As discussed in the previous 2 posts , in order to successfully implement a new technology project, or any change for that matter, we must first focus on the process while engaging the people. We do this all while preparing for the technology.
It is important to keep the big picture in mind, and keep in front of us what it is we are really trying to accomplish. When an organization decides to make the investment to install a new technology, there is typically a fundamental business rationale behind the decision, other than, “it’s really cool, and we need to put this in.” No, typically, it is increasing revenue, reducing costs, improving quality or customer service, or some other metric the business finds important. To pull these off, we’re talking change. We have to change the way we are doing things, and often times, feel technology will be our savior. And it can be, IF we approach it properly.
To truly change the culture of an organization, the people must change the way they do things – their process. Then we can implement the technology to “hardwire” the new process. If the technology “forces” people to perform the steps a certain way, and the people set up the process, then the results will be exactly what we want; maybe even better.
Now, here is the important part – these steps are NOT INDEPENDENT. If they are treated that way, your efforts will surely fail. Here’s why – Let’s say you focused on the process, and even engaged the people in changing the process. You have set up a perfectly smooth road. Now you turn to the technology to pull it all together. But there’s a problem. The technology you were planning to implement is an airplane. Yes, it can work on the road, but it is really not its intended purpose. How did this happen? Well there are a couple of scenarios.
First, you probably knew what technology you were planning on implementing when you began the process. It is important, when determining what your new processes are going to look like that you steer the direction of them toward the new technology. So, you have to keep the end in mind throughout the process.
On the other hand, as you were setting up your new processes with your people involved, perhaps they came up with a process that meets your business needs better; not just the current needs, but future needs as well. It could be better for you to drive than fly. You didn’t adjust your technology to your process.
It really becomes the convergence of a perfect storm. You have an idea of what your technology will be. You start focusing your people and processes toward that technology. As you better understand your processes, you make sure the technology you want to deploy is appropriate for your processes. You adjust your technology or processes appropriately to meet your business needs now and in the future.
Let me know your thoughts!