Here is an alarming statistic — more than two-thirds of all technology projects fail. The rollout of new technology is a necessity in today’s business environment, where companies must innovate to grow and remain competitive, but how do you introduce technology into your business the right way?
How do you overcome the fear of change and of technology itself inherent in every rollout? How do you encourage people to use new technology, or better yet, how do you turn them into champions of the “new” way?
Here are strategies that we’ve seen work based on our own experiences implementing our construction management software for the last 20 years.
Define success before you start
Articulating success can be difficult; however, you must define success and how you will measure it before you begin. There can be no uncertainty. You should also define success for each type of stakeholder. Success for the executive or technology buyer might mean quantifiable savings or headcount reduction. For the day-to-day users, success usually means something different — easier ways to accomplish tasks. It’s important to get input from everyone.
We bring stakeholders together to define success. It’s not uncommon to hear unrealistic expectations, conflicting goals or outcomes that can’t be measured. These discussions turn into negotiations. Sometimes this process can be slow and painful, but take your time now so you can speed up later once you have a clear definition among the group.
Team members will walk to the end of the earth to achieve the goal when they are bought in completely, understand the goal and know what’s in it for them.
Take baby steps
When it comes to technology implementation, you can deploy in baby steps (phase-in technology over time) or with a big bang (do everything at once). The problem with the big bang approach is that most of the time all you get is an explosion. When given the choice, I am a big fan of baby steps.
In most cases the big bang approach actually takes longer — especially when it doesn’t work. My suggestion is to look at your new technology and your definition of success. Figure out the one thing you can do first and focus on getting that right. You will get a quick benefit, but more important, your team will have a win under their belt.
Minimize your risk
You can minimize your risks in a technology project by doing the following:
- Over-communicate — The leader must communicate the plan and the benefits relentlessly. Celebrate the successes, even the small wins, to spread that winning feeling. Evangelize what you’re doing through formal and informal channels often.
- Get the “Been There, Done That” software — Technologists love to describe features and share what they could do for your business. Instead, ask for lots of specific references of what they did in your industry. This reduces purchase risk and improves adoption when your users realize their peers use the same technology.
Most of this is just good organizational change management practice — but when it comes to technology, it’s even more important if you want a good outcome. ●
Ron Antevy is president and CEO of e-Builder, the first company to develop web-based capital program management and construction project management software. Under his leadership, e-Builder has consistently grown more than 30 percent a year since it was founded in 1998. For more information, visit www.e-builder.net.
Ron Antevy on Twitter: @rantevy