Digital Transformation for many years has been a buzz phrase for companies looking to appear as if they are keeping up with emerging technologies, while many of these same companies have not even begun to scratch the surface of its possibilities. However, as more innovative technologies are released and the boundaries of what’s possible are pushed, digital transformation continues to grow as a movement. This growth has meant many of these companies sheltering behind the phrase have to actually get on board with the transformation journey, and start to explore the emerging technologies that offer new and more efficient ways of working, or fear being left behind.
With the increased use of digital technologies having profound effects on both the public and private sector, companies are coming to realise that digital transformation is here to stay. So much so, that a study in 2017 conducted by Couchbase, which surveyed over 450 heads of digital transformation for enterprises across the US, UK, France and Germany, found that 54% believe organisations that don’t keep up with digital transformation will go out of business or be absorbed by a competitor within four years. It is clear businesses understand the importance of new technology for organisational growth, however in many cases they fail to implement it effectively into their environment.
It is not uncommon for businesses to face barriers when implementing new technology or ways of working, but recurring barriers are evidently stepping in the way and limiting both public and private sector organisations’ ability to explore the possibilities of new technology. These reasons need to be explored, to understand why organisations are only achieving incremental benefits from their digital transformation journey.
One of the biggest reasons cited for organisations struggling to introduce new technology has always been the people using it. More often than not, the blame is put on the employees within these establishments, citing reasons such as they were stubborn and unwilling to use the technology. Supposedly, these people fear the use of technology, believing it will ultimately make them obsolete.
If this is the case, questions will naturally be asked when large technology projects are failing, as this wastes large amounts of money, which some organisations—especially public sector ones—simply do not have or can’t afford to waste. This picture is painted all too often, however, with 89% of people in the UK being digitally engaged, it begs the question: are people really the biggest problem when companies try to implement new technology? With so many people using technology in their everyday lives, the evidence stacks up in the favour of the people, who are used to using technology regularly, and will therefore understand the value and opportunities these solutions will provide. If people aren’t the problem, then what are the problems facing organisations and technology adoption.
In an article on Jobber Tech Talks, Dr. Jonathan Reichental, CIO for the City of Palo Alto discusses some of the reasons behind enterprises having difficulty implementing new technologies. One of the reasons, and a one we quite often see, especially in the public sector, is organisations dealing with outdated legacy systems. As expected, moving away from legacy systems eats up a lot of resources, something that can be tricky to allocate in organisations that are already stretched. However, it’s much more than this, there is often a culture of sticking with the tried, tested and dependable, at all costs.
This makes it harder to move away from despite newer, more stable and supported technologies becoming available. With stories of organisations attempting to roll out new technologies in a big bang style manner and it failing, it’s easy to see why these organisations are so sceptical to move away from their trusted systems, rather than rueing the project wondering where it all went wrong.
These projects have a certain level of complexity, which is to be expected given the nature of what is being implemented. Some will be more complex than others, but as more technologies are added to an organisation’s stack, the complexity of their infrastructure network only gets worse. With more technologies depending on each other, even the smallest of changes can have sometimes devastating effects, as Delta Airlines saw in 2016 when a power failure, combined with a failure of certain systems connecting properly, meant around 2,300 flights were cancelled. This led to their third quarter profit guidance being cut. Albeit this was a particularly large, and public failure, it should serve as a reminder about overly complex systems over relying on interdependency.
However, replacing these systems—simple or complex—comes with a cost, something that is inevitable, but with so many projects failing or not even making it to implementation, there comes a point where chasing innovation and digital transformation becomes unprofitable. This is down to the fact these projects are much more than just an upgrade or an enhancement, they involve a large amount of risk and implementation unknowns, even more so when replacing complex systems. With this in mind, managing risk and the unknowns doesn’t have to be hard, reducing these costs will inevitably reduce the overall cost of the project.
Having an effective risk management tool where your project leaders and upper management can not only monitor happenings within the project, but also be able to effectively identify and mitigate risks is key in reducing the cost and complexity of implementing new technologies. eShare’s board portal—BoardPacks—has a risk heatmap that gives you the power over risk, by providing all the essential information in one place, implementation costs and risks can be managed seamlessly. This will help to improve the outcome of these implementations, and stop organisations being left behind in the race to digital transformation.
How organisations work at overcoming the barriers discussed is vital, as reducing the negative aspects will ultimately improve the adoption of new technology, whether it’s for your leadership team or the whole organisation. To reduce these negative outcomes and break the barriers, organisations need to look at how they work and whether they could change their processes to be more effective, bringing them in line with their overall strategy.
Changing the way an organisation works doesn’t come without its issues, however if a culture is established with a top down approach, and then backed up using technology, adoption rates will be more likely to improve. The issue with introducing new technologies to employees is that there is only so much a human being can take in, and radical technologies that are not only alien but are also thrust upon people are going to be even harder to process. If your organisation has this approach, telling people to use these technologies won’t make it instantaneously sit in with your employees’ work patterns and processes.
Building a culture and cultivating it so your workforce is on board and supporting this way of working already will mean they see the value of the technology, helping it to effortlessly integrate in with their work processes. This does require your workforce being educated of the benefits these technologies can provide, which can sometimes be hard to do with limited resources, hence why so many organisations are picking technology partners and providers to help with this. This dramatically saves the cost and time that would be spent on developing training programmes, when specialist providers, such as eShare, can provide up to date training based on your requirements, big or small.
Cultivating a strong culture also requires collaboration throughout the organisation, so that everyone truly is on the same page and pulling in one direction. Collaboration at the top of the organisation is important but also collaboration with employees on potential technologies, how they will be implemented and integrated with their roles is vital, as they will know their jobs better than anyone. Building collaboration into your technology implementations alongside effective risk management will help your organisation thrive as it keeps up with digital transformation and its competitors effortlessly.
BoardPacks helps to make these hard tasks effortless with features such as the risk heatmap, but useful collaborative tools such as annotations, shared notes and presenter mode make sure no information is missed, and everyone can be heard to ensure the correct decision is not only come to but also planned out in detail.
With tools such as BoardPacks available, ready to support and facilitate positive changes, organisations that continue to work in the same rigid way they have been cannot put the blame of failed technology implementations at the feet of its workers saying they haven’t adopted it. When the stark reality is that company culture is to blame, and while organisations continue to use the same processes, they will continue to achieve the same limited benefits.
Organisations that look to take the matter in house continue to face these issues compared with organisations who elect to use a SaaS solution. Often they look to add in unnecessary requirements that eat up time and money, while SaaS solution counterparts take away the risk and development costs and often provide solutions to problems you hadn’t even considered, meaning resources can be used more effectively elsewhere. With 90% of digital projects failing to meet expectations, maybe it’s time to set the wheels in motion and begin changing your company’s culture and approach to technology.
If your organisation needs any help improving its collaboration and risk management, eShare are happy to assist. If you would like to see how BoardPacks can provide the foundation for a strong, collaborative and inclusive company culture, click here to register for a free, no obligation demonstration.