Technology innovates businesses and promotes growth, but it is vital for business owners and building owners to carefully consider their business position in light of rewards and risks when adopting emerging technologies.
Facility management organisations tend to be wary of new technologies, taking a risk-averse approach to implementing emerging solutions. Minimising risk is a smart approach and facility management organisations that balance risk management with cautious innovation can reap significant rewards, potentially leaping ahead of the competition.
Adopting new technology is one way to drive growth and profitability, and it can even transform the business for the better. Yet with an increased rate of change comes increased business risk. While advancements in big data analytics and business management systems can help organisations in all industries cut costs and gain a competitive edge, it is critical for business leaders and their technology project partners to work strategically and methodically.
Innovative technologies can help businesses reduce price and lower barriers to entry, change the ‘go-to-market’ strategy and even transform processes and culture. Technologies with the potential to do this currently include cloud, mobile applications, simulation, security and business intelligence platforms, tools and applications.
It is vital that any new technologies and processes adopted can actually drive business growth or provide a specific business-improvement outcome. So, when considering adopting an emerging technology, facility management organisations must carefully consider their business position in light of the potential risks and rewards.
The rewards can be significant. By looking to early adopters and using their experience as a barometer of what can be expected, organisations can see what rewards may be possible.
Four key rewards
1. Early adoption puts you ahead of competitors. Adopting innovative technology early means you have time to learn how to leverage the technology to its best advantage and can begin claiming market share while competitors are still considering whether to go ahead.
2. Successful implementation increases value for stakeholders. Successfully implementing the right technology can deliver business performance benefits to the bottom line.
3. Improved performance includes the ability to operate more effectively. When the new technology is in place it should enable a facility management organisation to operate more effectively.
4. Increased productivity leads to improved efficiency. Ideally the new technology will increase productivity, leading to improved efficiencies.
Tips for adopting new technology while minimising the risk
While new IT projects do carry a certain amount of risk, it is possible to reduce this risk substantially by following eight key steps:
1. Create a business case. Organisations must understand how much tolerance they have for failure, the urgency of implementing the technology, and how much time and resources will be required for the project.
2. Understand and agree on business requirements upfront. Don’t look to implement technology for its own sake, but rather to fulfil organisational needs more effectively.
3. Engage key stakeholders. When implementing transformational technology, the change must be overtly linked to market and/or business requirements or there is a risk the change will be rejected by the organisation.
4. Secure executive sponsorship. Full executive support is an indication that the entire company is invested in making the technology implementation work. Without it, project teams can become untethered from the organisation’s strategic goals and failure becomes more likely.
5. Choose the right technology. To choose the right technology you must consider a number of parameters including: depth of functionality, industry-specific features, ease of support, future development path, flexibility to adapt to the changing business model, integration with existing/future systems and scalability.
6. Future-proof the decision. Make sure you select a technology that suits the organisation’s needs both now and into the future, with a clear upgrade path and the ability to scale up as required.
7. Demand post-implementation support. An implementation project does not end once the technology goes live and it is vital to have effective and well-resourced support in place.
8. Implement effective governance. Corporate governance is essential for an organisation’s ongoing success and this extends to technology implementations. The greater the level of governance and scrutiny, the lower the risk of a project not succeeding.
In conclusion, if you are looking to make innovation a reality you must be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone and take some risks. While the future is not always perfectly clear, a strongly aligned business leadership and project team, working together and being prepared to innovate appropriately, can achieve significant benefits through adopting new and innovativetechnology. The key is to minimise the risks by taking a staged and carefully considered approach, and by working with a technology partner that understands your business, its challenges and its goals.
This is an abridged version of the lead feature in Facility Management (August/September). UXC is an Australian public listed company offering end-to-end IT services with over 2900 customers in the private and public sectors across Australasia. Go to www.uxc.com.au for more information.