Resistance is Futile! Ok, so maybe it sounds a little dramatic and possibly a bit reminiscent of Star Wars (or is it Star Trek..?) but the message within is clear – and likely to become relevant in all aspects of our lives; particularly when it comes to technology.
Our world is one of rapid change and, to survive, we must change with it. As George Bernard Shaw wrote “A reasonable man adapts himself to suit his environment. An unreasonable man persists in attempting to adapt his environment to suit himself.”
Of course, it pays to be selective and choose your timing when it comes to surfing a technology wave. No firm wants to back a dud or get stuck with a technology that is fast to become obsolete, so being a ‘fast follower’ can be a clever way to embrace technology without the roulette.
So, once assessed, how does a Smart business move from making a decision on new technology enablement to the key steps of implementation, communication and business adjustment?
Start with your people! Here are some ways to introduce change into your business without raising anxiety, distraction and your inbox count.
1. Identify up front whether the introduction of technology is likely to lead to downsizing or redeployment of staff
A large part of fear of technology is the fear of being made redundant by technology or a machine. A legitimate fear, particularly as we hear about it happening regularly in almost every market.
Our advice? Assess technology offerings from both how they:
- improve your existing business model; and
- enable your business goals.
By using this as a starting point, you can better determine the impact of the investment to current operations (including the people in the business) and likelihood to future market success/share/growth.
If you are a business owner or responsible for introducing new technology, ensure you have identified what the ramifications are going to be 3, 6, 12, 24 and 36 months down the line. Will this mean new skills are needed in the business?
(DID YOU KNOW? Technophobia (the fear or dislike of advanced technology or complex devices) began as a movement with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. With the development of new machines able to do the work of skilled craftsmen, those who worked a trade began to fear for their livelihoods. In 1675, a group of weavers destroyed machines that replaced their jobs. By 1727, the destruction had become so prevalent that Parliament made the demolition of machines a capital offence)
2. Schedule seminars which outline the benefits of the technology – immediate and future
Following on from the potential anxiety created through the introduction of new technology is to move straight to the benefits. Let’s say you are introducing ESP eSmart Paper into the Accounts Payable division of your business. Accounts Payable is one of the most labour intensive areas of any business, so introducing a piece of technology that can capture invoices and convert them into digital formats, decrease processing times, improve forecasting and automate an audit trail is likely a point of anxiety for an Accounts Payable clerk.
By taking the time to schedule information seminars for workers to be affected by the introduction of this technology with a focus on what it will allow them to focus on INSTEAD will be well received. Remember, from Article 3 – anything related to BPA is only as valuable as the business activity put in its place.
3. Upskill or develop workers in business critical aspects of their role – advisory, customer service, innovation etc.
Once you’ve identified the alternate tasks to be undertaken upon technology implementation, you now have an opportunity invest even further in your employees, further decreasing the anxiety of even the most stubborn technophobe. Establish and offer opportunities to reskill or upskill within your department. It doesn’t have to be a complete change of direction or career – even a course focused on customer service, business case writing, negotiation, project management principles or a management course will be enough to top up their skills to increase flexibility across the business.