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Blockchain, IoT…or Your People? – What is the Next Big Thing in Business Technology?
By Jeff McCullough, Principal Consultant
I keep reading articles that express disappointment that organizations have not yet adopted basic technology to improve and streamline business processes.
Contrast that with article after article that talks about how new technology, like blockchain and Internet of Things, will be widely adopted in the next few years. We all know you have to walk before you run. These authors set unrealistic expectations among readers implying organizational adoption of technology is a given.
But organizations don’t change, people change. Organizations don’t adopt technology, people do.
There are many reasons technology doesn’t get adopted. For example, organizational budgets are limited and costs of new technology are high, resulting in decisions to implement a fraction of the functionality. Or the technology isn’t as mature as what is expected, so the experience doesn’t match the expectation.
But a main reason I have seen over my 30+ year career is about the people and helping to manage the people side of change. This is called “Organizational Change Management” or OCM. Organizational Change Management is the “process, tools and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve the required business outcome”. This discipline incorporates the tools to help individual employees make successful personal transitions from the current state to the future state, resulting in adoption of the new technology and realizing the benefits of the change.
All too often the focus of technology initiatives and implementation projects is on the technology. But study after study shows it is the human factor that drives the success of these initiatives.
Technology is only a TOOL to help people do their work and processes better.
The preparation of the people to use the tool and the organization’s adoption of the tool is the core of OCM.
And yet every project I have observed is mis-balanced with a greater emphasis on the design, development, and delivery of the technology solution – without an equal focus on helping the people be ready, wiling and able to make the change. Part of this mis-balance is due to the fact that it’s easier to monitor and report on budget, schedule, and risks. It’s easier to measure how many integrations have been coded and tested. It is more difficult to show “hard” data on whether people are ready, willing and able to make the transition.
Next time you are starting a technology project, ask yourself this question, “What percentage of my project success is based on people doing something different in the job?” Use this number to guide your resource planning and don’t forget to budget to help your people make the move.
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