Executive giving a speech on tech adoption to her fellow board members

To drive technology adoption in your business, you need to know who owns it. Is it the CEO? Is it shared amongst the leadership team? Is it you? Or could it be you? Here are some tips to help you take real responsibility for digital solutions in your business.

4 Tips for driving tech adoption

1. Define the problem

Tech isn’t something you invest in for its own sake. It should serve a purpose. This could be to streamline your internal processes, capture new opportunities, or address specific problems within your business. A SWOT or Gap Analysis is a good place to start, as it helps you identify and define areas that you can improve with the right tech investment.

Be honest and critical. It’s easy to put your finger on what works well, but many businesses find it difficult to see a systemic problem. And understandably so. Adopting new technology can be expensive and disruptive. In our experience, it’s better to be proactive. By identifying risks early on, you can take steps to mitigate them and, more importantly, set a mandate to drive technology adoption—a clear remit for change.

2. Get executive buy-in

Innovation should always start at the top. Yes, it’s important to share responsibility across your business, and people outside the C-suite play a vital role in driving tech adoption. But you won’t succeed unless you have the board's backing.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses were dragged kicking and screaming into adopting new technology. They saw the move to remote working as a temporary expedient, not the future of the digital workplace. This lack of cohesion inevitably leads to friction and delays. If everyone’s engaged and understands their role in executing your plans, it makes for a much smoother journey.

Engage with your leadership team. Show them how adopting specific technologies will help you achieve your business goals and support long-term growth. If you can demonstrate the bottom-line impact of innovation on your operations, you should have no trouble getting executive buy-in.

3. Seek expert advice

We know that bad decisions in tech cost a lot of money. You don’t want to spend £50,000 on new, state-of-the-art laptops for your remote workers, only to realise that you don’t have the cloud infrastructure in place to support them.

Before making any large-scale investment, seek expert advice. Review your internal resources. Is there anyone on your team who has the knowledge or experience to advise you? If you don’t have the in-house resources to fall back on, it’s worth hiring a third-party expert to fill that knowledge gap.

When you’re in the trenches, it’s easy to lose sight of your objectives and focus on the technology itself. As impartial advisors, they offer a new perspective on your business challenges and help you uncover opportunities to innovate you might not have considered.

4. Align tech initiatives with your business goals

Before you start championing technology adoption in your business, it’s essential that you consider how it aligns with your wider business goals.

Let’s say your goal is to cut office overheads and move to permanent remote working within 3 years. Without a clear IT strategy or technology roadmap to guide your efforts, you might think it’s a simple case of issuing your people brand-new laptops and ensuring their home offices are up to code. You might not consider that this step comes later in the journey—once you’ve moved all your data and business-critical applications to the cloud so that it’s actually accessible to remote workers. On the flip side, if you deploy new technologies without setting clear KPIs, how can you accurately measure the success of your endeavours or gain additional funding for future initiatives?

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The 3 biggest challenges to technology adoption

If you’ve ever been responsible for driving technology adoption in a business environment, you’ll know there are several key challenges to overcome first. In our experience, these are the most common.

1. Lack of vision

Businesses often invest in technology without thinking about their reasons for doing so. How X technology will enable them to do something tomorrow that they can’t do today. For example, the CEO might wake up one morning and decide to modernise the office by equipping each meeting room with the latest Joan tablet. If nothing else, it’ll look great on social media.

Without a clear, long-term vision directing your efforts, all you’re doing is setting yourself up for an expensive failure.

2. Budget

According to Deloitte, IT departments spend 55% of their budget maintaining business operations and only 19% on innovation. Yet despite this, business leaders expect their technology investments to deliver continuous growth without any proportionate increase in budget.

To make matters worse, CEOs are becoming more risk-averse. Getting them to put their hands in their pockets and support a long-term technology adoption initiative in the current climate—without a tangible business case and payback plan in place—won't be easy.

3. Technology dinosaurs

If you’ve spent years specialising in a particular branch of technology or a specific way of doing things, you’re bound to feel threatened when you realise that everything you know has become obsolete. Besides, if your on-premises infrastructure still works, why should you migrate to the cloud?

This is a perfect example of Sunk Cost Fallacy. Companies that resist, rather than embrace change, risk falling behind the competition. The challenge for anyone who’s responsible for technology adoption in their business is ensuring that these technology dinosaurs are fully on board with these initiatives.

Innovate or face extinction

New technologies emerge all the time. As tempting as it might be to rest on your laurels and fall back on tried and tested approaches, this only leads to stagnation and makes it harder to adapt to changing circumstances.

Adopting new technology isn’t about having the latest gadgets. It’s about survival.

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