What roadblocks keep a tech company from enacting change and implementing new cloud systems? The benefits in efficiency and effectiveness are clear, but many companies—even in a sector that should be technologically capable—face challenges when they try to upgrade their systems. The truth is that tech companies don’t forgo new systems because they don’t see value in the change, but because they’re stymied by internal roadblocks.
It’s not a mystery why companies don’t prioritize big software changes. Over the past year, tech companies have had to navigate inflation, higher interest rates, and changing workforce dynamics. Layoffs and staff turnover have made it more difficult to focus on day-to-day operations for many companies.
These barriers may feel impossible to overcome, and the risk of wasted time and capital is real. But like any other big project, it’s simpler than it seems when you break it down. We’ve catalogued some major roadblocks tech companies face regarding change management for new systems and recommended some solutions.
Common roadblocks to change adoption
The roadblock: Change takes time, effort and resources. For tech companies that have been rocked by layoffs and staff turnover, it feels difficult to find the bandwidth to maintain best practices, let alone make major systems changes. In many cases, the system you’re using was built and is maintained by one person, which both creates risk for your company and prevents you from addressing that risk.
The solution: Upgrading an outdated or home-brew system to a modern, unified cloud solution doesn’t require as much company time or supervision as many think. When considering a major enhancement, think about how to prioritize functions. What is a nice-to-have as opposed to a need-to-have? What will have the maximum impact on profitability and productivity? What can you do immediately? Then, break your transformation down into steps and realistically assess what you have the staff resources to change. Maybe you’ll only be implementing your new planning system for one team and then expanding it to the whole company. Finally, determine who will be ultimately responsible for each piece of the project, from defining needs to evaluating the completed system.
The roadblock: Whether through growth or staff attrition, changes in leadership structures can make it difficult to determine who is responsible for a system. It’s easier to let someone else (read: nobody) take responsibility to avoid causing problems. And when it’s time to change, it’s hard to decide who gets to make the big decisions about how a system will work and how to prepare it for growth.
The solution: Talk to as many people as possible about their needs and what growth trajectory the system should be on. Writing user stories (short narratives that articulate what users will need out of their systems in plain language) can help clarify what the system should look like. Then establish a structure of responsibility that makes it completely clear who owns the system, who will provide day-to-day support, and who should be consulted about changes. Be more detailed than you think you need to be—you’ll be thankful for the extra clarity later.
Lack of agility
The roadblock: A new technology initiative can be complex. In a large and/or technically sophisticated organization, even smaller changes take multiple coordinated workstreams. This is especially tough to manage given that projects often require mid-process adjustments. Remaining agile while keeping your eye on your long-term goals often presents problems for major digital projects.
The solution: Again—make a plan and simplify. Figure out what dependencies you’re working with and in what order steps need to happen. You’ll probably also want to identify points of contact for all the systems you’ll be interfacing with throughout the project. Then, once you’ve made the plan, make sure you have one person empowered to run the project and make decisions. Committees have their place, but if every step needs ten people to weigh in on everything, you open yourself up to all kinds of problems.
The roadblock: How do you convince end-users that a system change, while stressful, is needed and needed now? Tech employees accept change in their workplace, but every new system represents another change to their day-to-day work. These changes add up and lead to new systems being rejected—unless your organization manages them effectively.
The solution: We recommend a two-fold approach: First, make sure you understand current shortcomings and user pain points of the current system before you get started. If the system doesn’t respond to your end users’ needs, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle getting them onboard. When you’re satisfied the solution does what it’s supposed to do, communicate early and often about the change. Make it clear that this system is the answer to complaints that you’ve been hearing. If stakeholders see that you’re addressing their pain points, they’ll be much more likely to switch from the current system to the new system enthusiastically.
The roadblock: As with your stakeholders, executives need to buy in early on the need and plan for change. The executive leaders of your company can either be major blockers or powerful allies of digital transformation.
The solution: To get your leadership team on board, demonstrate the long-term cost savings and value-add of a digital transformation initiative, aligned with their vision for the future of the company. Outline how various business units will see reduced costs and better outcomes. Depending on your audience and your project, this could include increased security, efficient workflows, deep strategic insights, higher profitability, and more. Then, when you’ve convinced your executives, enlist them in convincing others. Make sure they understand the vision, the plans, and the action steps, and have them advocate for the new system among their teams.
Responsibility for adoption
The roadblock: Back to the refrain: change is hard. A new system has the potential to confuse a lot of your stakeholders, and managing the change takes legwork. Communicating and bringing people along with the change can be as much of a challenge as managing the technical work.
The solution: Don’t go it alone and you won’t need to be an adoption or implementation expert to succeed. A third-party technology partner can devise and run an end-user adoption program for any new tech they implement. This gets your users to proficiency faster while you remain focused on your day-to-day business. They can also offer managed services for maintaining or further customizing your system.
Choosing the right partner
The key to tech companies overcoming these roadblocks to change is finding that right technology partner. One that understands your business and your budget and will work with you to create a bespoke cloud solution that gives your company a competitive edge.
Spaulding Ridge not only offers implementation and adoption expertise, but deep knowledge of the high-tech industry. We understand the pitfalls and pains you face. We want to work with you to achieve your goals in the most efficient manner possible. Contact one of our expert advisors to discuss an assessment of your current technology environment and future needs.
High-tech is all about the future. Let Spaulding Ridge help you leave technology that doesn’t serve you in the past.