Every day, there is an abundance of new technology being introduced to so many industries – so much changing from this platform to that platform, and this solution to that solution – that it is easy to think these digital transitions just happen.
The fact is though – and many leaders have learned this the hard way – adoption of new technology, or any business change for that matter, doesn’t just happen because a manager orders it to be so.
People who have been following a process, clicking familiar buttons, using the same workarounds for years, will hold onto those practices like a blue tongue lizard, regardless of how inconvenient or impractical they are.
The fact is, people come around to new technology at their own pace.
According to the Diffusion of Innovation Theory by Professor Robert Everett, people can fall into the very small portion of innovators and early adopters, a much larger portion of early or late majority or the laggards group – those last to adapt and embrace something new.
Within a business environment, those innovators and early adopters can become champions of the change, and likewise, the late majority and laggards can hold back progress, scratching away at any initial ROI that may have been projected as a result of a successful transition.
Whether your technology change is moving from ‘Microsoft Teams’ to ‘Google’, from ‘Salesforce’ to ‘Hubspot’ or from a traditional means of asset inspection to drone capture and Trendspek modelling – there are massive benefits to be found… but only if you can achieve true, comprehensive and consistent buy-in across the business, within your planned timeframes.
A big change to asset inspection
Asset inspection is one of the many areas that is right at the beginning of a significant period of change, brought on by many factors.
Rising business costs and ESG are two of the most important factors motivating its evolution.
When it comes to ESG, new solutions are needed, as greater demand is put on companies to not only protect and support their own people better, but also to support and protect people in the communities around them, and the natural environment within which their businesses or supply chains operate.
Beyond this, the pressure for more transparency, improved governance and more accurate and detailed reporting, is prompting research into solutions that streamline those processes.
Expenses relating to everything from scaffolding to staff who need to work in precarious situations, have also increased, making regular inspections costly and sometimes not readily attainable.
One of the ways technology is evolving to meet these needs is by taking the bulk of asset inspection offsite – removing the danger, the transport, much of the cost – and making it a much easier task.
This begins with switching up the way the asset is captured. While previously abseilers might scale the building with cameras, taking a picture here and there, or engineers might stand on cherry pickers doing the same, now just one person, with their one drone, can do a more comprehensive job, in much less time.
Once capture is complete, data is ingested and processed rapidly by Precision Asset Intelligence platforms, like Trendspek. It is transformed into a fully-interactive, 3D model that enables measurement, markup and collaboration right from the asset manager’s desk.
Needless to say, changes like these offer incredible benefits, especially where ESG and cost come in; but for some – those late majority and laggards – they can also bring trepidation and resistance.
Ultimately though, the reality is businesses need to evolve, and their people need to keep up with those changes.
If they don’t, especially in cases like this one, we will continue to see unjustifiable costs, incomplete reports, safety risks, reluctance to inspect, and the consequence – accidents that cost much more than money.
Why do organisations resist change?
In our personal lives, our reasons for sticking to old habits are many and varied. Interestingly, a lot of them cross over into our business lives, and become collective and cultural issues for companies aiming to implement effective digital transition.
When preparing to introduce a change project, identifying the potential main areas of resistance, who or where they will come from, and in contrast, who will champion change, should be your first steps.
For most businesses, perceived effort is one of the main reasons staff do not buy into and actively use technology.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, they compare the learning curve to becoming proficient in ‘the new way’ with their efficiency to achieve the task ‘the old way,’ – and guess which comes off second best?
What they are not doing is comparing the seeming efficiencies of ‘the old way’ with the efficiencies that will be introduced when ‘the new way’ is fully functional, and seeing the ‘learning curve’ simply as a means to an end to improve their process and actually minimise their effort.
Communicating the end result and how short that journey is to get there can help late adopters see the light.
The fear factor
In any change, any step out of our comfort zone, fear will always be a factor, whether we identify it and call it that within ourselves or not.
In terms of technology and change, that fear usually comes from the idea that they will not be able to catch on quickly and will therefore look incompetent at their job (which they have always been good at), or fear they will break something.
Starting by reassuring people that it is usually VERY difficult to break a technology solution with their given permissions, can help people settle. Likewise, encouraging them to ‘have a play’, with some easy instruction or peer-based training can make the new system seem less intimidating, and even fun.
Ensuring your communications are understanding, and that they acknowledge ‘getting comfortable’ with the new system will take time – and that is ok – can also go a long way to increasing a feeling of security and confidence.
As humans, we only have a certain level of tolerance for almost anything – we get tired, we get worn, we get impatient.
Change fatigue is a very real issue that affects many businesses these days, especially now, as so many facets of operations are evolving continuously and people are finding it difficult to feel secure, to know their place, to understand what the future holds.
One major reason for this can be ‘the right hand not knowing what the left is doing’, that is, departments that don’t talk to each other, all simultaneously implementing their own change projects that people have to buy into.
A more cohesive and collaborative approach to business and operational planning, including earmarking any major change projects, can help ensure we don’t keep people on the hamster wheel more than they can bear it.
Change needs to be led from the front – it is almost useless trying to implement something new if staff are aware their leaders don’t have to adopt the change, or worse, don’t care for it and support it.
Buy-in starts at the top. When kicking off your technology implementation, you not only need champions at all levels through the business, you need them firmly rooted in your leadership team. They need to be passionate, vocal and evangelise the rewards of the journey your business is on.
Tying all of the above together is poor communication – because without strong communication that explains the transition, the benefits, drives each step and enables two-way dialogue, very few change projects are successful.
When implementing new technology solutions, building a working group of affected people from throughout the business can create an additional, non-digital channel for communication and advocacy, can empower train-the-trainer, and can enable feedback to filter back up to a place it can be addressed properly.
Finally – and this is one of the most important factors that impact effective implementation of new technology – if a transition program lasts for only as long as it takes to physically install the new system and announce it, no one will buy-in.
Communication needs to be regular and ongoing, celebrating benefits, spotlighting use cases, highlighting success stories. It should last as long as it takes to get those laggards onboard and wilfully letting go of old habits.
Technology implementation in asset management
As a technology solution provider, Trendspek is a strong advocate for robust and strategic implementation and change management processes.
Even in our own business, as it has evolved over the last five years, we have encountered internal tech adoption projects, and we know how far a good plan, great communication and enthusiastic champions can go to achieving success.
When working with customers, we are dedicated to ensuring you get real value from our platform – that you don’t invest in capture and a model without getting every benefit.
In addition to supporting you in the development of your implementation plan, and drawing on the process we have developed over time, we also work closely with your teams so they become comfortable with the platform quickly, see and understand its simple but highly effective functionality, and enjoy the regular updates and advancements we bring to their practice.