Digital Transformation: How to Keep Pace With A Culture of IT Training

By Chris Telfer|6 September 2016

Innovative technology is at the centre of several competing narratives. More than ever, people embrace innovation, especially when it makes their lives or work easier. Businesses in the technology sector are, on the whole, overwhelmingly in favour of innovation.

However, there is - and always has been - a competing narrative: innovation is bad, disruptive, unwelcome, especially when it threatens jobs or whole sectors. Technological innovation is never welcomed with entirely open arms. The New is sometimes scary, especially when The Old is familiar, comforting and a known factor.

Far too often we see the impact of failed digital transformation projects in organisations. Costly technology, deployed without sufficient understanding, training, buy-in, senior sponsorship, or resources, can harm growth and detract from mission critical targets. And yet, more often than not, the reasons behind a project still make sense: Improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, increase revenue, enhance the customer experience, and dozens of other benefits.

Why New Technology Fails To Take Root?

Companies of all sizes have been rolling out new technology for the past few decades. Not too long ago, even email was an innovation. These days, implementing new software or other solutions is usually to replace legacy systems or fill a gap where technology still doesn’t have a role to play, such as health and safety management.

In medium to large organisations, new software and other systems often go through a multi-layered purchasing process. Numerous managers, including budget holders, need to be convinced and sign-off. Even after all that happens, things can still go wrong. According to a Genpact study, “more than two-thirds of digital transformation projects entered into fail to meet expectations.” KPMG found that “only third of businesses are able to apply digital in a strategic manner, and one in five organisations can label themselves as ‘digital proof.’”

These failures are expensive, with a price tag of £258 billion a year, for technology solutions that underperform expectations.

Poor communication and understanding, along with a talent and training deficit, all contribute to negative returns on investment from projects that should deliver impressive results. At a fundamental level, there is not enough training and cultural awareness of new technology to prepare staff for digital innovation.

How To Support Staff For Digital Innovation

#1: Encourage BYOD Implementation

Consumers are leading the way with new technology. Even in business environments, many would prefer to use their own devices (Bring Your Own Device: BYOD), which is forcing corporate IT departments and service providers to keep pace, to provide new security, remote desktop, help desk and other solutions for device-independent employees and contractors.

Ask employees what work-orientated apps are they using? Do they use what you provide, or have they found another solution? Digital transformation doesn’t have to start in the boardroom. Your staff may already have a solution for a company-wide operational challenge.

#2: Support Training Initiatives

Technology that no one can use isn’t a solution. It is a costly mistake. Whenever possible, pilot new software on a small team, to fully understand the training they need and how to make a rollout as smooth as possible. Encourage staff to ask questions, to try and break things, to think through the different scenarios they will use the software.

Make a training program robust enough to support team members with a diverse range of technical abilities.

#3: Improve Communication Processes

Despite numerous advances in communication technology over the last few decades, including dozens of social networks and messaging platforms, this is still one of the main reasons for digital transformation project failures. Training and articulating project values and the business case can often get lost in translation between the technical and business teams.

Before commencing a project, it’s vital to ensure everyone is on the same page, to avoid miscommunication or a failure to manage exceptions once resources have been allocated. Ensure everyone, from project sponsor to team lead are in open and honest communication, to keep things moving along smoothly, whilst working closely with front-line staff who are starting to use the new technology.

With effective resource management, communication and training, digital transformation projects and new software implementation should generate impressive returns. Keep everyone on the same page, manage expectations accordingly, and train staff to be curious about new technology and trial solutions on their own devices; before investing time and money in a project without sufficient front-line buy-in and training.

If you would like to speak to me about this in more depth please contact me directly on 0845 643 6060.

Further Information

Inhouse vs. Outsourcing

Decide if the continuation of an in-house technology team is the best way forward, versus the benefits of outsourcing to an external expert.


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