Technology has taken society and the workplace by storm. The constant and immediate use of social media technologies is an indication for how large of a role technology plays in our day to day lives. It’s true for whether we use it as a resource to get information, a collaboration tool, or to even pay for our groceries. What if I told you that I neither have a smartphone or a Facebook account? Would you think differently of me?
The technologies in the workplace have changed over time as well. This includes using smaller, newer, and faster computers to do our work and using more targeted software applications that help us do our job better. Some organizations also implement social media in the workplace to promote collaboration across various departments and divisions. We also run data analytics on our work to make sure that we are being as effective as possible. Technology enables change, progression, and continuous improvement.
Getting to the point of technological implementation requires many hours of analysis and teamwork to ensure that we pick the right product for the right reasons. So, we are ready for implementation, now what?
Implementing a new software product can be challenging because it involves telling people who don’t report to you, how to do their work and then analyzing and potentially changing their processes. The following are some things to consider when implementing something new:
- Control – Know that there are going to be things that are out of your control. Whether it’s the technology that you are implementing or the attitude towards the new technology. It’s important to understand that sometimes that’s just the way that things are. Moving forward and trying to focus the positive impact of the implementation is key.
- Big or Small? – One size doesn’t fit all. Smaller implementations, usually within a department, require less training and project management. It’s easy to implement because mostly everyone has bought into the idea and how they are going to adapt to the change. Larger implementations require more levels of expertise and perspectives, and often require a significant amount of planning, organization, and coordination, in addition to the technical elements such as training and documentation.
- Technology doesn’t change a process – A common misconception is that you use technology to change process. It is very common for a process to stay the same even through the technology has changed. A simple example is when your smartphone does a software update. The software updates get installed, but the process by which you use your phone stays the same. Ensuring people that an implementation isn’t going to rip the carpet out from underneath them is important. Draw similarities between the existing set of steps to perform a task to the new way. Using this technique diffuses a lot of uncertainty and eases the reluctance to change technology and processes.
- Communication – Communicating the benefits of new technology in an easy to understand manner will help create motivation and excitement for its implementation. Many times, we implement something new without getting a good perspective for what the impact to the user will be. Trying to understand their perspective and tailoring implementations to them eases the rollout. Communication doesn’t have to be always positive. Knowing and communicating the growing pains and how we are overcoming them is also important from an implementation perspective as well as the user perspective.
- Ease of transition – It is important to ease into the transition of any new technology. Start with the simplest “phase”, and build on that foundation to further implement more advanced features. Working in phases gives users more time to get accustomed to the software and come up with their own ideas for how they want to use it. No one likes to come to work one day to find out that they have a new computer that they have to reconfigure all over again. Using a phased approach reduces surprises and gives people time to adjust to the new technology by talking with others that have gone through the transition already.
- Support system – Ensure that you have the right resources available to support the implementation. Whether this is training, videos, or staff resources to answer any questions. The support system should be responsive, strong, and very customer-centric. In addition, the support system should always act positive about the technological change and push the implementation forward.
Purvi Bodawala is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.