Embracing New Technology

"What new technology does is create new opportunities to do a job that customers want done." -Tim O'Reilly 

Businesses sometimes have a hard time adopting new technologies like social media, mobile optimization, analytics tools or customer management systems. There are a lot of reasons why businesses struggle with this, but the truth is that in order to make business improvements, new technologies have to be a part of the plan. Today we'll go over some of the reasons why businesses aren't keeping up technologically and give some advice on how to overcome those hurdles.

Lack of urgency

Some businesses see adopting new technologies as a "some day" proposition and put it on the backburner. This is a huge mistake since the longer you wait, the more behind you become. We are living in an increasingly connected world and businesses that fail to keep up with the connected world will be destroyed by the competition.

It takes time, energy and motivation to get good results from new technology, but leaders need to make sure they're committed to making it work and start the process right now. Set aside some time every week to consider what your needs and goals are and develop some strategies to fulfill them. Baby steps are fine, but you can't put it off any longer.

Underestimating the importance of change

Many companies feel that digital technologies aren't effective yet in their particular marketplace, but that couldn't be less true. Companies everywhere need to embrace new technologies because tech savvy consumers in every aspect of society have new expectations for companies. It doesn't matter if you own a restaurant or an accounting firm, your customers will expect you to be engaging them through technology in a variety of ways. That could mean that they expect you to have a blog, a Facebook account and a website that's mobile optimized.

If we had to choose which one of these is most pressing, we'd choose a mobile friendly website. A growing number of people are accessing the web from a phone or tablet instead of a desktop computer. If your competition's website is easier to use from a mobile device, people are going to go there instead, so put this change at the top of your list if you haven't already.

Not knowing what to choose

Deciding what kind of technology to choose can be an overwhelming process that leads to stagnation instead of innovation. One place to start is to look at how well existing systems are working and how able they are to help you reach your goals for the future. Your needs should start to become apparent. For example, you'll start to see where things bottleneck and cause delays and be able to consider what can be automated to make things more efficient. Are you having compatibility issues? Are your current systems becoming outdated? What can you keep and what should go? When you've decided what you need, shop for the most user-friendly option or you'll encounter our next hurdle. 

Resistance to change

Even when leadership understands the need for transformation and moves forward with something like a new customer relationship management program for example, some employees may be highly resistant. People become accustomed to the way they do things and don't like to learn a new way. This is why choosing the most approachable system is so important. There may still be some resistance, but it will be less if the technology is easily adopted. Try to focus on how much easier life will be once the new system has been learned and generate excitement.

Embracing new technology can be complicated and overwhelming for many people, but it can also be very manageable. The most important thing leaders can do is to think carefully before embracing anything. Hire a consultant you can trust if you need to, but stay very involved with the process and understand what you're talking about fully. If you follow this advice, the only wrong move you can make is to not do anything at all. It's up to you to lead the digital transformation!

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