Introducing new technology into an organization can be a difficult and time-consuming task. “Enterprises cannot effectively implement technologies such as the Internet, Intranets, extranets, group support systems, and knowledge management without drastically changing the way business operates” (Regan & O’Connor, 2002). The employees of the organization must accept the new technology to create a smooth transition. Employees are defined by the culture in the organization which is predominantly influenced by the leaders.
The leaders are responsible for communicating all aspects of the technological changes to their staff. For each new technology introduced to an organization, there will be stages of implementation that include resource development (budget), evaluation, selection, installation, training, pilot projects, mini-implementations, and, finally, full implementation” (Learning Point Associates, 2010). Throughout this process, communication is vital. Communication of changes should include project plans, implementation plans, training plans, and support strategies. Project Plans Project plans should be communicated through a project team.
The project team should include a group of multidisciplinary people that have the knowledge and skills required to properly introduce the new technology. The individuals that comprise this team should include someone who helped develop the technology, the person responsible for the installation of the technology, the person responsible for the operations of the technology once installed, and someone from the management team for the organization implementing the new technology. This group will be the decision-makers for any concerns that arise through the communication and implementation process.
The project team is responsible for developing the plans to implement the technology smoothly. Their communication to the individuals of the organization should be prepared in advance with all possible questions already analyzed. If any individuals of the organization have questions or concerns, this team should be available to address them. The project plans should be communicated with milestones, flow charts, and other tools that allow the necessary individuals to understand the time-table of the project implementation. Visual aids and progress reports should be available for anyone who is affected by the change.
Possible communication styles could include email updates, bulletin board postings, and meetings. Implementation Plans Unlike project plans, implementation plans need to be communicated to all individuals that are impacted by the implementation. This allows the employees to be prepared for the change and understand how to transition smoothly. The employees need to be informed of what changes will occur during implementation, what areas of their jobs will be impacted, and what they can do from an operational standpoint to manage their position effectively while the transition is occurring. The people implementing developed technology also have to cope with the day-to-day business as usual while they prepare for the transition to the new technology. They, in effect, have to do two jobs” (Learning Point Associates, 2010). The employees need to understand what their responsibilities are during the implementation process. This is the prime opportunity to share the benefits of the new technology with the employees to keep morale up during the change. Communicating the implementation plan should be done verbally.
The easiest way to do this is to have an employee meeting with all impacted employees. The project team should be available for a question and answer session at the end of the meeting. Having a smaller meeting with a few of the top performing employees before the full-employee meeting would allow the project team to assess potential concerns. Training Plans Employees are naturally resistant to change. “Operational people have less experience and feel less comfortable with uncertainty. They are more likely to feel threatened by the new technology.
Much more emphasis must be placed on training and communication of the benefits of the technological improvement” (Unido, n. d. ). Having a well-defined training plan that is easily communicated will support the employees in not being afraid of the new technology transition. Implementing a training plan can be as involved as implementing the new technology. The training plan needs to include details such as: who is training, how long the training is, what the purpose of the training is, what the planned outcome of the training is, and how the training will be measured for effectiveness.
This training plan should be communicated in the employee meeting with follow-up communication through alternative measures such as emails or memos. The primary objective of communicating the training plan to the employees is to relieve their concerns on how they will be able to use the new technology. Additionally, the training plan should include a way to not impact or minimally impact the employees’ current workload. The less the employees have to sacrifice for the new technology implementation, the more likely they will be to embrace it. Support Strategies
The intention of support strategies are to prolong the life of the new technology and ensure its effective implementation. “Support strategies must be laid down by the administration or the planning team for the purpose of reinforcing the strengths of the new technology and the new product and to overcome its weaknesses as well as to further maintain the company’s integral secrets about the new technology and how it works” (SWOT Analysis, n. d. ). Additionally, the organization must plan ahead for when the technology will become outdated and what the necessary upgrades are.
Lastly, the organization must plan on how the technology will be supported by additional departments such as marketing, human resources, etc. Communication Recommendations by Example Example: Introducing a new software system for Pizza Hut Project Plan The project plan should be shared with the higher management including general managers and above. This plan should include a timeline, intentions, and the benefits of the new system. This plan should be written and handed out in meetings where the leaders can ask questions about specifics.
Concerns that may need to be addressed include: labor costs and how general managers will be reimbursed on their plans, how the software will be downloaded, how much training will be needed for scheduling purposes, and how the training will be performed (i. e. will it be computer-based training included with the download or will someone need to train the employees). The meetings should be held from top down. For example, the region coaches should attend a national meeting with the creators of the new software and someone representing technical support.
The region coaches would then hold a meeting in their individual regions with their area coaches. The area coaches would then hold a meeting with the general managers. Concerns from each level should be addressed and added for the additional meetings. Implementation Plan The implementation plan should follow the same communication lines as the project plan. The download should be an instantaneous process that will shift the software from one system one day to another system the next day.
The general managers should share with their teams that the software will be changing and that there will be a crew meeting on the morning of the transition for training and to address any concerns. Training Plan An “implementation store” should be chosen for early download. General Managers can meet at this location and be trained on the new software. General Managers should also have their download dates set by this time. They should communicate to their teams the date of the crew meeting at least two weeks in advance. Anyone who cannot make the meeting should schedule themselves ample training time prior to their next shift.
General Managers should schedule the crew enough time to train on the new system and be effective before they work again. Support Strategies The Internet ordering system should be structured to work with the new software download. Marketing should consider benefits of the new system to their marketing campaign. Human Resources should consider benefits of communication on the new software system (i. e. messages to employees when they clock-in). Conclusion Implementing new technology is a process with many components and many considerations.
However, the benefit of implementing new technology could give a company competitive advantage. The detriment of not implementing new technology could ultimately result in the company being forced out of the marketplace. The company’s willingness to adapt to new technology is as vital to the organization as its implementation process. Communication of the implementation of the technology is imperative to gain employee support and ensure a smooth transition.
Regan, E. , & O’Connor, B. (2002). End-user information systems: Implementing individual and work group technologies, 2e. Retrieved from https://ecampus. hoenix. edu/content/eBookLibrary2/content/eReader. aspx? assetMetaId=9f9341ec-776c-4a2c-8e8c-422fc4e5f1fe;assetDataId=87ac1c3c-44cb-47f3-9652-641d91a1aef2;assetpdfdataid=d7f0dcee-46a1-4f80-8eb0-e3039e207647. Learning Point Associates. (2010). Planning and evaluation. Retrieved from http://www. ncrtec. org/capacity/guidewww/imple. htm Unido. (n. d. ). Module 4 – Implementing technology. Retrieved from http://portal. ics. trieste. it/TP_TechnologyManagement/module4/mod4_3. htm SWOT Analysis. (n. d. ). Retrieved November 15, 2010, from http://www. marketingteacher. com/Lessons/lesson_swot. htm