Technology keeps on changing rapidly, and there are always new technologies in the market every couple of years that disrupt the existing market. The pace of technological change is faster than ever before, and companies need to adopt these technologies to stay ahead of the competition.
How companies identify, select, and implement new technology solutions can significantly impact the growth and survival of the company. In this article, we will look at the best way to identify, compare, select, and implement these technology solutions.
Table of contents
- Identifying Technology Solutions
- Comparing Technology Solutions
- Selecting Technology Solutions
- Implementing Technology Solutions
- Overcoming Challenges With Implementing New Technology Solutions
- Continuously Implementing New Technology Solutions
Identifying Technology Solutions
Identifying new technology solutions requires a comprehensive understanding of your organization's needs and goals. It requires involving the stakeholders from across your organization and understanding the current pain points, business goals, and challenges faced by the organization.
During the identification process, you need to define the business goals and objectives that need to be achieved with the new technology solution. This process also requires prioritizing the requirements that can have the maximum impact on the organization.
After you have gained a clear understanding of the business requirements, you need to research available technologies in the market and look for products or services that address the identified requirements.
New technologies can also be introduced for unidentified business needs, and this requires the identification of potential use cases and experimentation to see its application in the practical environment. The latter approach is especially useful for disruptive technologies such as generative AI systems (e.g., ChatGPT), advanced analytics technologies, and blockchain-based software.
Anticipating future needs and technology solutions for your organization is more challenging and requires a mixture of different initiatives, such as:
- Identifying emerging technologies that could impact your industry.
- Analyzing internal data to predict future trends that can help you make predictions about future requirements for the business.
- Using long-term planning techniques and building the future growth strategy for the company.
- Speaking with your customers to understand their future needs.
- Building innovation and R&D departments that focus on anticipating the future needs of the organization.
After you have identified the business requirements and appropriate technology solutions, you are ready to move to the next stage of selection, which involves comparing these technology solutions and choosing the right one for your organization.
Comparing Technology Solutions
There are multiple technology solutions available in the market for a particular set of business requirements. To select the best solution for your organization, you need to compare these solutions on a variety of metrics, some of which are defined below:
- Cost: this involves the cost of using the software, such as licensing fees, support costs, cost of implementation, etc.
- Features: this involves different functionality offered by the technology solution which addresses the business needs.
- Support: the support available before, during, and after the implementation of the technology solution, including the necessary training resources.
- Return on investment (ROI): ROI is used to measure the profitability of an investment in the technology solution relative to its cost. This is a particularly important metric for technology solutions that automates or improves a business process.
- Total cost of ownership (TCO): TCO is used to estimate the total cost of purchasing, testing, deploying, implementing, and operating a technology solution over its entire life cycle. It includes all the direct and indirect costs, including onboarding costs, maintenance, and support costs, training costs, etc., associated with the technology solution.
For a majority of companies, the most important metrics to compare different solutions are the product features, return on investment, and the total cost of ownership. If the technology solution needs urgent implementation, then the speed of implementation becomes an important metric to consider when comparing technology solutions.
Other factors such as ease of use, scalability, security, compatibility with your existing technology stack, vendor's reputation, customer support, and track record are also important factors for comparing various technology solutions.
Selecting Technology Solutions
Once you have decided on the main metrics for comparing the technology solutions based on the requirements of your organization, you can use the solution selection matrix to select the best option. The solution selection matrix helps you to make informed decisions about which solution to invest in by objectively weighing the pros and cons of different options.
To create a solution selection matrix, follow the below steps:
- Identify the key metrics for evaluating solutions.
- Assign weights to each metric based on its overall importance to the organization.
- Score each solution based on each metric.
- Calculate a total score by multiplying the score for each metric by its weight and calculate the aggregate of the scores.
- Compare the overall scores to see which one is the best fit for the identified needs.
Solution selection matrix can be easily designed using tools such as Excel or other web applications such as Visual Paradigm, as shown in the figure below:
The solution selection matrix is one of the ways to select the best solution, but other factors such as strategic alignment, cultural fit, and future growth potential should also be considered for selecting a technology solution.
