When your business finds a new technology that better suits its needs, it can be tempting to jump on board and convert right away, but doing so can be disruptive to your daily operations. It’s important to roll out technology in a manner that allows employees to effectively learn the new system. Planning for inevitable hiccups is also an important component of successfully implementing new systems. Gene Marks, founder of The Marks Group and expert in sales and marketing technologies, offers advice on successfully implementing technology without impacting your daily operations.
(Photo courtesy of Gene Marks)
People make the difference
“Marks states that the most important factor in successfully implementing new technology is making sure you have a good point person in charge of the project. “Over 20 years of implementing software systems, we have found that the most successful clients have had a good person in charge of implementation. It doesn’t have to be a tech person, but the project manager should be responsible and not afraid of making mistakes. The person in charge of implementation should be interested in the system, eager to learn and take ownership of the process.”
Tailor the training
One of the biggest disruptions in productivity when implementing changes in technology is waiting for employees to learn the new software. Marks recommends tackling this issue in two ways. First, start small. “It’s important to have a plan in place and implement the changes in small chunks. Have a small group of employees act as the test group, and when they’ve learned the system, you can start rolling it out to more employees.” He also advises tailoring the training methods. Marks states, “People have different preferences for learning and communication. When we do software training, we combine in-person training, both groups and individuals, with supplemental training materials that are available online so people can choose the communication method that’s best for them. With technology, you typically have 20 percent of people who pick up a new system right away, around 60 percent who will pick it up with a little extra TLC and 20 percent who will have a hard time with it. Categorize employees into these groups, so you can allocate the proper resources to each group.”
Keep a backup
Marks advises any company to keep their old technology around until they are certain that everyone is comfortable with the new system. He states, “Most of the time, surprises happen because people aren’t properly trained. Business owners should assume something is going to go wrong during the initial roll out, and they should have contingency plans in place to address these surprises.” Keeping your old systems in place as a backup can help you implement technology chances without affecting customer service levels.
Putting new technologies into place is a stressful time for any business owner, but with the right people and a planned approach, it can be done successfully without disrupting business as usual.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.