Transformational technologies have the power to create more efficient and productive organisations, filled with happier and more fulfilled employees. However, CIOs are increasingly feeling the struggle to respond to changing business demands.
In this blog, we discuss why it’s important for CIOs to encourage the adoption of transformational technology and how they can go about leading this adoption.
What are transformational technologies?
Transformation is something that changes form, and so transformational technology is that which changes the shape of an organisation and/or the behaviour and/or feelings of the users of that technology. Put simply, it helps people and organisations evolve as cultures evolves.
Notable examples include the microprocessor ushering in general-use computing, a research project becoming the birth of the internet, and smartphones permanently changing the way we live our lives.
Today, business leaders are engaged in several technological changes, including IoT, on-demand platforms, robotic process automation, and AI/ML. One of the biggest transformations in today’s organisations is the move from legacy technology to modern cloud-based technology. Office 365 is a good example of transformational technology in organisations today. Yet despite the difficulty most face when looking to transform, Office 365 has bucked the trend being so easily adopted by customers. Most likely because many used it to migrate emails and not as buying into a total modern workplace ecosystem.
Why is it important that CIOs encourage the adoption of transformational technologies?
Organisations are seeking to become more dynamic, efficient, and productive. 84% of CIOs feel that their inability to respond quickly enough to business demands is directly affecting the competitiveness of their organisations and, as a result, the vast majority (82%) are investing in digital transformation as part of the solution. However, a combination of cost, user experience and legacy applications is holding back progress.
CIOs play a more important role than just technology. CIOs are often technically minded and can focus their attention on whether a technology solution meets technical specifications, for example whether it is compatible with existing systems. However, CIOs must think first foremost about the end-user’s requirements. What service do they expect to receive? How and where will they be working? Transformations are not just moving the old to a new platform. It requires new ways of thinking to solve the existing problems, not the same thinking that caused the problem.
Technology is integral to modern working and is no longer just a back-office function. Every user in the modern workplace is an expert in technology in their own way as they use technology in their day-to-day lives.
These users know what good looks like, albeit they may not be able to exactly pin-point why an application is good, and so expect a certain level of usability.
The CIO’s role is to translate these user stories into a strategy that ends with a vision to deliver technical solutions that meets the current and future needs of their users. This is important for the CIO to get right as this not only impacts user experience, but also motivation in the workplace, the extent to which employees feel valued, and the retention and recruitment of talent. It doesn’t need to be highlighted that all these things are critical to an organisation’s short- and long-term success.
How can CIOs encourage adoption?
Adoption can make or break a transformation project. If it isn’t implemented correctly, even if the solution is seen to be technologically perfect, users won’t be engaged, and the project could be viewed as a failure.
It’s not just training
The focus for CIOs must be on adoption. Deploying a technology and expecting users to carry on with their operations with just the assistance of some initial classroom training won’t be an effective adoption strategy.
Adoption needs to be part of the culture of the workplace; an on-going, regularly updated ecosystem, which meets the needs of different user behaviour. Setting milestones and regularly reviewing those milestones will help enable this.
CIOs also need to ensure they implement the structure that allows the adoption strategy. For example, creating champions in the organisation who are responsible for driving adoption in their business areas can form part of this strategy.
Make it personal and encourage curiosity
CIOs need to create a structure where those responsible for adoption get close to each department that are using the technology and understand their roles, exploring what they do daily and how they need to communicate their work with others. The goal is to then translate these needs into a technical solution.
Importantly, time must be freed for users to explore and be curious about the new technologies. Mobile phones and social media are brilliant examples of how curiosity can be used to drive adoption. No one trained us how to use either, but both have reached unprecedented global adoption levels, by freeing people to explore and interact with them how they feel comfortable.
Rip up the rulebook
Those leading digital transformation shouldn’t be afraid to ‘rip up the rule book’ and start again. Having a start-up mentality can help here – if the organisation didn’t have legacy technology, what would be the best technology environment for today’s needs? That is the best way to create a vision that is unrestricted and then from that a strategy that focuses on bridging the gap between current and visionary states.
CIOs of large organisations should try to not be overwhelmed by the scale of transformation and instead should concentrate on individual use-cases. Creating personas for different divisions and concentrating solely on meeting the needs of these can help. After this has been achieved then launching a solution at scale becomes easier.
Finally, remember there will always be exceptions to every rule. Design a simple-as-possible user-centric solution that meets the needs of 90% of users and then solve the 10%. Creating a single solution that works for everyone will just result in an overcomplicated solution that frustrates the 90% that would have had their needs met by a far simpler IT service.
No need to reinvent the wheel, seek trusted expert advice
There’s no denying that rolling-out a new technology and ensuring user engagement is challenging. Colleagues, professional networks, and third parties can help with advice, consultation, best-practice, and case studies to guide and assist.
To support this, Capita has created a modern workplace framework that breaks the transformation down into manageable chunks. The framework has been designed by experts who have years of experience in delivering workplace transformation across a number of sectors. Whether it is vision and strategy support, or Office 365 optimisation, the framework has it covered and in what order each challenge is best addressed.
If you’d like to discuss your challenges with us and see how we can support you, then please get in touch today.