Navigating Technology Adoption in the New World
World economic conditions
The world has changed dramatically in the last five years. Society and businesses have embraced technology in new and creative ways while economic conditions have required organizations to reevaluate their business strategy and quickly respond to changing market conditions. These conditions have altered the way businesses face the challenge of delivering value to customers and stakeholders. In the past, companies have focused on technology and process improvements alone to support a more flexible organization; today with the increased pressure of economic conditions, businesses must also focus on their people as source of agility to adjust as quickly as the marketplace demands.
The directional map companies followed in the past to improve systems and processes has been turned upside down. Shareholder and customer expectations are high, and the requirement to leverage technology to its fullest extent is essential in today's marketplace. Technology now must not just be the “destination” to support the business process and market strategy, but should also be a tool in engaging the organization and people to incorporate changes required faster than ever.
Think about the evolution of navigation. Once upon a time, a compass was used to find your way to your destination. Then, printed turn-by-turn directions were the next wave of improvements, making it easier to get to where you were going. Today however, a voiceenabled GPS is the most effective method to get to an unfamiliar destination. Each of these methods will work, but whereas a compass and printed directions can help plan the route in detail, it won't be agile enough to recalculate the route if and when obstacles like “detour, freeway closed” are encountered. However, a GPS will alert of upcoming detours, re-plan the route, calculate the time of the delay, and provide information about rest stops ahead. Like the evolution of navigation, businesses are presented with new technology at their fingertips that can increase their organization's agility. But this simple use of technology as a tool for agility is useless if the driver never installs the GPS, is unwilling to use it, or is never trained in its use. It becomes just a black box in the car.
Because it is impossible to predict every obstacle or challenge ahead in the market, it is essential to have an organization that can sense the need for change and respond effectively to those opportunities or conditions. Organizations need to tighten up and/ or create flexible business processes, reduce vulnerabilities, and look for opportunities to exploit the inevitable fallout from the economic crisis. Believe it or not, there is no better time than now to seize competitor advantage. “Inaction is the riskiest response to the uncertainties of an economic crisis,” but leaders must be smart about execution. A critical element of execution is the ability to adopt and use technology effectively and rapidly.