Tech Integration: The Crucial Phase We Often (But Shouldn’t) Rush13th December 2019
Are you adopting new tech to streamline your business? Learn from my previous organization’s mistake that led to sloppy execution of certain tasks and poor software utilization.
Why did these happen? We forgot to keep the employees engaged during the integration phase.
What most managers don’t fully grasp is that new tech adoption does not end after you’ve rolled it out to the employees. Investing resources and time in the integration phase after rollout is just as important as investing in acquiring new technology. Let’s put this into context.
Long ago, my boss carefully selected a project management software for our team, campaigned for its approval, and ‘crash-coursed’ us on how to use it. Then our team was encouraged to continue learning and customizing it to our benefit. All sounded well and good until the drum roll has faded and we started operating under new tech gears.
Problem no. 1. Wrong utilization and failure to follow instructions resulted in disgruntled teammates. The instruction was for project leads to provide detailed instructions when creating a task. One of us kept on assigning tasks with no clear instructions.
Problem no. 2. Lack of expertise (and maybe laziness) led to poor results. The software was supposed to keep each project file updated in real-time, and to foster efficient communication among people working in different time zones. But some consistently fail to provide these updates. Whether it’s due to laziness or confusion with the software, we don’t know. But it made communication more frustrating.
Problem no. 3. It takes a considerable amount of time to organize tasks and update them on the project management software. Thus, we wonder if we’ve become faster and not slower at accomplishing tasks. In my case, I became slower.
According to a Harvard Business Review article on Implementing New Technology, for an innovation to succeed, it needs an implementation team that will fulfill the roles of the sponsor, champion, project manager, and integrator.
We nailed the first three roles. Our organization supported us, and my boss championed and managed the new software. But we did not understand that ‘integrating’ a new technology requires more than just two rushed huddles and a general reminder to play with the tool and update our boss if we had questions.
Rather, tech integration should be a continuous, thoughtful, and intentional dialogue initiated by the integrator (who may or may not be the same as the project manager). It should help you identify wrinkles that need to be ironed out or major setbacks that need troubleshooting.
Unfortunately, I’m no longer part of that organization and cannot share this newfound learning with them. But if I have the chance to do tech adoption all over again, here’s how I’ll do:
- Ensure that everyone on board understands the problem this technology is trying to solve. According to Sanjeev Sahgal, HR Strategy Head at The World Bank, “Most projects fail at adoption as they are more “follow the trend” projects.
- Let them know they have a crucial role in making this tech integration a success.
- Have a system in place for tracking and measuring results or changes in productivity to find out if the new tech is helping our bottom line.
- Have a robust feedback mechanism for gathering information for users.
- Take time to listen, digest, and ponder on feedback because it may be more crucial than how it looks from the surface.
- Pay attention to how this new technology will affect or alter (whether positively or negatively) old ways of doing things.
- Be patient with the process and don’t allow haste to make waste.
Looking deeper, the main problem my previous team had was that we were in a hurry to reap the benefits of integrating this new tech into our operations. We were overloaded, deadlines were ticking like time bombs, and we wanted a tool that would make us more efficient.
The problems we encountered could have been addressed with proper coaching or disciplinary measures. But none were made because there was no system for that set in place.
The ultimate lesson learned is that if you plan to invest in new technology, you should be ready to match that investment with a readiness to invest in tech integration. It’s a two-pronged sickle. You have to have both to reap the best results.
So are you about to adopt new tech to streamline your business? Don’t take shortcuts to get the best results.
After reading the articles on my website, you would be quite likely thinking about the brain behind this information. It will be better to inform that one person could never create, update and maintain such a big website. Although people like to call me as the owner of this information portal, I would like to describe myself as a geek trying to help others.