In a world where technology advances at the speed of light, leadership, and management have a responsibility to understand how the implementation of new technology will impact their organization.
Often the messages sent to management and leadership about the implementation of digital technology suggest that implementing the latest and greatest technology will give them the competitive edge. What they are not told is that implementing technology does not necessarily solve process and people constraints within your organization. When you don’t address people and process concerns when implementing technology, you may run the risk of just digitizing your chaos.
Is this technology a help or a hindrance?
When selecting new technology, it is important to determine if this technology will really be beneficial to your organization. You can ask yourself two simple questions:
- What is the job that needs to be done?
- How will this new technology allow us to do this job?
Identifying the job that needs to be done helps you to focus your attention on what it is that you are trying to achieve as a business. Only when you focus on your core deliverables can you identify how technology will help you to achieve these deliverables better and faster. If you do not constantly relate the new technology to your business outcomes, you may fall into the trap of implementing new technology that will not really add value to your organization. Sometimes it is okay to understand that just because something can be digitized, it doesn’t mean that it must be.
Understanding the impact on your business processes
Identifying the technology, you want to implement to enable the job that needs to be done is often the easiest part of implementing new technology. It is equally as important to understand how this technology will impact the processes in your organization and how people will respond to the change the new technology brings.
Determining how your business processes will be impacted by the new technology goes beyond just understanding where the new technology can be used to supplement existing processes. Instead, it is about understanding which routines you have in place within your organization that can be supplemented by the new technology.
In addition, you need to determine how your business processes need to be changed so that you can unlock the most value when you implement the new technology. It is also important to identify processes that are being made redundant by the implementation of new technology. You can ask yourself how many processes you are following routinely that no longer serve a purpose but are being followed out of habit.
Managers have a responsibility to identify and address process inefficiencies and redundancies. This is a big step in ensuring that you are operationally ready to support the new technology to come. If you neglect to revise your business processes, you may have significant difficulty ensuring that the new technology is sustainably used in your organization.
How will your people be affected?
The most complex part of implementing new technology is often the people who will be impacted. Ultimately the sustainability of the new technology is dependent on user adoption. When you do not pay close attention to the people impacted by the new technology you may overlook key stakeholders that can have a significant impact on the success of the technology.
When considering the people involved in the implementation it is valuable to consider the people who provide information to the solution, the users of the solution, as well as the consumers of the information provided by the solution. In this way, you will have a holistic overview of who will be impacted by the change and how they can be affected.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the impact of the change on key stakeholders you need to craft a plan to ensure that they are bought into the change and to assist them to become digitally enabled to use the new technology to unlock value. It is essential to take each stakeholder along for the ride when you embark on the implementation of new technology so that they feel that they are part of the change instead of having the change done to them.
It is only when you focus on the job to be done and understand how people, processes, and technology, impact this that you truly embark on a successful digital transformation journey. When this is not done, you may be at risk of implementing technology that does not really support your business, and this technology will in turn not be implemented sustainably.