What is one of your biggest challenges as a leader of a company when it comes to technology? It is most likely staying on top of current hardware and software trends, deciding what technology fits your business needs, and integrating that new technology into your current infrastructure. It is not only a matter of process challenge, but it is a financial one too. Add in the rapid changes that occur in the technology field and decisions can get very big and very impactful, really fast.
Never fear – there is an environmental force companies can use to their advantage. As we hasten to keep up with the current rate of change, we have to keep things in perspective. Technology adoption can only happen so fast – and this is a good thing. As I’ve mentioned before, people revolutionize companies, not technology, so your company culture has to be aware and comfortable with allowing the time necessary for flawless adoption and integration. After all, adding innovative technology will only work if people use it. Your challenge, then, is making sure there is a symbiotic relationship between technology and your company culture.
Company Culture Key to Change
Less than one-third of IT teams ask for input from employees before they integrate a new workplace technology—a major oversight that does not facilitate adoption. In fact, it can make the implementation process more painful because employees may feel slighted for not being asked about the issues they face and what kind of technology would help them the most to do their job better. The positive company culture that you’ve taken the time to build can very quickly tumble.
The fastest way to make employees reluctant to adopt new technology is to disregard their wants and needs. It will slow growth and keep you from implementing a true digital transformation. Remember: your company is only as strong as your employees, and your ability to recognize how quickly they can adopt new technology. The sooner your executive team, line of business managers, and group managers grasp this, the faster your business will adapt.
The key is to strike a balance between keeping up with valuable and innovative hardware and software and getting employees to adopt as quickly as they are comfortable. You need to find your company’s own balance and that may call for making your company into a new type of business.
Enter: A New Type of Business
Adopting and integrating new technology requires a new type of business. This business lives on the technological edge and has developed its company culture as one that readily embrace a new system.
I’ve written before about the five categories of people within an organization and the importance of understanding the people within your own business to drive growth. A company that understands its employees’ ability to change is one that can more easily accept and adopt digital transformation. Instead of executing a new practice before your employees have had time to accept or learn it, give your team the time they need to understand a new technology and use it to its greatest potential. Thus, you can strike the ideal symbiotic relationship between technological advances and your employees—and that’s good for business.
Learn How to Drive Technological Change
Driving technological change is only possible when you know your company’s culture. In the world of workplace tech, it’s easy to forget that your company’s lifeblood is its employees, not new technologies. I’ve seen firsthand the power of an IT leader taking the time to speak with employees about new technologies before implementation. They get everyone on the same page and let employees know the value of their input. This sets the stage for adoption instead of merely pushing something new on a begrudging team. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Don’t leave out company culture. Company culture is a vital cog in the wheel of software adoption. The relationship between hardware and software is the relationship between your team and technology. Allow the time needed for true adoption to facilitate a healthy company.
- Customize your efforts. Don’t simply adopt a new technology because it’s trending. Understand your business’ unique requirements and opt for a technology that delivers customization. A customized cloud service, for example, can solve your businesses’ challenges and increase integration.
- Take an incremental approach. Digital adoption demands careful execution and attention to the needs of your employees. Don’t replace your current system without asking your employee’s input, as this will only lead to confusion and disheartened workers. Provide adequate support and make decisions as a team.
- Strategically invest in the right IT team. When hiring new team members to help you facilitate a company technology change, look for those with a willingness to adapt flexibly to new things. Hire those with new ideas, who value collaboration and give your company a competitive advantage.
- Be proactive. Don’t err on the side of caution and fail to invest in technologies of the future. You’ll only fall behind the curve. Instead, create a culture of change from the very beginning to establish your company as one that follows current trends. That way, you won’t run the risk of cultivating employees who aren’t predisposed to embrace new things.
Understanding the symbiotic relationship between technology adoption and your company culture can make or break your business success. Technological adoption is only as good as the team that facilitates each new thing – making it more important than ever to prioritize the human side of a digital transformation.
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Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.