Implementing Technology Solutions
After you have selected the solution or multiple solutions based on the above metrics, the next step is to implement the solution in your organization. Before implementing the solution for the whole organization, the recommended next step is to do a proof of concept (POC) or a software pilot implementation.
Proof of Concept (POC)/Software Pilot
Proof of Concept (POC) is generally used for new technology solutions that are still in the development stages and allows the organization to test whether the solution can be implemented in a practical way. A software pilot is a small-scale test of a software application or technology solution to evaluate its functionality, performance, and usability in a real-world environment.
Both POC and pilot are conducted on a small scale with a limited budget and to validate the technology solution and identify any issues or challenges that may arise during implementation.
If the POC or a pilot is unsuccessful, you can relatively easily switch to another technology solution and do another POC or a pilot. These methods allow organizations to experiment with multiple technologies and limit any unforeseen expenditures associated with implementing these technology solutions.
After a successful POC and a pilot with a technology solution, you can go ahead with performing the full-scale implementation of the software. The full-scale implementation involves setting up infrastructure, configuring software, training users, and providing the necessary support to ensure a successful rollout of the solution.
If the new technology solution replaces an existing solution, then you also need to plan the migration steps and slowly deprecate the old solution in multiple phases in the organization.
After the implementation, continuously monitor and evaluate the performance of the new solution to ensure that it continues to meet your organization's needs. Gather feedback from users and stakeholders and make any necessary changes to further optimize the solution.
Overcoming Challenges With Implementing New Technology Solutions
Most of the time, implementing a new technology solution leads to a technological change in the organization and impacts the existing working methods. This presents a very different set of challenges that require effective management to successfully implement the solution in the organization.
Assign an Owner or Manager
The best way to deliver this technological change is to have an owner or manager who looks at both the development (or assessment) and the implementation of the innovation. Implementing a technological change requires internal marketing skills to advertise the solutions to the users, the identification of the fit between a product, the user needs, the organizational goals, and the involvement of these users in the early stages of discussions.
It also requires giving ownership of the new technology to the end users so that they can fully adopt and implement the technology as per their requirements.
If the management of the technological change is not done correctly with the new technology solution, then the consequences can be disastrous.
For example, one of the large communications companies had delays and difficulties in implementing the new technology solution because of inadequate infrastructure available in the organization. The processing control equipment was ready to be used by prospective users, but the piece of linking software was not in place.
There was no one who was willing to take responsibility for this small but critical piece of the system. There were different people responsible for assessment of the technological solution and the implementation of the technological innovation. In the implementation team, no one had been trained to implement and use this piece of linking software leading to unforeseen costs and delays in the implementation.
Perform a Pilot Operation
A pilot operation is essential before introducing a technological change across the board in a large organization. The pilot serves as an experiment to prove technical feasibility to the stakeholders and becomes a credible example for the organization's other departments (or units).
The department or the unit to run the pilot project must be chosen carefully and these units should not be the easiest or the hardest ones to implement the innovation in the organization. For example, a paper manufacturer chose one of its high-visibility mills as the first unit to pilot a software control system.
The unit was neither the company’s best nor worst operating unit in financial terms. The management was determined to see the pilot succeed for the sake of the large organization, and the management viewed it as an experiment. A successful pilot, in this case, led to a wide-scale implementation of the software solution.
Create Implementation Team Roles
If the technological change with the new solution is to succeed, the implementation team must include a sponsor, champion, project manager, and integrator. A sponsor is generally a senior executive who ensures the solution receives the essential financial support and human resources required for implementation.
A champion is someone who sells the solution internally and spearheads the innovation in the organization. A project manager is someone who oversees administrative details and the project timeline for implementation.
An integrator is someone who manages conflicting priorities and resolves any conflicts through communication skills. As these are roles and not people, an individual can take on more than a single role, such as being both a sponsor and a champion for the new technology solution. Also, one of these individuals should have enough organizational power to mobilize the necessary resources to successfully deliver the solution to the end users.
