In this day and age of competing in the global marketplace, it’s important for businesses of any size- small, medium, and enterprise- to use any and all advantages that are out there. One thing that can make or break a company is how well it adapts to the changing technology that exists. While many companies continue to do what has always worked, it’s important to understand how the adoption of business technology, and making the most of that technology, can turn around a failing business or secure the financial future of a stable one.
Small Business Matters
In her article “Business Benefits of Information Technology“, business writer Laura Acevedo details the four main ways business technology can enhance the success of small businesses. First, streamlined communication through email servers, routers, and other services accelerate decision-making and help to handle any changes that occur, saving time and reducing errors. Secondly, efficiency is improved through shared storage and work flow systems, and routine tasks can be automated. Third is a focus on competitive advantage, where costs can be lowered and products developed faster and differentiated from competitors. Finally, overall costs are cut with more economic efficiency, with efforts such as centralizing different functions.
The Speed of Change
In research done by a group and published in MITSloan Management Review, called “Embracing Digital Technology: A New Digital Imperative“, it was found that while 78% of the 1,559 respondents (made up of executives and managers) said that digital transformation will be critical in the coming years, 63% said the pace their organization was changing was too slow. The research goes on to spell out the numerous benefits of integrating business technology into an organization, including operational improvements through automation, more efficient products, and enhanced customer servicing.
Enhancing Adoption Among Employees
Introducing technology to the backbone of your organization, your employees, can be a tricky business. For the technology to be really transformative it needs buy in from the employees, and sometimes that can be slow to happen.
Rebecca Knight wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review entitled “Convincing Skeptical Employees to Adopt New Technology” in which she outlines some ways to better ease the process of winning buy-in from the whole team to enhance the adoption of business technologies from customer relationship management programs to software that manages timesheets.
In her article, she gives a few options. You need to be persuasive in how you sell the technology and have a real vision for what it will enhance and how it will benefit the employees, first of all. To make sure you get the right technology, it could be useful to test a few out at a time to see what the employees work best with. Also, while the bottom line is important, the user friendliness is also necessary- if it takes a few days of workshops and a huge manual to operate the hardware of software, it might not work out too well.
Afterwards, when you do adopt a technology, she recommends making the use of the business technology as routine as possible, and to highlight the quick wins it brings on to show it’s working.
Is It Worth It?
To best enhance the use of technology, employees and executives need to know if business technology actually works. Statistics and numbers are very important here.
The McKinsey & Company article “How companies are benefiting from Web 2.0: McKinsey Global Survey results” states without hesitation that business technologies do enhance the success of small, medium, and enterprise size organizations. Of 1,700 executives from around the world, 69% agree that their business have succeeded more because of the business technology they are using. Even more than that, 68% cited an increase in speed of knowledge within the organization through enhanced internal communications,and a 52% increase in the effectiveness of their marketing due to business technology.
The Bottom Line- Your Bottom Line
Businesses should consider how to streamline the adoption of technology into your company, in order to get the maximum benefit from their investment. To best enhance that technology will take time and finesse of course- it won’t happen overnight. But with a clear vision of what you want to do with the technology, working with your executives and employees to help them learn, and using statistics to show the value of it all, you can enhance the adoption of your business technology and enhance the success of your company, all in one.