Adoption of new Technology

What’s been your experience in your business with adoption of new technology?  Has it been an easy process or are your staff fighting you all the way?  Do you feel like you’re constantly fighting battles and no-one really seems to give a stuff?

First involvement with new technology is the most vital first step.  It needs to be a good experience to allow you and your staff to embrace the new technology.  If it’s a bad experience, nine times out of ten your staff will reject the product and will never approach its use with a positive attitude which in turns leads to non-adoption.  This is obviously exceedingly dangerous for you and your business.

Unfortunately the IT staff deploying new technology are often too busy and IT focussed to pay attention to the users’ first experience – they are usually flat out making sure they follow all the steps to make the product work and the user can double click an icon and have access to their fantastic new product – whether they understand the new product is (or seems to be) irrelevant.  Once the system is installed, they feel their job is done, pat themselves on the back and walk away happy.

The focus in any IT system implementation needs to be on the customer experience and customer relationship.  Too often, we see businesses that use IT consultants who are more interested in selling and installing a product than identifying and implementing a solution that meets the customer needs.

What is this saying to the first time user who is new to the product and may feel overwhelmed by the new “solution” and its functionality?  We hear the following from staff when they have had a new system inflicted on them:

  • They don’t understand how important my job is, and that I don’t have time to learn all this for myself;
  • Do they really understand or care what our needs are or is it just a sale?
  • They don’t care, as long as the product is installed, they can walk away and I am left to flounder;
  • Do they even know how to use it themselves? Are we their test case?
  • What have I paid all this money for if I now don’t know how to use it properly?

New technology is useless if it doesn’t get used.  Users usually don’t get to see what benefits and efficiency’s the product can provide if used correctly.  They look at this new tech as a thorn in their side that the owners of the business are making them use leading to frustration, misery and loss of staff.

If you are looking to invest in new technology, make sure you do your due diligence first.  You need to sign up with a business partner who will hold your hand through the process, identify a solution (or suite of solutions) that meet your current and identified future requirements and ensure adoption of the new product takes place from first contact.  This process actually involves your staff in the design and “wish list” development when identifying “what can be”.

You also need to choose a champion within the business who will drive the change.  This champion needs to have the time to dedicate to the project and not be stressed about all the other work they have to do.

Make sure the implementation partner or IT professional will be available for on-site support for the first couple of days after going live.  If staff don’t get answers to their questions on a timely basis or if their problems are put on the too hard list, they will have a negative experience and not want to learn more about the product.  Staff will blame the supplier, say the product was never installed properly in the first place and has never worked, when in reality they just weren’t shown how to use the product correctly.

When non-adoption of technology takes place, businesses end up paying a lot of money for a “solution” they will never use, then pay more money for a consultant to come in and recommend a new product that suits their business better and install this new product.  It’s a very costly and time-consuming experience and something no business really wants to go through twice.

If you’re considering changing your software, make sure it’s done properly and spend the time to get it done right the first time. This will lead to increased staff happiness and retention, efficiency and effectiveness improvement and a far more profitable business.

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