Why Do Tech Implementations Fail?
It’s daunting to see organizations spending millions of dollars, effort and time implementing a new technology, only to discover it gathering dust after it goes live. Despite the importance of technology adoption, organizations fear that the investments, workflow changes, and many other potential moves might not go well as expected.
Geoffrey Moore in his book “Crossing the Chasm” explains the theory of Technology Adoption Lifecycle where he focuses on groups of individuals and their willingness to embrace change in the market. He represented such kind of behavior with a bell curve where there is a chasm. Failing to cross this chasm, often results in technology implementation failure. The technology adoption lifecycle consists of the five stages – Innovators (ones who are ahead of their peers and often have great ideas), Early Adopters (often try out new things and believe in experimentation), Early Majority (often known for asking “Why?”), Late Majority (more skeptical and want proof that things will work before they try it), and Laggards (fear change). Each of these stages in the technology adoption lifecycle help in better understanding of the individual’s behavior and the segment in which that person currently exists.
Achieving a successful tech rollout means focusing on driving adoption and ensuring every person that lie in each of the stages mentioned above, understand the benefits of working in a new way and at the same time embrace the solutions being provided. So, to get your employees adopt that technology to turn your tech implementation into a breeze implementation, let’s understand the barriers that hinder the tech adoption.
The Impracticality of Standards
Setting of unrealistic standards and expecting returns out of it without proper planning will lead in an inevitable failure. Therefore, it is recommended to have a concrete discussion or a visioning exercise with the team or the key stakeholders on the business goals that the tech change is intended to accomplish, to make it realistic and attainable.
Just as a ship without a rudder gets lost in a typhoon; similarly, a tech implementation without a defined outcome doesn’t perform as expected when faced with uncertainties. So, to prevent such situation, assessing the business needs and goals is the first step to defining business outcomes. The business results can have some defined quantifiable metrics to judge its success such as efficiency, worker satisfaction, etc. A clear business outcome will serve as a guiding light throughout the launch and rollout planning, and it will also help secure buy-in across the organization.
Overlooking the Key Stakeholders
Identifying the leadership team and key stakeholders who are supreme at getting people excited about new technology helps in driving a successful adoption strategy and achieve end-user adoption. Influential people such as CFOs, PMOs and many other who are decision makers of the organizations can start to set out a vision for their organization; they make that vision seem attainable by taking the helm of the people, processes, and technology to bring technology implementations to a definite conclusion. They have the greatest influence on company culture and can actively communicate the value and benefit throughout the organization.
The Absence of an Adoption Plan and Timeline
Using an outdated planning model that doesn’t align with business objectives and end users’ needs, will quickly capsize, if not hit by an iceberg of employee resistance. Hence it’s critical to develop a plan with realistic milestones and an accompanying timeline that focuses on company outcomes and end user concerns. The adoption plan should contain a mix of activities that maximize impact and approval. Such activities may include organization announcements or newsletters, engagement events, and training. Announcements and Newsletters are great for creating a buzz within the organization. Engagement events are a perfect place to create a party-like atmosphere where you can further motivate and encourage with contests, giveaways, and recognition. And training is essential to ensure that employees know how to use the tech implementation to get their work done.
Failure to Measure Progress and Address User Feedback
A final reason for tech implementation failure is not measuring advances in deployment and overlooking the end user experiences. As stated above, a technology adoption must meet the needs of everyone for it to be a productive and sustainable investment. To achieve this, it is important to measure the progress against the defined benchmarks and collect user feedback before, during, and after any technology change. This will help evangelize the change across the organization, thereby driving higher adoption and implementation success rates. For example, user surveys are an efficient way to collect quantitative and qualitative data from users. To make the most out of your survey, it is recommended to circulate a survey shortly before the deployment as a baseline. Soon after the deployment, release another survey to gain insights about user’s experiences and ensure to adjust the plan.
Driving adoption is a continuous cycle and doesn’t end after its implementation. Continuous innovation and adding business value by conducting a visioning exercise with key stakeholders, creating an adoption plan that aligns with business objectives, providing additional training on best practices and iterating new learnings, will enable your tech implementation to be a successful one and for the most part, smooth sailing.