The speed at which business technology is advancing has been increasing exponentially, creating new use cases for innovative technology like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and robotic process automation (RPA). However, the pace of technological change has also led to more challenges with the implementation of new technology solutions.
Time pressure to deploy new technology can negatively impact organizations, making it increasingly difficult to maintain strategic control of an overall technology landscape. Many organizations also encounter internal resistance to change, technical challenges, and resource constraints as they seek to improve or replace aging systems. Some organizations delay new technology implementations due to ethical considerations over how AI and other emerging technologies could impact customers, employees, and other stakeholders. While many organizations struggle with these challenges, they can be solved with organizational changes that lead to more strategic technology implementation. Strong transformation strategies can ensure new technology is implemented quickly and efficiently without compromising quality.
Implementing new technology without a strategic approach to digital transformation can introduce significant risks, including poor decision-making, technical and operational challenges, and even project failure. However, many organizations looking to implement technology projects more strategically may find it difficult to know where to begin. An important starting point for introducing changes is at the very top of the organization. Senior business executives often underestimate the full breadth of what is required for technology implementations to be successful and don’t have insight into all potential implications for the wider business. Organizations also sometimes fall into the trap of considering technology implementation to be only an IT concern.
An effective implementation strategy must encompass a well-led, companywide initiative that aligns with the organization’s comprehensive business strategy and carefully considers how its workforce will be affected by any new implementation. A holistic technology implementation strategy should assess the technology’s impact on the entire business, including everything from change management to asset intelligence.
To establish a more strategic approach to your organization’s technology landscape, begin with the following steps:
Business Alignment — Start by asking questions. What are our business goals? What are our challenges? What are our critical mission parameters? What do our
customers need from us? Capability requirements for existing and new technology solutions must align with the overall business strategy. Any new implementation
project must therefore be driven from the top down as a strategic exercise that directly supports the organization in its mission and priority objectives. The executive leadership team must agree on the project’s purpose, then set guiding principles to ensure the project runs accordingly. It’s essential that the path from today to tomorrow be supported with measurable key performance indicators (KPIs), not just to deliver the project on time, within budget, and at speed, but also to understand the impact of the changes involved.
Change Management — Change management must be a top priority from the earliest stages of any planning process. Before a project begins, and after the implementation is complete, proactive efforts must be made to ensure the people within the organization understand why these changes are happening and the value they’ll deliver. The workforce should receive continual education, communication, and support in shifting from what they do now with their current systems and processes to what they need to do to be successful in the future with their new technological capabilities.
A Clear Roadmap — A crucial component of the strategy is establishing a north star for the project. This involves understanding where the organization is today, having a clear understanding of where you need to take the organization, and charting a path to reach that future. Use this goal as a guide and plan your roadmap. Aligned with your guiding principles, this roadmap should help you take the optimal path to transformation. The clearer you define your goals, the quicker implementation will be, and the faster you’ll begin to see value from your investment.
Roles and Responsibilities — You must put the right people in the right roles to oversee your project, with everyone agreeing on clear responsibilities. This will involve ensuring that the appropriate people have sufficient availability to fulfill their roles. Your senior leaders must also empower people to make the right decisions. Even with the right strategy and technology choices, every business requires great people who are in alignment with one another and clear about their roles to ensure the solution is implemented effectively.
Measurement and KPIs — As with any successful project, you should also define KPIs early and measure them continuously. These can be closely aligned with your guiding principles as well, providing you with measurable targets to keep the project on track and ensure you arrive at your desired destination.
Organizations that can put comprehensive implementation strategies in place become more agile in their ability to integrate new solutions. The potential benefits include:
A well-led, companywide strategy that aligns with an organization’s comprehensive business goals, carefully considers workforce impact, and assesses technology’s impact on the entire business is essential for a successful implementation. AI has been adopted by businesses in all aspects of their operations in recent years, across almost every major industry, and it continues to gain significant momentum. The growth and success of AI in the past few years demonstrates why it’s so valuable to have a strategy in place to facilitate rapid implementation and agile transformation.
Guidehouse has deep expertise in helping organizations with strategic technology implementations. Our in-depth segment and industry experience has helped many organizations align business objectives, develop clear project roadmaps, and employ KPIs that will help evaluate project implementation success. In addition, our focus on people, process, and technology means we help organizations develop a holistic and sustainable strategy that is integrated with workforce and capacity planning.
This article is co-authored by Anil Krishnananda, Jim Jennings, and Ruben Perello.
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