People are the real disruptors: why training and adoption is the key to rolling out technology

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There was a current affairs show on the other night – the panellists were talking about digital disruption – and someone claimed people were the real disruptors over the last 20 years or so, not digital technology.

This was thought provoking. We generally see technology as a threat to humans, not the other way around. The argument was that technology is redundant if no one uses it. How people adopt a new product or service can make or break the business case for these new innovations.

Take a certain marketing tech company. They work with lots of the big mobile companies, and when they first got up and running, everything went well. They successfully promoted, sold and deployed their technology to some key customers. But a few months later, they encountered something troubling. Their new customers were grumbling: marketing weren’t using the new technology (after multi-million euro investments in IT).

The problem was simple, despite the training, the marketing teams didn’t really understand how to use the technology. So they didn’t. They kept working the way they were used to. Technology adoption wasn’t a KPI which they were measured by, so they weren’t impacted by their failure to adopt.

The answer to this particular problem came in the form of a managed service – a team of marketing experts who worked with the mobile operators. They showed the companies the importance of planning and adoption, areas that should be key to any technology roll out. The problem’s evident across many industries and many technologies; employees need adequate training to get the best out of the tools available to them.

To roll out transformational projects, organisations need to collaborate. But that can be complicated in big companies; 69% of executives say they waste time trying to get a hold of others, particularly when across countries. A lot of this is because they can’t use the tools in front of them. One in two executives say their colleagues have collaboration tools but don’t know how to use them properly, and 91% believe that CIOs need to spend more on training and adoption.

We’ve been researching the digital workplace since 2010. It helps us better understand the challenges organisations are facing when it comes to transformational projects. Our latest whitepaper to come from this study is ‘People, productivity and the digital workplace’. Click here to download it.  

Joseph Walsh


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