New Tools Don't Work With Old Thinking
"Hot new software technologies will be introduced this year, as they are every year. However the challenge will be to step over the idea that they are a panacea to all problems and explore how they can simply create a new edge for you," says Alan Willett, president of Oxseeker, Inc.
"For example, one of my clients had purchased a new project management toolset with advanced cloud-based features. They used the new tool in the same way they used the old one, while the new features collected virtual dust. The key was to get the project managers thinking in the new paradigm of decentralized orchestration of knowledge workers. Only after engaging in mind-shifting workshop scenarios did the leaders begin to think in the new way and execute on the new paradigm to gain the great results," Willet said.
New Technologies Transform Work and Life
Dr. Maynard Brusman, a consulting psychologist, executive coach and workplace expert specializing in emotional intelligence and mindfulness-based leadership development, notes, "To be competitive, many companies find themselves in a Houdini-like twist. How can they respond quickly and nimbly to the ever-changing business environment without getting caught in knots? In today's data-driven age, the ability to use new technologies to quickly transform information into insight creating new markets for their products and services is core to sustainability.
"Technology can play an important supporting role in enabling organizations to become more innovative and agile. Technology should function as a change agent in the use and adoption of best-in-class information sharing processes, so companies can improve their use of targeted customer data.
"Creating loving customer relationships to connect, consume and communicate through new technology is truly the killer app transforming work and life," said Brusman.
Dive in or Wait? It Depends
Rebecca Morgan, manufacturing operations strategist and President of Fulcrum ConsultingWorks, Inc advises, "Technology, especially as a broad term, has become so embedded in our businesses that it's sometimes hard to believe that waiting (or wading) is smarter than diving in."
She notes that buyers in B2B relationships are also consumers; they're just buying for their business instead of themselves. If they research personal purchases on You-Tube using a cell phone, they'll also want to research business products the same way. You can't afford to wait to support new product research, communication, and buying methodologies.
However, when using technology to support business or production processes, waiting makes much more sense. Verify that you understand what you want the technology to address and have very clear expectations of how you'll know if the technology has been successful. "Except when human safety is threatened by current methods, ensure the process is stable and reliable before introducing automation, and then utilize pilots before going ‘big bang' with the implementation," she noted.
Most Technology Applications Fail: Be a Success Story
Most applications do not meet targeted results, timeframe and budget estimates, according to Gary W. Patterson, the FiscalDoctor®, author of Million Dollar Blind Spots: 20/20 Vision for Financial Growth.
"Stunning payback and ROI result when applications are managed properly to meet strategic business goals targeted by upper management and sponsored by a key executive evangelist, not just an advocate. Million Dollar disasters explode when applications are managed by the seat of the pants without an ability to (a) obtain crucial ongoing business purpose decisions and (b) maintain ongoing sponsor enthusiasm.
"Key to attaining "Happy Sponsor; Happy Technology" status is employing CAPEX best practices controls from preplanning to execution and hotwash," Patterson adds.
Technology as an Enabler, Not a Jailer
While technology continues to open new possibilities for both consumers and businesses, it's important to remember effective use of technology must correlate with the objectives of the business, according to marketing expert Linda Popky, president of Redwood Shores, CA-based strategic marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates.
"Businesses should let the customer choose which technology they want to use to engage with the company—not drive customers to arbitrary choices," she said. "On the deployment side, the focus should be on a ‘Goldilocks' technology strategy—not too much, not too little, not too fast, not too slow, but ‘just right,' meaning what makes sense to drive the business."
Alignment is Key
"Rapidly changing technology is the new norm," points out Lisa Anderson, known as The Manufacturing Connector™ and President of LMA Consulting Group, Inc. in Claremont, CA.
"My clients are finding that it's easy to lose their edge vs. the competition if they are not exploring new technologies and systems. It's also easy for them to get hung up on the latest and greatest bell and whistle and lose ground even faster than if they had stayed still.
"Thus, my best clients continually search for technologies and ideas which align with their strategy and can help propel their business forward. Many of those are considering significant business process upgrades in combination with ERP systems and other advanced technologies to improve service levels and bottom line results."
More is Not Necessarily Better
According to SAC CEO Alan Weiss, PhD., "The adoption of new technologies will be most effective if it's tempered by client need. We have an overabundance of technology in our cars, homes, and offices that is often ignored. Technology, as with any investment, must support quality and reduce cost, not undermine quality and add to cost."