The transformative power of technology can’t be overstated – and this applies to specific business models and organizations as a whole. But jumping into new technology, be it hardware or software, without proper analysis and planning can do more harm than good.
Above all, there’s always the challenge of how to integrate the technology to amplify the business performance without running over budget. Of course, strategic planning and implementation are the keys to success. Here are some useful pointers.
Setting the Goals Straight
Any new technology should be in line with the company’s business objectives and overall strategic goals. Oftentimes, the main goal is to increase the share within a particular market or use the technology to minimize the production cost.
Either way, the technology should be viewed as a vehicle that drives in-house changes without jeopardizing quality or the workforce. This applies to any company regardless of its size and niche, and usually affects multiple departments.
For example, upgrading a production line includes workforce education, certain design/engineering changes, and senior management support. Therefore, strategic integration needs to identify and address potential pain points before the implementation phase.
A realistic time-frame is crucial for the successful integration of new technology. It’s determined by the technology’s complexity, importance, as well as infrastructure and human resource requirements.
Going back to the production line upgrade, this is usually a major overhaul within the company and has a big role in all business processes and models. Due to this, it’s best if a company devises tactics to phase implementation and test out the technology prior to full integration.
Each implementation phase should involve individual goals and outcomes that attest to project viability. At the same time, the implementation team needs to keep the bigger picture in mind. Is this technology cost-effective? Does this technology lead to revenue increases?
The answers to these questions go hand in hand and should be used as a benchmark of success for every implementation phase. Also, it’s worth noting that the same tactics apply to much smaller projects.
The Importance of Support System
No matter how well implemented, technology without pre-defined support systems is set for failure. Unless there’s already a well-oiled support system within the company, it’s not advisable to try and create one from scratch. Note that this might not apply to some start-ups.
Chances are, the company will employ a third-party vendor or developer to supply and/or implement the technology. Ideally, the developer should provide round-the-clock support to quickly troubleshoot software, hardware, and competence issues within the system.
On the other hand, large enterprises might need an in-house specialist or team as the first line of defense. Then again, the individual or team should work closely with the technology supplier to monitor the technology and assess its performance.
And it would be wrong to assume that support systems’ job is only to work out the issues. It should also point to specific changes during the implementation phase that lead to greater savings or more efficiency.
The incentive for technology integration comes from the top of a company, but it affects all the employees. Therefore, they need to be briefed about the company’s plans in a timely manner. This helps ease the transition to a new system and gives the employees time to come to terms with the requirements.
More often than not, new technology requires new skills and this is where employee training comes into play. Depending on the technology itself and its scope, the training might take days or months. Nevertheless, it should provide the employees with enough knowledge to test out the technology’s features right away.
Ready, Steady, Integrate
Truth be told, the strategic integration of technology is imminent and companies shouldn’t resist changes. There’s plenty of software and hardware that can be customized to a company’s needs without too much disruption. The hard part is to find the product that will allow for continuous improvement of processes, thus attracting more customers, sales, and savings.