Ensure the New Solution Offers Significant Advantages Over Its Predecessor
The new technology solution must offer significant and obvious advantages over whatever it replaces, or the potential users will have little incentive to use it. Generally, systems that are 10X better than the old ones are the ones that face the least resistance to be implemented in the organizations.
These benefits could include increased productivity, solution to a longstanding problem, reduced operating costs, increased revenues, higher client satisfaction, preservation of jobs, and many others. Automation solutions leading to job losses face internal resistance, and the management needs to make sure that this resistance is handled appropriately.
Extreme resistance to a technological change often comes from mistakes or overlooked issues in the implementation plan. The management needs to address the concern properly in these cases and not shrug such resistance aside, as it could lead to incorrect implementation of the solution.
The team needs to feel that it owns the solution, and that results in the best implementation experience. For example, a marketing organization onboarded a new technology solution that changed the manual files system to an electronic filing system.
The accounting department uses the solution, and the management decided to put in significant efforts to do it right the first time instead of doing it over. The implementation team set up a committee of elected representatives from all groups affected, and this committee met regularly to discuss the development and the implementation plan. The result was a widely accepted system, and the users regarded the minor problems that did arise as bugs that needed to be fixed.
Continuously Implementing New Technology Solutions
Implementing new technology solutions is a continuous process and you need to monitor the technology stack, the organization's needs, and the market to see if you can onboard any other technology in your company. As technology keeps on changing, you need to continuously keep repeating the process of identifying, comparing, selecting, and implementing technology solutions to stay ahead of the competition.
One of the best examples of a company that keeps repeating the process of identifying, comparing, selecting, and implementing technology solutions is Domino’s Pizza. Domino’s Pizza is one of the biggest pizza restaurant chains in the world. Domino’s Pizza operates in more than 83 countries, and the company successfully transformed its service delivery and brought more value to customers.
The team at the company understood that making tasteful pizzas was not enough in the competitive environment, and the technology and business had to be brought together to create extra value. They turned Domino’s into a tech-savvy company and bought in new technology solutions such as Domino’s Anyware that enables clients to order their favorite pizza through a dozen channels such as Smart TV, Facebook Messenger, Alexa, Twitter, and others.
They also integrated Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning into different digital channels to process big volumes of data and automate customer order fulfillment. When the COVID-19 crisis impacted business, Domino’s found a way to adjust by improving its technology solutions. It offered a Carside Delivery option to customers that enabled them to choose a side of the car where their order would be delivered.
Another good example is Michelin, the second-largest tire manufacturer in the world. The company was founded over 130 years ago and had a long history. The company's goal is to grow and self-improve with its clients continuously.
As the technology advanced and the vehicles got smarter, Michelin decided to build an effective growth strategy with three focus areas: to streamline and speed up business operations, offer a personalized experience to users, and onboard new technology solutions to continue building new business strategies and models.
The company set up an R&D department that constantly looks at new technology solutions and ways to bring innovation to their organization. This led them to extensively test new AI innovations to streamline manufacturing and improve client experience. The company uses AI-powered data circulation that enables the Micheline team to accelerate decision-making and build a collective business intelligence that all the departments can use.
The company also introduced collaborative robots that automate routine jobs, save time, and reduce the workload of its employees.
Companies need access to highly skilled and experienced tech talent to implement technology solutions effectively. A talent network community like Adeva can help you access a vast pool of tech talent experts with rigorous vetting and flexible engagement models. With Adeva's assistance, you can create a culture of innovation that drives long-term success by adapting quickly to changing market conditions and staying ahead of the competition.
Identifying, selecting, comparing, and implementing new technology is a challenging task but is essential to the growth and survival of an organization. The most effective strategy is to correctly identify new technology solutions relevant to the business, compare identified technology solutions using a solution selection matrix, and select the best solutions for doing a pilot program. After a successful pilot program, the software can be implemented for the whole organization in different phases. If the new technology solution leads to a technological change, then having an effective strategy to manage this change is essential for successful implementation of the technology solution.