to use.
Offer productive support – once you’ve chosen what technology you’re going to integrate, make sure to have a complete support system for mitigating any difficulties in the transition. Consider a more modern approach to training. Move away from thick paper user manuals and opt for programs that have easily accessible digital help centers. Have everyone properly trained and comfortable with newly introduced technology before your launch date. If the intended audience feels intimidated when your launch comes around, or cannot access proper support when they need it, your entire implementation could fall apart.
Avoid the impulse to rush – it’s important not to let the pressure and need to boost productivity allow you to handle implementation poorly. It may be tempting to introduce pilot programs as a means of cycling through technologies to find the right one, but taking commitment away from new technology integration can cause your entire process to fail. If you don’t have a full program in place it will be difficult for employees to commit as well.
Be transparent – transparency can reduce friction that may potentially arise with the introduction of new technology. According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, only fifty percent of employees believe that their employer is open and upfront with them. Employees who are kept in the loop and understand their role in the process will be more likely to help you achieve a seamless transition.
Build value – communicate openly with employees, speak to the organizational benefits of the new process, and explain what motivated the change. Address what could be at stake if the implementation fails, giving ownership to everyone collectively. Highlight the direct value of new technology for employees and trust them to become invested in its success. Value their opinions by taking the time to collect and address feedback.
Maintain momentum – the last thing that you want is for your new technology to come out of the gate strong, only to have things fall apart later on or to slip back into the status quo. To avoid this, put an individual or team in charge of the technology’s success. Task them with not only overseeing the process from start to finish, but also monitoring ongoing usage after the implementation phase is over.
No matter what technology you choose to drive progress and efficiency for your company, these steps will set the stage for a successful transition and implementation.