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Why a culture of change is vital to the adoption of new technologies

This article was originally published on Technology.Info.
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Businesses can’t ignore the new and increasingly popular technologies such as cloud, social media and BYOD that are revolutionising the way we work. These technologies can play a huge role in keeping a company ahead of the curve and give them a significant advantage over the competition. Yet successful implementation of change means recognising and addressing the many challenges that companies will inevitably have to face. These require strategic investment, careful planning and the complete adoption of a ‘culture of change’.

Despite the challenges, neglecting to take effective technological implementation is becoming increasingly risky. A prominent example of neglect is the recent IT problems suffered by the RBS group, which CEO Ross McEwan admitted was because of a failure to invest properly in IT systems. This led to three major system failures, the most recent of which hit consumers on Cyber Monday – one of the busiest shopping days of the year – and fuelled a large amount of negative publicity.

Creating a culture of change

New technologies may be effective but there will often be resistance from staff as people defend the methods and processes they’re used to. Consulting employees, and in particular implementing an effective feedback process, will not only help to appease any concerns but will enable the company to gain an understanding of the true impact of change.
Employees have the best insight into what works, what doesn’t, and what can be improved. Ford motor company, for example, offers rewards to workers who make suggestions which go on to be successfully implemented. This not only incentivises employees to understand, embrace and think about the technology they are using but helps people to know that their opinions are valued.
Another key factor in determining whether staff fully embrace a new technology is their understanding of how it works. Investments of time and money must be made to ensure all staff are educated about any changes that are set to take place. All too often organisations focus too much on the technology, when actually they could be looking at what makes a real difference to an organisation, and helps them to realise the true benefits of technological change – people. This makes training a fundamental part of adopting new technologies. It needs to be consistent at every level across the organisation to ensure smooth adoption and integration. It is surprising how many IT professionals aren’t confident in their ability with new technologies, such as cloud.
Technology now pervades every element of most businesses. It is by no means confined to the IT department anymore. Organisations that can’t make the most of change and innovation face the threat of becoming extinct and training for these changes is crucial. It can come from both internal and external providers and an on-going process of refresher training will help to ensure that everyone’s on the same page which will save money and time in the long run.

Planning for the impact of growth

Companies that have serious growth ambitions must have solid strategies for implementing new technologies that can scale up or down as required. Technologies like cloud can help companies accommodate growth easily, enabling them to concentrate on growing the business, rather than getting distracted by IT concerns. Planning for the integration of a new technology can take a lot of work but it is too important a step not to take.
Additionally, it’s not just small businesses who should implement cultural changes to make the adoption of technology easier. Technology also enables larger organisations to retain a competitive edge as increasingly popular models of operation, such as home-working and BYOD, can only be supported by major changes like a migration to the cloud.
The businesses that work closest with their staff when implementing technology will see the greatest benefits from it. A company’s employees are its greatest asset and their buy-in will speed up the adoption and optimisation of new technologies in the on-going change process – enabling the entire business to benefit from this ‘culture of change’.