Fear of new things is a very typical human behavior. People like the comfort of things they are already used to and have been doing for a long time. There are, however, a smaller percentage of people that see innovation as being an exciting and thrilling adventure that allows them to conquer new territories and those are the people that most of us envy or regard as impulsive, to say the least.
The same principal actually applies in the business world. There is a common fear of change among companies, of trying new methodologies and technologies. Fear of not being able to keep up and use the new technologies with the same efficiency as the old ones – so most employees will regard with concern the implementation of new software tools or changes in process.
Most of the time companies decide to implement a new piece of technology after a process of careful consideration, looking at the benefits and overcoming the challenges, building a strong business case and getting the executive board’s approval.
Unfortunately, many times the next stage of the story plays out like this: after implementation, which in itself is a complex process, the product owners are ready and eager to see the new technology being used by the business, expecting to see different scenarios being played out and the product delivering against the original business case. This is when they uncover discrepancies between expectations and reality as the end-users are reluctant to use the new technology, either because they don’t know how to use it, they don’t understand the benefits or are skeptical to try a new way of doing things.
This happens a lot, not only in procurement but in all areas of organisations. Technology is evolving fast, but we need to keep in mind that change doesn’t happen as fast, and in the end, technology should make people’s lives easier not more complicated.
Now, we’re not saying this means we shouldn’t try to incorporate new technologies into our organisations, but we should make sure our employees are prepared to embrace these new technologies, giving them the resources to do so. In other words, good change management.
We found 3 areas that need to be covered when implementing a new technology.
Technology is here to support humans. The human factor must be the focus during implementation rather than the technical process. Ideally companies should build their business case whilst considering the following:
a. How the new technology can help the business in achieving its goals
b. How this technology can support the employees in achieving the company’s goals
An analysis of these 2 factors alone can lead to the path of effectively incorporating new technologies into any business.
Sometimes new technologies lead to reducing the workforce, as they will achieve some of the work done by humans in a much faster and less prone to error way. Like in the case of e-Invoicing software – most likely organisations will no longer need as many invoice processing personnel. However, this can also lead to redirecting personnel to other areas of the business and can turn into an opportunity.
Training can either lead to the path of success or to failure. When you implement a new piece of technology are you making sure all the needed personnel benefit from training on using the new technology? Moreover, are you making sure all the employees understand the long-term benefits of using the new technology?
Understanding the benefits will make people more acceptant of new technology. Training programs should start with employees understanding the business case, and understanding that they are evolving together with the company.
Many companies focus a lot of their effort on implementing fancy high-tech software and then expect them to deliver. But tech is operated by people, and people are what makes technology deliver.
We believe the implementation stage is over after all implicated personnel are fully trained and understand why the new technology has been implemented. However, training should continue even after this stage. Companies need to make sure their employees are well trained and up to speed with new functionalities that the software providers as and when new versions are released.
Usually, training programs are offered by your implementation partner, whether that is the software provider or a third-party consultancy.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Same with adopting new technology, you need to allow your organisation an adjustment period, in which employees get used to and understand the new technology and are engaged in training sessions.
Also, change is gradual. Even after the training is completed and everyone understands the new way of working you might not see the technology delivering at its full potential. Doing is learning, so support your employees with training even after the initial phase.
This means you need to allow your business a period of adjustment and run a performance analysis after a reasonable amount of time. This can typically be between 12 to 18 months.
Time is also an important element when it comes to the technology itself. Is your company actually ready for the new technology? In terms of processes, needs, maturity of the business? Looking at procurement, not always the most high-tech of areas, AI enabled technologies aren’t always the best choice for every company. Maybe you won’t be using half of the functionality it has to offer, so is the investment really worth it? Or perhaps it won’t cover all of your technical needs. It’s very important to run an analysis of your company and needs and find the perfect tech match.
We strongly believe it’s important for companies to keep up with tech trends and to try to incorporate these innovations in their business to help them keep ahead of their competitors and evolve as a business. We also strongly believe the human factor is an important asset, and companies need to implement new technologies with this in mind: businesses are made up of people and technology needs to make people’s lives easier.
Are you considering implementing a new procurement software solution and you want to learn more about the latest procurement trends and tech innovations? Have a chat with one of our procurement experts.
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