Companies aren’t paying enough attention to change-management when they decide to implement a new technology. That was the consensus when I recently spoke on a panel for Business in Vancouver on Technology. I was joined by Craig Brennen, CEO of QuickMobile, Greg Malpass CEO of Traction on Demand, and Elizabeth Vannan, Lead Technology consultant for MNP. It was clear to all of us on stage that the problem stemmed from fear — and tech sector companies are not immune.
As many as 70 percent of new organizational systems fail because of cultural resistance.
People resist change. That’s what gets many companies into hot water when bringing new technologies into their operations. As many as 70 percent of new organizational systems fail because of cultural resistance, according to Talent Management. People are afraid of losing their job if they fail or if they under perform.
Whether you’ve got 5 people or 5000, convincing a team to adopt new behavior or change patterns can be a challenge. When it comes to change management, Brennen says there’s a formula companies can use to determine if change is possible. It was developed by David Gleicher in the 1960’s. He discovered that the dissatisfaction with how things are now multiplied by the vision for what is possible, multiplied by the first concrete steps that need to be taken towards the vision, must be greater than resistance.
The second biggest challenge is getting lost in the data. Take Google Analytics or Adobe’s Omniture web analytics software, for example. Both offer hundreds of thousands of ways to slice and dice your website’s data so that you can extract insights. How do you use this tool to get information that’s most relevant to you? Malpass, who heads up a 40-million dollar software development company that specializes in Salesforce CRM points out that companies need to think carefully before they analyze data.
“The danger is entering into data with hypothesis and using it to sway your direction and trying to prove yourself right,” he says. “People can use the same data and come up with completely different stories because how their bias shaped it.”
The third mistake companies make when implementing technology is taking a siloed approach. In 2012, Fast Company wrote an article about the importance of smashing silos to increase business performance. As they point out, creating silos has the following side effects: nonaligned priorities, lack of information flow and lack of coordinated decision making across silos. By treating technology as it’s own division, companies are forgetting that technology is a tool that should be used across an organization not as a specific function within one. Technology touches all aspects of a business and should be leveraged by everyone in the organization.
A fourth mistake companies make is not planning. Elizabeth Vannan (who in my humble opinion is one of the rising rock stars in technology at MNP, Canada’s largest home-grown accounting firm), pointed out that many companies fail to plan before they implement. She sees it all the time. Common planning oversights are forgetting to qualify the timeline required to implement, taking into consideration the type of personnel resources and skillsets that will be required, or forgetting to calculate costs involved with doing the implementation. So often companies will look at the hardware and licensing fees, but neglect to factor in training and consulting fees.
And finally, companies make the mistake of thinking technology is the solution when in reality it’s just the vehicle that makes reaching the objective easier and faster.
As Vannan gently stated, “remember to start with the business question first. The software is just the tool. If you know what problem you are trying to solve or what information you’re trying to learn about your customer then filtering your data to make it relevant in the context of your business is what you need to focus on.” It sounds simple, yet even top executives at some of the most advanced tech companies around sometimes seem to forget this.