Cloud Investment – Putting Your People in Focus
Technology can bring about change across all industries through best practices, optimal management, and automation. While technology is a powerful enabler of transformation, organizations still consistently underachieve in their technology-related change investments. The reason for this is not always the fault of the technology but rather the disconnect between it and the people expected to use it. A study by The Economist Intelligence Unit found that only 38 percent of companies believe they are effective at using technology to enable business transformation. And in a study by McKinsey, it was found that only 26 percent of companies have been able to exploit the potential of technology to create value entirely.
There is no question that technology investments are necessary for most businesses today. The real question is how those investments are made and how they support the people in the organization. Too often, companies make technology investments without fully understanding how the technology will be used or how it will impact the people in the organization. This can lead to frustration on the part of users who don't understand why they can't just use their old tools, and it can lead to wasted time and money as the business tries to integrate new technology into its workflows.
A better approach is to focus on the people in the organization and their needs first. What are their business goals that need to be supported? What are their specific tasks that need to be accomplished? What are their pain points that need to be addressed? Once these questions are answered from the perspective of your organization, then technology needs can be better understood, and the right solutions can be identified. These questions should then be asked again to know how/if the technology solutions will provide the intended benefits from the perspective of your organization. Ultimately, the executive/management team must decide whether to move forward, and sometimes, the decision should be made to move forward, even when unpopular. However, gaining the organization's perspective is valuable to this process and should always be considered for a technology-related change initiative.
Cloud investment is an excellent example of this approach. Many businesses are moving to the cloud because it offers several benefits, such as scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. As echoed by Cloud Academy, the risk is that companies take the leap as a “massive project, most likely with staff who are untrained and unready to take over with new, cloud-based tools and services,” however, not all businesses are moving to the cloud at the same pace or in the same way. The companies that are successful in making a move to the cloud are the ones that take the time to understand the needs of their people and their specific business goals and take the time to plan and test their cloud solutions before executing the changes.
Why is it that so many companies struggle to use technology effectively?
If people were more robotic, there would be no challenge with technology-related change initiatives. However, people are not machines, and they will always have a fundamentally different basis for their thoughts and actions that technology cannot replicate. Technology is logical, whereas humans, who will drive your ROI, are more political and cultural. Companies often put technology in the spotlight and assume the alignment of their people with the technology, discounting this fundamental difference. Their investment tends to be more focused on technology than people, and the results are predictable – a highly capable technology that underperforms where it matters most – the people. Technology can be a powerful enabler of transformation, but it is not a silver bullet. Organizations need to focus on their people while leveraging technology to achieve success.
We believe that digital transformation is a journey, with your people in focus from start to finish, to update and, to some extent, reinvent your working systems and your business processes. Our emphasis on people-driven ROI begins with the understanding that people are natural innovators and have already developed systems that “get the job done.” While the power of technology is the critical enabler to transforming your business, pragmatic transformation begins at a human level - your people should remain in focus, and the desired business transformation will follow. We believe the best approach to gaining a return on your technology-related change investment is to focus on the people first and then make the investments to support them.
By establishing a stronger connection with your people up front, deepening your understanding of their day-to-day work, planning for their concerns, and reinforcing the opportunity with them in focus, your people are more invested, which is crucial to success. When people are in focus, technology becomes an extension of their skill set, and they are then more likely to embrace it and use it effectively. More typically, the technology is in focus, and the people are“managed.” The change is less of an opportunity and more of a requirement placed on them to do their job, which often results in frustration and a lack of buy-in from the users and other stakeholders.
A study by Gallup illuminates that highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability, yet only one-third of the overall American workforce is actively involved. ROI from people-driven investments is not simply giving your people what they want, but rather bottom-line driven. Their change will drive your collective success – it will be time-consuming and frequently challenging, but it should be the top priority for your investments. To enable success with technology-related change investments, it is vital to put your people in focus.
The bottom line is that technology investments should always be made in the context of the people in the organization. Technology can help to improve communication, productivity, and innovation. Still, it is always essential to ensure that suitable systems and tools are in place to support the people in your company. By focusing on your people and ensuring that they are invested in using those tools and resources, you can ensure that your company is positioned for success in the cloud era.
4 Key Steps to Getting Your People “Invested”
Reinforcing and ascertaining that businesses strive for people-driven ROI is often missed and gets on the wrong path early in a technology-related change initiative. How do you get your people invested? Here are a few pointers to get the project moving in the right direction from the start.