The rapid development in technology has created new opportunities in many spheres of day to day life. The new opportunities and advantages must however be adapted through a continuous integration process. For any given organization to remain competitive and relevant in the market place, the adoption of new technologies is a primary necessity. This paper seeks to determine the most effective way through which a new technology system should be implemented or introduced to a company.
“Technology implementation is a continuous process” that organizations go through to adapt to the ever changing business environment. (Beach, 2007)Effective assessment often guides the planners in laying down the “objectives, strategies and priorities of the implementation process.” (McNamara, 2010) The need for change arises from “ineffective processes and systems.” (McNamara, 2010) In various industries such “as manufacturing and service, new technology can lead to product and process improvements that produce tangible market advantages.” (Beach, 2007) However, firms must always remember that technology does not provide the solution; it complements the skills to make the company more productive. A proper needs evaluation should always be conducted before any technological implementation.
This is due to the fact that technological change can lead to more problems than solutions. In view of these the following factors must be carefully considered before any technological implementation; first, the technology in question must be the right one required to address the organization’s needs. “Is this the right technology for your needs?” (Henderson, 2005) After answering this question, the organization must be aware of the training it will provide to the users and whether that kind of training is feasible. Then the “adaptability and versatility of the employees must” be assessed because it is useless to install a new technology that employees won’t be able to use. (Henderson, 2005) After ascertaining that indeed the new technology is the most appropriate for the organizations needs a second step in the implementation process is initiated. However, the company must be able to raise the required finances to fund the selected technological change. Implementation is an important step and is about using effective management practices to apply the technology.
Implementation of the selected technology
The implementation process must take note of the anticipated “changes in cognition and interpersonal relationships between the workers.” (Edmondson, 2001) New technologies often lead to changes in the existing routines and thus may affect the company’s culture. For instance in a study conducted on “two hospitals implementing CT scanners the results showed that interpersonal scripts governing the interaction between physicians and technicians were altered in one and not the other.” (Edmondson, 2001)
The actual implementation process should be conducted by a project team. The project team should be “composed of the users and representatives from the departments that will be affected by the technological change.” (McNamara, 2010) Among other duties the team should develop and facilitate the adoption of an efficient communication strategy. For instance if a supply company needs to embrace new technology, “then representatives will be drawn from information technology, billing, central supply and other key departments.” (Beach, 2007) The project leaders will represent “the technological change required in which case they will be required to evaluate the processes and establish important linkages with other existing systems.” (Beach, 2007)
The main objective is to understand how the departments affected by the technological change will interact with others after the implementation. The project team should always “consider using tools such as process mapping and flow charting to help them lay out not only the current processes but also the desired system using the new technology.” (Beach, 2007) The tools will go a long way in helping the organization determine areas that may have been forgotten and thus offering an opportunity for measuring the suitability of the new technology to the department’s organization’s needs. Most importantly, the team should ensure the people who do the actual work affected by the change are involved, otherwise “important blind spots, such as hand-offs and sub-processes are likely to be left out.” (Beach, 2007)
To ensure maximum adoption of the new technology, an organization should conduct a proper staff training activity. Even when the workers are qualified or have the necessary skills it is important to confirm that they can handle the new technology. Before the training is offered it “is important to assess the specific needs of each employee who will interact with the technology.” (Beach, 2007) The best way to do this is to conduct an individual assessment using interviews or surveys, after which the employees are grouped “according to their reported capabilities and needs and trained appropriately.” (Beach, 2007) Those who are confident with the new technologies should be trained first to help those who are less confident or may require continuous support to adapt to the new technological conditions.
Adoption of technological change is an activity that mainly involves the technical staff. However, the non technical staff needs to be aware of what goes. For instance in case of emergencies situations every worker in an organization should be able to know what to do. The training for the non technical staff is usually less intensive; it is more of a precautionary exercise. Project plans should be shared between the technical and the non-technical staff due to the fact that an organization always works as a team and every member should be aware of what is going on even though there actual involvement may be limited. Both staffs should be well informed of the implementation plans. This due to the fact that such plans may affect the organizations day to day activities and in some instances the non-technical staff may be required to step in for the technical staff when the latter are away for training. As for the training plans sharing between the technical and the non technical staff is not often indicated as these two groups require completely different training needs. The technical support for a new technology requires a strategy that usually addresses “three key areas: standardization, centralization, or documentation.” (Henderson, 2005) The non-technical staff may be involved in the centralization and documentation areas and the relevant strategy formulation affecting these areas should be provided to them.
After implementing the technological change program, a continuous evaluation should be conducted to determine the success rate. Evaluations can be done through simple observations, interviews and even informal meetings to assess what the workers have learned from the new technology.
Technological change is inevitable for any organization, thus firms should always try to prepare their staff for it. When the need for change comes, training often is the best approach for transformation and proper training requires that every worker’s training needs are evaluated against the technological change in question.
Beach, C. (2007). Effective management of technology implementation.(TECHNOLOGY). Web.
Edmondson, A. (2001). Disrupted routines: Team learninig and new technology implementation in hospitals. Web.
Henderson, D. (2005). Tech Support Strategies. Web.
McNamara, C. (2010). Complete Guidelines to Design your Training Plan. Web.