Overcoming Technology Adoption Challenges: 7 Barriers and Solutions

Digital transformation was the top IT priority for global companies in 2021. But too often, barriers stand in the way of organizational adoption. Fortunately, there are solutions.
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Digital transformation was the top IT priority for global companies in 2021. 

This probably isn’t shocking news, given our increasing reliance on digital technologies in our largely technological landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated a shift in mindsets and practices that was already underway a long time ago.

In order to stay competitive, businesses are adopting new technologies and making them integral to their workflows. But that doesn’t mean the process is entirely smooth. Frequently, businesses encounter challenges. Here are 7 of the most common ones and how to fix them.

1. Buy-in from Employees and Stakeholders

You and your IT leaders understand the value of the technology in which you’re investing. But your employees and other stakeholders, such as executives at your organization, may not. People fear change, and when you present them with new tools and systems they will be required to use, they could very well resist.

Changing mindsets and attitudes doesn’t happen overnight. But it can be done. That starts with educating them on the benefits of the new technology. In other words, what’s in it for them? Why should they buy into these tools? How will it help them do their jobs better and more efficiently? Once they understand the value, not just to your organization but on an individual level, that reluctance will fade.

2. Onboarding Users

The ability to onboard new users is closely linked to attaining buy-in. Overcoming the reluctance to use something new is one thing, but employees also need to know how to use these tools. Some systems are complex, and your staff members have different skills and competencies. That means grasping intricate software will come more easily to some than others. 

In order to onboard everyone to new programs and systems, you may need to hold special training sessions. Remember that different employees may need to tap into different aspects of your technology — not everyone needs to take advantage of the same features — so this could demand multiple sessions. Consider bringing in outside professionals to help educate employees on different aspects of the tools, too.

3. Clear Objectives and Goals

Too often, businesses want to engage in digital acceleration, but they don’t have a clear picture of what they hope to accomplish with these tools. Without established objectives, organizations will fail to maximize the value of the technology.

Before you attempt an organization-wide technology overhaul, you should define clear goals about what you would like to gain with these tools. There must be overarching objectives for the entire business, as well as goals for each department or unit within the larger organization. It’s important to communicate these goals to your employees and team members, too, so everyone is on the same page.

4. Cost

Many organizations want to partake in a digital transformation, but they don’t believe they have the funding necessary to buy new technologies and implement them. 

However, it’s important to understand that adopting innovative tools will actually save you money in the long run. When you’re relying on old, outdated systems to do your work, you will invest enormous amounts of money in maintenance and upkeep, given how frequently they will fail. Plus, you’ll lose out in terms of efficiency and productivity, which also translates to a loss in money. By overhauling your technology, you’ll effectively invest in tools that will pay off.

5. Time

The process of adopting new technologies is a long and often exhausting one. It can be discouraging to fail to see the fruits of your labor immediately. You may wonder if it’s really even worth it, after all.

There’s no quick fix to this problem. It simply requires the understanding that digital transformation takes time. It’s a process. Ultimately, you will reap the rewards — but it’s a long road to get there.

6. Risk

There are inherent risks in bringing any new technologies into your organization. Will you get an obvious return on investment (ROI)? Will people be able to grasp them? Will they actually facilitate the transformation you want and expect?

While it’s impossible to avoid risks entirely — without risk there’s no reward — you can do your due diligence when investing in software. Research existing solutions to determine the one that seems like it’s the best fit for your needs, reading all the reviews and consumer testimonials. Or, you may need a custom-built tool for your organization.

7. Sufficient Skillsets

Aside from effectively using these tools, which, as we’ve discussed, will require educating your staff, many organizations lack the skills to build or implement the technology. Many businesses do need custom solutions — the out-of-box features simply don’t meet their requirements — and unless they have in-house IT professionals with the specializations to create them, they are stuck. 

In cases like these, turning to an outside provider with the necessary skill set is usually the answer.  In that case, look into an outsourcing partner to create a unique solution that meets your needs. 

Given how organizations aren’t limited by location in today’s largely remote world, they can tap into talent across the globe, finding the particular qualifications they need to build or implement their new technologies. This, too, requires research, including discussing previous work with past clients and examining portfolios.

Digital transformation should certainly be a priority in 2022 and in the coming years. But it’s not a simple feat to pull off. You will almost certainly encounter challenges along the way, but it’s practically impossible to innovate your business and brand without them. 

That said, many businesses manage to achieve their digital visions, as long as they do the legwork to address the obstacles before they overtake their technology overhauls. With a plan on how to grapple with issues that emerge in place, they can prevent them from interfering with their goals.

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