When was the last time you spent your hard-earned cash on something intending to never use it? You say, not something you would do? Well, that’s exactly what happens with nearly a third of all technology investments. Why? Some of the most common reasons are employee resistance and lack of internal resources. Employees can resist the new technology because they find it disrupts their routines or because it’s too much of a learning curve. Implementing a new technology can require extensively tapping limited internal resources.
Whether it’s a small or large investment, the business case for new technology doesn’t change. Therefore the key is to lay the foundation for success. Follow these 5 steps to support the implementation and move everyone toward adopting something new and –most likely– different.
- Create an implementation plan. Long before the technology purchase is finalized, create a plan for how it will be communicated and rolled out within the organization. Develop an implementation plan as soon as the business case is approved to help keep the effort from stalling out. Use the plan to help others visualize what success looks like. Include rollout stages and milestones in your plan. Celebrate the small wins, so the team feels like they’re understanding and on the right track with the plan. Incorporate some of the next steps into your plan.
- Pave the way. Start communicating with your team and anyone who will be interfacing with the new technology right from the start. Be clear about why the new technology is in consideration, its benefits and its capabilities, and why and how the technology will be of value to them. Share information, demos, and other resources that will help to familiarize and educate people on how the new technology works and why it’s valuable to them. Human beings are creatures of habits and most people prefer familiar routines. The earlier you bring people into the process, the more likely they’ll be onboard when the technology goes from an idea to implementation.
- Choose a change agent champion. The person responsible for the implementation isn’t necessarily the best person to help the organization embrace the change. A change agent champion needs to be good at listening and garnering support. Without a doubt people will have concerns about the new technology, especially around what it means for their work and jobs. The change agent champion should be skilled at facilitation and collaboration. A good champion enables people affected by the new technology to voice their issues and facilitate change management.
- Develop and commence training. Don’t leave learning the new technology to chance. Before trying to create your own training program, find out if the company providing the new technology offers training to support implementation. Ideally these companies have supported numerous customers which has guided the development of their training programs. In addition to helping with the learning curve, training helps users become both more confident and proficient. Remember different people learn differently so be sure the training accommodates different learning styles.
- Pilot first to demonstrate value and success. Phasing an implementation is a common practice. For example, if you’re buying a new help desk for a hospital group or school district, you might start with one school or one hospital before rolling it out across the entire organization. A pilot provides a method to gather feedback quickly, gain insights into what internal issues might arise, and make adjustments as needed. It also helps people begin to become more comfortable with the new technology because they can see it in action. For many people, seeing something in advance of using it, makes it less scary.
We know all the hard work that goes into even deciding upon and purchasing a new technology. Remember that the implementation of the new technology is just as important. It’s really what makes or breaks your teams’ success with using the technology. Keep implementation in mind as you evaluate the new technology options.