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What to consider when introducing technology into the workplace
Technology is everywhere. We carry it around in our pockets; it’s in our offices and in our homes. Keeping up to date with technology has become vital for businesses of all sizes.
Not only has technology become a fundamental part of business but it is changing faster than ever. As technology life cycles get shorter, more pressure is being put on businesses to update their systems on a regular basis.
However, it is important that businesses are not updating technology without consideration as to how it will add value to their business. Updating for the sake of updating will lead to substantial costs and could create confusion for employees and customers.
You need to stay at the forefront of all trends and changes in your industry. Understanding what businesses need, how best to implement change and how to choose the best technology is key to success for introducing new technology. Below are seven principles to introduce new technology into the workplace.
1. Engage the workforce
Employees are more likely to accept new technologies if they understand why they are being implemented. Share the goals of the new technology with employees. Not only will this make them more likely to cooperate with the new system, but they will be able to offer feedback on the system as it is being rolled out.
Ensure you are listening to your employees about the new systems. They may spot problems or areas that are lacking that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Maintaining good communication with your workforce is essential to introducing new technology.
Adapting to new systems can be difficult for any business but remaining flexible and open-minded will enable new technology to create a better business for everyone.
In the past, technology would focus on completing one or two functions to a high standard. This was beneficial for business in some ways but it was also restrictive when it came to moving forward or changing things up. Modern systems tend to accommodate change more readily. They are able to be adapted to suit new ideas.
A good way to test a new technology is to create a minimum viable product (MVP) which can be released to a small group of customers or employees. The use of MVPs helps flag up problems, highlight areas of resistance and outline the benefits of the new technology.
3. Customer First
Introducing new technology is no different from any other part of your business. The customer comes first. Will a new technology add value for the customer? If the answer is no, then maybe this technology is not for your business.
There are many ways that new technology can benefit both existing and new customers. Some examples include:
- More efficient workforce meaning quicker and more effective service.
- Easier and more user-friendly access to your business’ products or services.
- More visibility to potential customers.
To ensure the new technology is being used as effectively as possible to benefit the customer, it is important to have cross-functional teams. Include team members from different departments. Allow the team to work creatively together and come up with ideas on how best to implement the new technology. Make sure the team is aware of the goals of the new technology and ensure that every decision is based on these goals.
4. Make Change Stick
Once the new technology has been implemented the next step is making sure that it sticks!
The team that oversees the introduction of the new technology will be largely responsible for this. Make sure the team is able to communicate effectively with the rest of the workforce and work creatively to solve any problems that may arise. Carefully select people from all levels of the business who have shown willingness to adopt change in the past. Ensure that they fully understand the goal of the new technology and how it will benefit the business.
Another very important aspect is financial allocation. Make sure that the money being put into the new technology will generate a return and is sustainable. Set boundaries for areas that may need more money put into them and be clear on areas that shouldn’t require any more financial input.
5. A Service Mindset
In the past businesses saw technology as something they owned and operated accordingly. However, as technology has evolved it is now important that business’ view the technology they use as a service. Companies should be integrating new technology where it is needed and combining different services in order to create a customised combination that works perfectly for their business.
As with any service, if it is not working to the correct standard then it will need to be replaced, adapted or scrapped.
6. Plan the Journey
Modernising a system can be a daunting task. However, as with anything new, planning is the key. Set goals, establish milestones for every step and be ready to accept feedback as often as possible. Evaluation will help you be able to establish the effectiveness of the new technology and areas for improvement.
Every time you evaluate the technology ensure you are always referring back to your original goal. You will have introduced this technology for a reason so make sure you’re sticking to it!
7. Choosing Your Partners
Perhaps the most important step when introducing new technology is the choice of technology. How do you know you’re making the right choice?
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!
Gather information from any sources available. Explore other companies' experiences with technology and services to establish if the company of interest has similar values to your own and look at the systems they have developed for themselves before trusting them to introduce new technology to your business.
Introducing a new technology should create a long-term working relationship with the company providing the technology. It is important therefore that they are able to communicate effectively, work well with your team and create a relationship that is mutually beneficial for you both.
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