How to Successfully Implement New Technology in the Workplace
Aug 08, 2022 | By Katie Thomas, CPA
About the Author: Katie Thomas, CPA, is a content creator, 2021 40 under 40 CPA Practice Advisor recipient, and the owner of Leaders Online, where they help accounting professionals increase their impact, influence, and income through thought leadership and digital marketing. Feel free to visit Leaders Online or connect with her on LinkedIn to get in touch with Katie.
Choosing the right technology for your workplace is a significant achievement, but there’s still a lot to be done before you can reap the benefits of your selection. The next step in the process is crucial to get right: implementation. Even the best software and tech will fail for a business that doesn’t have the right implementation strategy — and partner — in place.
I’m going to outline a four-step process that will help you have a smooth implementation of new technology into your workplace.
1. Create an Implementation Team
Implementation isn’t a one-person undertaking. Rather, you’ll need to create an implementation team to work alongside your new technology’s implementation team.. Before doing anything else, make sure to identify your key stakeholder (generally the same people in your selection committee) and you’ll want to assign change champions in each department/team.
Champions will help get everyone on board with the change and are the foundation of your success.
When you create implementation teams, it’s imperative to consider those champions from past experiences. Once you have the right people for the job, you still have a lot of work to do:
- Oversee the team and ensure that you’re part of the implementation from start to finish.
- Champions and yourself will be responsible for providing support and managing any conflicting priorities along the way.
Some key points and roles you’ll want to consider as your putting together your implementation team include:
- Goal or ideal setup
- Project sponsor(s)
- Committee members
- Project managers
- Core team members
- Success Metrics
Your team’s success relies on you alloting enough resources to them.
2. Create a Plan
Once you have a strong team in place, it’s time to create a plan. Plans must be detailed and in-place at the start of implementation to help make the integration as seamless as possible. A lot can go wrong when integrating new tech into the workplace, and your plan helps reduce the risk of issues occurring along the way. Look to your vendor to help create your plan and assist with the implementation.
A few things that you and your vendor willneed to consider as part of your overall plan are:
- Data migration and management
- Change management
- Project management
- Technology customization
- Cross-platform communication
- Post implementation review and refinement
Software companies often offer setup and support that can help make the integration process easier. However, if your plan is to be a success, you need to have milestones and timelines in place to reach your implementation deadline.
The mock plan you and your vendor come up with may look something like this:
- Gather insights from employees during a trial period of the technology
- Create a proof of concept or pilot program to test the technology with just a small group of employees
- Begin converting data that will be used by the technology
- Test and validate the system to ensure all processes are working as intended
- Adjust workflows and processes as necessary and retest
- Create a “go live” date if everything goes smoothly
- Plan to offer training (more on that below)
- Gather feedback from employees
- Create an offboarding solution for any technology the new tech will replace
The mock plan above is just a starting point and should be added on to as necessary. Again, seek your vendor's guidance on creating the implementation plan and excuting it. They should be doing the heavy lifting in this process.
Next, you’ll need to begin training employees so that you can move closer to your go-live goal.
3. Training Employees
Now that you have a team and created a plan, it’s time to start training. Training is one of the most critical steps in the implementation process. Similar to creating the implementation plan, look to your vendor to help with training. They should help you to ensure employees are trained on best practices and walk away confident using the software.
With that being said, let’s talk about training best practices.
Employees must be on board, engaged, and ready to adopt your new technology. Make sure that the team understands:
- What the software does and why it’s so important
- Why you chose this software solution
Even if the software is user-friendly, it’s still important to incorporate training into the mix. Hold training sessions and make them as engaging as possible. Employee engagement is the key to successful implementation.
How do you make training more engaging?
- Provide a variety of options and materials for learning. Remember that everyone has different learning styles and needs, so do your best to meet these needs by offering a variety of training options.
- Make training more personal. Ensure that employees understand how the new software will benefit them and improve their day-to-day work.
- Hold training events. These events give you an opportunity to demonstrate how the software works and how it fits in with your current tech stack and to facilitate dialogue between you and the team. It’s an excellent opportunity for employees to ask questions and voice their concerns, and also allows employees to see firsthand how the technology will improve their workflow.
- Use gamification and interactive demos to help employees truly understand how to use the software. Lecture-based training can be helpful, but hands-on, interactive training can really help the information stick.
In some cases, training incentives can be beneficial, but they must be selective and high-quality to be successful. It’s important to know your team well and understand what will drive them to stay engaged and complete the training.
Rewards or incentives can include:
- Monetary rewards, such as gift cards or bonuses
- Time off, such as leaving an hour or two early on Fridays
- Acknowledgment and recognition for completing the training
No one knows your team better than you, so make sure that you’re choosing rewards or incentives that employees will value and be motivated to obtain.
4. Launch New Technology
The time is finally here. You’re ready to launch your technology. Now is the perfect time to celebrate and recognize your team for their hard work and dedication to training. So, make the launch exciting and enjoyable for the team. Doing so renews their interest in the technology and their commitment to adopting it.
5. Monitor Technology
Once the new technology is launched, you can’t just set it and forget about it. Be sure to implement monitoring and feedback loops to make ensure the technology is working as it should be. Over time, you should also review your technology, refine it, and make changes as needed.
Finding the right technology is only one piece of the puzzle. Implementing your new system is a multi-step process that should be carefully thought out and planned. With the right team, plan and training, you can launch your new technology with as little stress and hiccups as possible.