January is almost over for 2023 which likely means you are right back into the full swing of business for another year.
The new year often brings plans and aspirations to improve our businesses and the technology and systems that is relies on.
Digital transformation and new software solutions can be an absolute game changer for empowering business growth and profitability. But new system implementation is a ‘double edged sword’ and if the process is not approached correctly it can have a negative impact, rather than a positive one.
With that in mind lets cover some of the main concepts that I feel will have an impact on your digital transformation project in 2023 and how you can get the most benefit out of the process for your business.
Change Management Is About People
Undertaking any type of transformation is about change. Digital transformation is about change through and around technology. One of the biggest areas that is affected by change is with your people, both positively and negatively.
No matter how complex or simple your technology change is, it will have an impact on the human aspects of your business, even if that is isolated to just yourself.
You should carefully consider how the change will impact you, your team and their workflow. Generally speaking if a team member is not comfortable with the change they will resist. They may not do this consciously, but they will likely fail to properly adopt the new way of working. This can occur out of fear of the unknown, out of confusion, out of frustration or just subconsciously.
Where possible, include key team members as early as possible in the change process. Let them weight in on the system process and voice their ideas and concerns. This will help you identify any potential resistors as early as possible and help them become more comfortable with the change.
Training Is Not Change Management
One major mistake I often see businesses make with regards to change management around systems implementation is that they use end user training as the only change management strategy.
Training is critical and plays an important role in successful systems implementation but its only a small part of change management. Worse yet, training is often one of the last phases of implementation and if team members are resisting the change, training will be a lot less successful.
Communication and participation in the early and mid stages of the implementation are critical to creating ‘buy in’ and setting your business up for system implementation success.
Invest In Implementation
Once you have made the decision to undertake some level of digital transformation you will likely start exploring your options for new systems to implement.
A lot of organisations spend a disproportionate amount of time in this ‘research and selection’ phase and it hurts the overall success of the implementation.
There is definitely a need to properly explore your options and undertake proper requirements analysis, this is a big decision and its best not to rush things. That being said, you should try to avoid allocating large portions of your time and financial budgets to this exercise.
Ultimately there will be many systems available to you that will meet most of your requirements (none will meet 100%) and once you have identified a solution that fits, the best use of your resources is to allocate them to the implementation of the chosen system rather than trying to find the ‘perfect fit’.
A perfect system can fail if its not implemented correctly and even an average system can deliver results if implemented correctly.
Spending the majority of your resources in the area of implementation will absolutely give you the best chance at success!
2023 more than any other year is already off to a flying start and loaded with mention of advanced technologies, specifically AI with the explosion in popularity of ChatGPT.
AI concepts have been present in business software systems for a few years now and most are low impact. My general advice here is to try not be swayed to a particular system purely based around its advanced technology features. While these concepts are interesting and will grow in scope in the years to come, the reality is they will likely do next to nothing for your business right now.
Its far better to focus on core, proven aspects of the system that will be the foundation of your new technology solution. This foundation is critical to establishing a reliable technology base that you can build upon. Without a solid foundation you will find it hard to improve the solution in the future, the foundation is also where the majority of efficiencies come from.
With all the above considered I’m wishing you and your team all the success with your digital transformation initiatives in 2023!