Technology Implementation for Business
The high rate at which technology keeps on changing over past few years has posed a lot of challenges to businesses. For businesses to stay put and remain competitive, the managers must keep up with the current technological pace. However, as frantic efforts are made to keep up with the fast evolving technologies that would in turn changes the way we run our businesses, we may not remain as productive and efficient as desired. In order to be efficient and competitive in today’s world market, implementation of the new systems is a necessity. This paper seeks to discuss successful ways of implementing new technology in a company. A number of factors need to be considered before deciding on the technology system. All the possible advantages and disadvantages accompanying the new technology implementation must be first established, for instance, profitability. “Company needs to justify the amount of profit`s increase that would result from the implementation of a particular technology” (Nash, Childe, & Maull, 2001, p. 162). There must be a guarantee of returns before a business entity invests in a new technology.
It is most important to note that implementation of new technologies entails several steps. The first step is to establish the technology vision and strategy of the business. In this endeavor, the business must precisely identify company`s goals and effective strategies that implementation of the technology would help improve or achieve. The writing and validation of both business and marketing plans are crucial at this point in an attempt to understand organizational cultures and values. Thorough evaluation of the strategic positioning in relation to prevailing external competition comes soon after business and marketing plans are put in place.
Performance analysis of any technological venture is paramount in the success of businesses. This entails assessment and constant auditing of the current tools of work or the existing technological infrastructure. The aim of this analysis is to positively identify major weaknesses of the current tools that make it difficult to accomplish business visions and strategies. Similarly, employees’ capability to handle new technology will be evaluated to determine after which they will be proactively engaged in the process so as to get their feedback including the IT personnel, if the company has any. According to Nash, Childe & Maull, 2001, the acomplishment of technogical performance analysis is a prerequisite to the development of much desired successful implementation plan, if the analysis is done with the approval of all players and stakeholders within the business environment.
Thirdly, implementation plan and schedule for the new technological system will be created to achieve meaningful use criteria given that a clear understanding of the need for a new technology will enhance the selection of its appropriate application in the business processes. In this manner, the new technology will target quality improvement efforts, such as reduced manpower, increased rate of production, attract more customers and mainly to increase revenue. Incorporation of new technologies with failing or malfunctioning workflows will not increase efficiency but allow for the recurrence of the same mistakes or inefficiencies over and over again. Proper planning for changes to key business operations prior to implementation eliminates the risk of automating bad processes. During planning, businesses should list and map the workflow for major operations so as to single out all the unnecessary steps. Nevertheless, both the technical and nontechnical should be involved in project planning, because their divergent ideas would help bring success to the project (Nash, Childe, & Maull, 2001). Finally, design changes will be made and planned for by the management and system providers.
The implementation of the developed technology plan entails purchase of new technology, or update existing technology. The compatibility of new technologies with old technologies will be validated to ensure usability and customization of the new technology by employees since this will significantly increase their effectiveness and productivity. In the course of installation and configuration of a new system, both hardware and software will be checked; hardware is installed and tested and any mechanical problem corrected in good time. Software, the main constituent of the technology, requires more expertise and technical know-how to handle hence its installation and subsequent testing may take quite long as compared to hardware (Walker et al, 2006).
Furthermore, staff and office need to be thoroughly inducted into the new technology. The staff training begins immediately after the installation of the system to educate employees on how to perform business operation with the new system. The IT personnel and the vendor of the system demonstrate to the working staff how to operate the new technology. The training sessions could be individualized or organized into groups. It is important to train employees on how to use the technology to improve their productivity and efficiency according to wide-training schedules. Much emphasis should also be put on the possible benefits of new technology to employees and business as this approach would boost employees’ morale and further expedite their rate of learning the system. It is important to note that transition from old to new technologies should be gradual for the continuity of business operations (Amatayakul, 2009).
After workers have undergone effective training, the business moves to “go-live stage,” in which new technology is put into full use in the company and its effects realized as trained employees gain hands on experience and improve their skills. The go-live stage of implementation depends on the readiness of the staff and the new system. It is important to remember that poor project management and lack of communication at this crucial stage can devastate an otherwise faultless implementation. Despite obvious dangers faced by a new IT system's implementation, if the business follows all the rules and undertake necessary preparations, comply to the training and monitoring procedures, then a faultless transition to the new system has to be realized (Walker et al, 2006).
Finally, the launch of a continuous process improvement and learning program will crown the whole process. Better customer service is supposed to be the main objective of new technology implementation. In order to achieve the company`s goal using new technology, well-trained employees should constantly monitor customer service and update technology implementation and procedure in an appropriate and professional manner. The information about the implementation plan should only be shared in part to the concerned persons, for instance, technical staffs and non-technical staff. This applies to the training plan, in which the technical staffs who are supposed to be part of the trainers are shared with the information as well as the trainees.
In conclusion, business entities must strategically deploy technology to gain an advantage over its competitors. Speed, flexibility, profit and customer service are the key factors to be considered in the technology implementation for business. Successful implementation involves better planning, project analysis, staff training, all of which determines how go-live stage would be. Planning and implementation of new technology should be gradual to ensure the business maintain its operations when employees undergo training in shifts at different times. The business management should keep under control new technological, implementation and training plans, which are strictly shared with the relevant parties to avoid an imminent leakage of company’s secrets and plans to the rival competitors.
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