Does technology adoption need people change?
Organisations don’t change, people do. An organisation may have a pile of machines, cloud space, lots of data, but who is using it and who is generating value from it? When delivering a technological solution, either internally or to clients, managing the people side of the change may be as crucial as the technical side in driving adoption and realising the ultimate benefits.
Its not easy to move from your favourite platform to another one. Organisation that still use dated software and networks abound. I remember joining a world-class financial services organisation in the early 2000s that was using a key software system that still had green screens as the user interface (technology dating back to the 60s)! Was there software that could do the same work – sure there was, but the problem was that division heads were not prepared to go through the cost and trouble to lead their people to using the new software. Even IT was hesitant to switch off the system, and when I dug in to find out why I found that there were people there that had a vested interest in the technology, comfortable in their ways, and were quite happy to give great support to keep it running. That amazed me – I thought all IT people loved innovative technology!
So just installing the new system does not mean people rush to use it. We need to consciously plan and act to help people adopt new ways of working that ultimately will drive technological consumption producing its associated benefits.
Adoption is all about individuals
Getting technology to work is about getting people who should be using it to do just that. A change of technology most often implies a change in behaviour. It’s both adoption and proficiency that must be built. Good change management happens when we reduce the risk of non-adoption and increase the value, we, change managers, deliver to organisations. Research is very clear that the better the change management the more likely we are to achieve the adoption we seek. There is a process that needs to be followed and change management provides the framework for that process. We have also realised through years of experience that this is not about one role helping people adopt but involves leaders at all levels. There’s activity for all leaders to play. At the senior level its about supporting the project team that deploys the technology, communicating to all users the organisational benefits expected from the change and working together across all the functions that need to adopt the change. For direct leaders of the affected people it’s about understanding what exactly changes for them and coaching them on how to adopt and become proficient at using the new technology.
So when deploying new technology or even just upgrading existing technology it’s good to ensure;
- You commit to planning and executing management of adoption and usage, using change management
- Use experienced and skilled change managers to help you and your people adopt the technology
- Understand how adoption links directly to achieving value
- Measure consumption (adoption and usage) of the new (and also the old) way
Using the above approach builds a capability to change that will provide value in your current deployment and also help you with other changes in the future.