Your company is about to use technology to change the status quo. You’ve landed a marvelous software adoption deal to help you transform. Yes, it would be the perfect opportunity — if you had anticipated and addressed barriers to digital transformation.
What’s the difference between top-performing organizations and those that fail to implement technologies successfully?
Well, according to a recent Price Water House Coopers Report on how thriving businesses address barriers to software adoption, 82% of the very best companies focus on the human experiences behind all their digital technology. Cultural setbacks trigger risk-averse investors who are wary of the workflow and procedural or bureaucratic issues that could arise and negatively affect employee attitudes to specific technologies.
However, just the idea of your competitors using the latest information technology systems before your personnel can embrace a new software should behoove you to acknowledge the value of successful implementations.
Within the MENA region, for example, a lot of investments are being directed towards digital transformation initiatives. The UAE has multiple AI research labs and public policy institutions like the National UAE AI Strategy, while Saudi Arabia already has its first Artificial Intelligence college up and running. Both countries spend more than $100 million every year on software adoption.
The International Data Corporation, a leading international provider of financial intelligence and consultancy services, also reported that at least half of organizations within the MENA region (from retail and banking entities to governments and manufacturers) are using machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate repetitive tasks and increase throughput. So, why should your company be left behind?
To guarantee a successful implementation right off the bat, the following is a list of five challenges that you should anticipate during software adoption — as well as the resolutions to each problem.
Challenge: Failure to plan is planning to fail. If you think of technology as just another application, you forget how integral to business strategy and objectives these systems actually are. Most digital transformations are accompanied by significant disruption to typical business operations and function — as was witnessed when instant messaging reduced demand for office messengers. Therefore, prior to any notable software adoption endeavor, your company must first match the new technology with the organization’s business needs to minimize exposure to financial risks and resistance from employees.
Resolution: To minimize disruption to regular operations, you could launch the new system in phases while addressing any challenges that crop up. You can also examine the roadblocks and issues the software adoption is meant to solve to determine how to implement your digital transformation strategy without disrupting daily operations seamlessly.
Challenge: By definition, digital transformations are disruptive. New technologies introduce additional sources of efficiencies, often by replacing old, inefficient workflows. This is a recipe for changes in procedures, which could be disastrous if you fail to plan accordingly. Outdated back-office systems, like accounting software, could throw you into disarray if they are incompatible with the new systems.
Resolution: Keep in mind from the beginning of a new software adoption drive that digital transformations will not always be a walk in the park. Other than sticking to compatible systems, it would help if you doubled down on training the employees who’ll eventually become end-users.
Challenge: Just like you and I, your employees or colleagues, are people who avoid uncertainty and embrace rewards or incentives. When workers are convinced that software adoption could result in the loss of their jobs, they might become resistant to change. Additionally, in the absence of incentives like monetary rewards or any other personal benefit tied to the ongoing digital transformation, they are likely to lose the motivation to see the project through.
Resolution: During the ideation phase of your software adoption project, communicate your intentions to your employees, and ensure that the technology in question is meant to support and not replace them. If the digital transformation could lead to redundancies, then it's more practical to inform them while they still have sufficient time to look for other employment opportunities. Either way, you have to address the elephant in the room to move forward without unnecessary hurdles. Remember that your end-users have a huge impact on the success of your software adoption strategy in maximizing efficiency and lowering operational costs.
Challenge: Poor leadership skills are some of the greatest threats to the risks of a communication breakdown. Employee vision and desire for software adoption depend almost entirely on effective top-down and bottom-up communication channels and strategies.
Resolution: Right from the start, like we mentioned before, communicate effectively — with every stakeholder — about the expectations, processes, purpose, and outcomes of the ongoing digital transformation drive. Every relevant partner should be involved all through the implementation process so that they can oversee the project and motivate their colleagues to embrace the new system based on real-life experiences and expectations.
Challenge: The major hurdle of measuring the feasibility of a software adoption venture, especially for most MENA organizations, is the inability to collect, store, and analyze data for business insights. Most of the information technology systems are either impractical or challenging to integrate with new technologies. Actionable data can only advance business goals and improve operational efficiency if IT applications allow real-time information analysis.
Resolution: What’s your company’s position with your current business processes and tools? And what is your vision of your company’s ideal self? Answering these questions in an honest manner will help you set user expectations and facilitate accountability in case of conflicts.
As many significant organizations within the MENA region are increasingly jumping on the digital transformation wagon, you should not be left behind.
However, this is not a green light for you to jump on the next legacy technology you come across. To increase your competitive edge, accompany all your software adoption ventures with effective communication, relevant digital implementation strategies, and a clear picture of your company’s success metrics. Learn how Managed Teams enables your enterprise to achieve real digital transformation and sustained digital business growth here.
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