Gartner predicts that IT spending will reach $3.5 trillion dollars in 2017. Companies of all sizes across industries are looking to deliver sound technology investments to meet business goals. While most executives realize the impact technology could have on their bottom line, many are delaying adoption. For example, in one study, 90% of executives recognized that big data was relevant to their business, yet only 39% reported implementing new technology in their own business.
The truth? Adopting new technology in business is a huge decision with major financial implications. Getting buy-in and implementing a new technology across an organization isn’t easy. So, to smooth the adoption process, we’re giving you our top 10 common pitfalls to avoid:
Budget is important. In fact, it’s probably one of the biggest factors driving your purchasing decision. Make sure you know your budget before searching for a solution. Think about the challenges you’re facing and what solving them would do for your bottom line. If you go into buying mode without a clear picture of the problem you’re trying to solve and what a solution would be worth to your organization, you’ll be tempted to purchase the cheapest option… and you’ll get what you paid for.
Before you adopt a new system, ask yourself, “What is the need?” The solution you choose should directly meet that need.
All too often, we hear horror stories of organizations that were implementing new technology only to realize it was a waste of their time and money. Typically, the technology itself was not ineffective; it simply failed to address the actual business need. While cost is the primary driver of apprehension toward adoption, it’s important for companies to remember that business technology can have an impact that extends well beyond a simple return on investment. It might seem obvious, but choose the solution that will actually meet your needs.
Adopting new technology in business is not a plug-and-chug process. If you’re expecting nothing to change, there’s a good chance you’re not ready for a new solution in the first place. Innovation takes flexibility, and having a “this is how we’ve always done things” mentality will hinder the impact of the implementation. You’re adopting a new process to maximize the benefits of the solution, so keep an open mind and your eyes on the prize.
Historically, centralized IT groups would implement new technology within a business. Now, things are changing. Line leaders of individual departments are making their own tech purchase decisions. This can lead to chaos when those technologies don’t integrate with each other. Make sure your technologies can work together, and be mindful of how a new solution will work with the rest of your tools. Siloed solutions will only take you so far, so opt for a full-service solution when possible.
Today’s technology can provide some pretty spectacular gains for businesses, but implementing a new technology in an organization requires a human element. Make sure you love not only the technology but also the company and team that comes with it. What are their culture and customer service policies? Remember, from onboarding to training to ongoing support, you’ll (hopefully) be working closely with the team behind the technology.
One of the biggest mistakes made by organizations implementing new technology is focusing only on the here and now. While leveraging technology to solve just your immediate business challenges is tempting, think big picture and be mindful of what’s coming next. As your business evolves your needs will change, so find a system that can grow with you.
In case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of technology solutions on the market. There’s no need to dive into a relationship you’re not sure about. Check the right references (within your particular segment or industry, especially) to make sure the solution you’re considering is worth your time and money. Take plenty of time to speak with the potential solution provider and your partners. That short investment of your time will pay dividends down the road.
The decision to adopt a new business technology should be data-driven. A recent study found that companies in the top third of their industry that used data-driven decision-making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors. Consider both your internal data as well as the projections that your new solution provides.
When you’re implementing new technology, you’ll inevitably face some growing pains. Systems must be updated, processes must be reworked, and your team must be trained. If the solution itself is too complex or the onboarding process too demanding, the team may push back. When searching for a solution, make usability and support a top priority to avoid this lag in productivity.
You’ve researched the new solution for hours on end, received buy-in from the higher-ups and are ready to make the jump. Not so fast… The simple fact of the matter is that even the most powerful business solutions won’t work if your employees are unwilling or unable to use them. Discuss the transition with your team and walk them through the strategy driving the decision. If the new technology will ultimately make their jobs easier—even better. Be sure that expectations are set before implementation begins.
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