Technology itself isn’t always the answer

March 9, 2017
by inlanddigital

For regular readers of our blog, you’ve probably seen that one of the great things about our team is that we all have a passion for technology. As a technology business, building a great solution for our clients is something we strive for in every project. This passion has even seen the team win a number of awards recently, something we’re very proud of.

I believe there’s one big misconception when it comes to technology. While an innovative solution can improve the way you do business, if you’re relying on technology alone you probably won’t achieve the outcomes you had hoped.

Some in our industry promote technology as a panacea that solves all your business ills, whereas my view is that technology is the enabler that helps us effect change for the better. For me, this is one of the key differences between a good project and a poor one.

Enable you to do more

Legendary film director Steven Spielberg once said “Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives” I think he’s on to something: How often have you seen a technology project hyped as the best change ever and then fail to reach those lofty heights on delivery? While there can be any number of reasons behind a project failure, at the core there’s often one simple reason: The focus was on the technology not the outcome.

I’ll give you an example: Business process automation can save you a mountain of time and money in your business, which is fantastic. But there’s no point automating a process that’s already broken. It’s a classic example of looking at the problem the wrong way round. How about looking at streamlining the process so that it actually works?

This happens when we forget that a piece of technology is only useful when it enables us to achieve an outcome; it’s not the outcome itself. History is littered with examples of businesses who failed on a major rollout; even our friends in the Federal Government have made the odd technology mistake or two!

How to use technology to enable change

From my perspective there’s a few things that will help you avoid the trap of technology for technology’s sake:

Focus on the business issue, not the technology. By this I mean focus on the business issue first; what’s the problem you’re trying to fix and the outcome you want to achieve from fixing it.

Remember, change is about people. Steve Jobs is quoted as saying “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them”.

If your employees across the business aren’t engaged on why you’re implementing a new technology and how it’ll make their lives easier, then you’re setting yourself up for failure from the beginning. Look for feedback across the business, not just one or two people. Most importantly have a really solid change management plan to make sure you have everyone on board with the change you’re making.

Don’t automate a bad system or process. Expanding from my example above, when you’re rolling out something new don’t forget that simply replacing or automating something that is already broken isn’t going to necessarily provide you with a different outcome. If you’re rolling in new tech, be prepared to think about the way you do things, it’s a great opportunity to revitalise a bad process by scrapping the old and starting from the beginning.

Have you seen a tech project fail? We’d love to hear what the challenges were you faced!

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