Digital HRDigital TransformationEmbedding new systems within business culture

Embedding new systems within business culture

Tiago Catarino, CEO, Lisbon Nearshore, examines the trials and tribulations of implementing new systems into your business, and the importance of the human element in overcoming them.

New systems, applications and technologies should make it easier for teams and departments to collaborate and achieve business objectives, but if they are not understood or fully adopted by staff it leads to greater frustrations, as well as lack of productivity.

Digital transformation is less about how technology resolves operational inefficiencies but how people are enabled to do better and have a more fulfilling role that delivers greater creativity and productivity. The Project Management Institute’s 2017 report found that due to poor project performance, organizations waste an average of $97 million for every $1 billion invested.

The human element of systems

Growth companies and international businesses understand the importance of system migration and standardisation, however achieving this when each business region may have had its own system and processes presents a number of technological and people challenges. It requires a balance of technical and human qualities for successful project implementation and management, with a clear timeframe of delivery to involve the workforce.

Further, without understanding the business objectives of digital change and the benefits this provides individuals and teams, communication can be lost which can be to the detriment of employee engagement and trust.

Many companies struggle from the outset with delayed projects or breakdown in communications, this is often because they do not have access to the best talent pool to deliver high-performance with the experience needed to support multiple teams and departments. In today’s competitive IT market, it’s increasingly difficult to hire and retain top tech talent.

Even multinational organisations may have the right IT infrastructure and tools that are underutilised by departments or regions – and they too face the same struggles of effective deployment because of resource limitations or lack of experience.

Multinational companies can face the greater challenge to embed new systems in a business culture when thousands of employees are scattered across the globe. In one recent Cisco call manager migration project we found employee adoption was disjointed between different regions, our client needed help to optimise a complex setup of the telecommunications infrastructure to ensure all business units were benefiting. However while certain teams were profiting from the new telecoms infrastructure, the weaker departments had been ignored and went unnoticed due to lack of confidence and technical ability – and even guidance on how to make it a commercially viable business tool – so performance was falling.

Redeployment was essential due to the sheer investment made to implement the infrastructure in the first place. It had already proved to bring efficiencies across the global workforce for better collaboration and communication – but it hadn’t in one region. Therefore it was essential to understand what was causing the problem.

Addressing the challenges

When a team’s knowledge and technical capabilities are sub-par level, the obvious impacts are in terms of quality, efficiency and reliability of the performance for the region especially when using new system infrastructures. By giving them training and motivation engagement will increase resulting in improved productivity and better efficiencies, as well as a more inspired workforce.

Companies that are delivering successful transformation projects need to take the five-step approach to achieve success when embedding new systems within the business culture;

  1. Prepare the workforce for the change

It’s important to speak to them, explain the rationale and what this will mean for them, individually as well as for the company

  1. Identify the frustrations and challenges experienced

Take time with each team to understand business and operational problems and together develop solutions that will form part of the transformation plan, either through system development or procedural change

  1. Understand the current processes and procedures

A clear picture of how projects are managed and delivered will enable systems to respond to the natural ebb and flow, while delivering greater efficiencies – especially if there are ways to standardise processes

  1. Work with employees to create new ways of working

Address the technology capabilities and help the team recognise the opportunities of the new systems to develop new ways of working where technology provides support to their roles

  1. Build a positive culture towards digital change

Provide regular updates, share individual team member experiences and record development and progress to demonstrate the benefits

Standardization is a business necessity, to have everything running over the same parameters and procedures avoids duplication, wasted resources and frustrated teams – which only gets worse if business managers feel they are up against more efficient and knowledgeable global departments.

Supporting the mindset shift

The technology and HR team should work together and not be afraid to seek external help to assist with system migration to support the workforce, especially since many projects fail due to office politics or miscommunication. After all, implementation projects have a lifespan, and working with qualified teams who can project manage new system deployment, coupled with the technical knowledge and human awareness with drive greater success for system adoption.

Furthermore, experienced practitioners have been there and understand how to help a workforce improve their working conditions by addressing operational challenges through the new systems and technologies. Implementation programmes need to consider three key elements:

  • Training

Working with individuals and their learning capabilities to learn to operate the system and how the tool fits into their role.

  • Workshops

Departmental and cross-departmental sessions to review how systems can improve and develop efficiencies across the business; helping teams save time and duplication efforts

  • Support

Providing guidance during the early stages of adoption, especially when challenges and difficulties arise will empower teams to explore ways in which to use the new system – knowing there is someone close by to help them.

Embedding new systems is part of the overall digital transformation strategy and the organisation needs to ensure the technical implementation is fully supported by cultural implementation. The more integrated that business systems become the greater the change in operations, therefore it’s important the organisation is ready to support this mindset shift.

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