Smart Steps

Role of organisational change in technology deployment

Organisations today continuously strive to maintain their competitiveness in the market by establishing robust systems and processes. This helps them streamline business practices and bring in more transparency in operations. To this end, various technological solutions are being deployed by organisations to improve their cost effectiveness, efficiency, productivity, reliability, sustainability, and customer service. However, the successful adoption of new technologies demands a detailed analysis of the organisation’s current requirements and subsequent changes in its existing set-up. Successful organisational transition for the adoption of a new technological set-up requires a three-dimensional approach involving people, processes and technology, under which the needs of every component involved should be assessed and addressed in a timely fashion. Traditionally, organisations lay more emphasis on the selection and deployment of technologies and invest inadequately in the two other important components – people and processes. This results in inappropriate implementation of technologies which further leads to operational inefficiencies. Therefore, a well-planned organisational change is required to ensure a smooth process of bringing in a new technology.

People, process and technology

An organisational overhaul requires retrospective and prospective analysis of current practices; and unfreezing of the existing system. Redundant and obsolete practices should be removed to make way for new technologies. All stakeholders should be involved throughout technology deployment, right from the selection of technology to its implementation. Incorporating the suggestions of all stakeholders would make the system more inclusive. Further, intersectoral and interdepartmental convergence needs to be ensured for wider acceptability. Interoperability results in the wider penetration of technology. For instance, to allow efficient data sharing among all departments and online access to computers or resources installed, and create centralised data storage, cloud computing is being used by many organisations. Various IT solutions in the form of open source software are also available in the market to improve the sharing of information and data.

To select the best suited technology, the existing institutional capacity along with the requirements of the organisation should be considered. The foremost requirement in technology deployment is a cost-benefit analysis. Some technologies might appear expensive in the short run but can have better long-term benefits according to the requirements of the organisation. Thus, a feasibility assessment is necessary in order to avoid cost escalation and ensure timely implementation of organisational transition.

Another significant aspect is the mode of technology deployment. It varies from piecemeal to comprehensive or a combination of both. In the piecemeal approach, the technology is introduced in segments within the organisation. Later, these segments are integrated together into a holistic system. However, in the comprehensive approach, the technology is thoroughly implemented in the organisation and therefore it reduces the task of synchronising different segments at a later stage. The choice of methodology depends on both the technology that will be discarded and the new technology that will be adopted. The technological deployment approach should ideally be executed as per the need of the organisation.

Bringing in new technology also creates a skill gap which needs to be addressed via reorientation of the organisational set-up. The strengths and weaknesses of employees need to be assessed for focused intervention. This will facilitate better allocation and utilisation of the existing resources. To keep employees interested in the transition process, it is very important to educate them about the benefits of the new technological set-up not only for the better performance of the organisation but also for the enhancement of their personal skills. Employee motivation is key in organisational growth. Further, technological absorption requires training and induction programmes to enhance the understanding and knowledge of employees. It is essential to develop a training plan that includes both how the actual system operates and how it will change with the adoption of new technologies. Training programmes for employees should be designed as per their skills. A feedback mechanism should be in place to incorporate suggestions and encourage employee participation.

Further, in order to make the technology user friendly, the end-users of the product should be well informed about new initiatives. It is usually the lack of awareness among end-users which restricts their participation. For instance, although electronic service delivery is available, its use has not kept up with expectations mainly on account of ignorance among end-users about new initiatives.

To sustain the organisation’s performance, the continuous assessment of adopted technologies is very important. Evaluation should be done in terms of input, output and outcome. For example, the introduction of biometric systems in various organisations has not only ensured punctuality of the staff but has also helped in reducing absenteeism. So far, the main emphasis has been on input and output only and “outcome” remains largely unnoticed. Thus external audits of firms are very important in order to have a true evaluation of resource utilisation. In addition, maintaining a balance with the latest technological advancements is also important to achieve a higher level of efficiency in the organisational set-up.

Conclusion

Organisational transformation is an ongoing process which should be carried out to keep pace with the changing times. This would help overcome organisational stagnation and maintain competitiveness. Such initiatives require administrative acumen. Depending on the requirement, some organisations might need a 360-degree shift in the current approach. Thus, fear of failure should not deter organisations from adopting new practices.

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