In the last decade, there have been major technological advancements. The pandemic has only further accelerated innovation and growth in the IT sector, resulting in compelling Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud service, and data analytic options for government agencies to consider. Our government customers are faced with the daunting task of figuring out the best investments to meet their business objectives and performance goals.
Though well-intentioned, the pursuit of new technologies can quickly turn into a runaway train, and what was once a promising endeavor can deviate from its original purpose. A frequently cited report by the Standish Group, an advisory firm specializing in project management, found that government tech projects over $6 million succeed only 13% of the time. There are several factors that lead to government IT project failures, and one of the main reasons is the lack of successful adoption of the system.
Below are five ways to improve the chances of successful adoption of new technology:
1.Emerging Technology – Managing the Rollout
While it’s exciting to think about technology transformation, how do we mitigate being sucked into the hype around new products, services, and ideas? How do we balance the desire for innovation with actually meeting a business need or problem? It’s hard not to get swept up by the buzz generated over a new tech gadget or trend, but innovation doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel or making major changes to be impactful.
The path to a final solution should be done in increments, making parts of the whole more manageable and easier to control. A gradual approach allows time for users to adjust to new processes and address risk and issues as they arise. It also allows leadership and IT teams to check-in at different stages of the project to reassess and pivot as needed, especially for more complex solutions that impact multiple programs across an organization.
2.Technology Roadmap – Map Out the Big Picture
Before starting any IT project, it is important to start by connecting with the government organization’s IT department to determine if they have a technology roadmap. The roadmap provides a strategic direction for infrastructure and application features and releases in support of the organization’s business goals in a timeline view. This helps determine where your customer’s IT initiatives and projects fit into the bigger picture, and how they align with the IT department’s priorities.
The roadmap also informs teams of the steps needed to set up a project for success. For example, when proposing a new technology or capability that is not already part of the existing roadmap, you may have to work with your customer to develop a business justification to invest in the technology followed by facilitating value-based discussions with executive, senior, and IT leaders to make your case. It is not enough to have great ideas if you don’t have the backing of key stakeholders to turn those ideas into an actionable plan agreed upon by all involved.
3.Stakeholder Analysis – Get to Know Who is Involved Early in the Process
This may seem obvious to some. However, getting to know the stakeholders involved in a project is often overlooked and not given enough attention. Particularly in the case of large and complex enterprise IT projects, it is critical that key stakeholders across all organizations are identified as early as possible. Stakeholders’ attitudes have a significant impact on a project’s success. Further, this key activity allows Project Managers (PM) to manage and influence stakeholder expectations.
Performing stakeholder analysis provides valuable insight into project supporters, opponents, and degrees of interest in the project. Don’t wait until testing to involve stakeholders. Ensure they are participating in the discovery and ideation phases as early as possible to gain important information and valuable feedback. Engaging stakeholders early in the process boosts support and buy-in and increases the chances of a successful adoption of a new or enhanced system.
4.Strategic Approach and Planning – Keep it Simple
Executive and senior leaders know that strategy is important, but when put into practice, it can be a demanding task. Developing a good strategy takes discipline, honesty, and follow through. No matter how prepared, there will be challenges along the way. However, this shouldn’t discourage teams from creating and implementing a strategic plan.
One of Harvard’s top rules for a winning strategic plan is to keep it simple. Focus on the target audience the IT solution supports and clearly communicate the value it is providing. Keeping these two points at the forefront of the conversation guides leaders through the planning process and helps them face issues together. Additional details can be further elaborated and incorporated as they are identified.
To quote Voltaire, “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”
5.Existing and new systems – Effectively Transition From the Old to the New
Preparing to implement new technology can be just as challenging and equally pivotal as executing a project. For every proponent that is ready to embrace new technologies, there are some that may harbor reservations and resistant to change.
Building in time for adjustments to acclimate to the new system allows users to ask questions and troubleshoot problems that can occur during the transition process. A transition plan can also help structure the approach to data migration, clean up and streamline data, and fill gaps before launching the new system. In turn, this prevents continuity issues, minimizes disruptions to key functionalities, and bolsters users’ confidence in the new system.
As we look to new technologies that will replace existing systems, provide enhancements, or transform business processes, ensure you take a measured and deliberate approach in the early stages of the project. Innovation can bring positive changes and efficiencies, but we can’t lose sight of the human experience in the process. People, processes, and tools have to come together to provide the best chances of system adoption.
Written by: Monica Chung