Businesses that adopt new technologies often gain a competitive advantage, while those that don’t tend to fall behind. With today’s advanced tech, from the Internet of Things (IoT) to cloud-based data management to artificial intelligence, there are more opportunities than ever before to use technology to drive business growth.
The Harvard Business Review ran a 2014 study indicating that 20 percent of companies considered IT pioneers experienced more than 30 percent growth in revenue. Those who are at the forefront of change reap more benefits than the followers or cautious adopters who trail behind.
Just having technology, though, isn’t enough to get its full benefit. The way a business implements their newfound tech has a profound effect on how well it works for them. In the worst cases, a botched rollout can even result in a company losing money — or, goodness forbid, a complete shutdown.
Take the failure of Castle Property Management this past year, a tech-focused real estate startup that raised $3.3 million in funding between 2014 and 2016. They aimed to streamline property management through tech, but struggled to combine the old-school service needs of the industry with their state-of-the-art platform. Particularly in a more traditional industry like real estate, proper planning and integration is the key to successful innovation.
How can companies implement new technologies so that they get their money’s worth? Here are four fundamental aspects of any roll-out.
Deploying a new technology requires a lot of planning. Rushing into the use of a new system is one of the worst mistakes a business can make.
The first step of the planning process should involve evaluating the company’s needs and how technology may be able to help with that. Starting with this approach helps ensure a business doesn’t start using technology just for the sake of technology — which makes things more complicated than they need to be. Every new piece of tech should serve a well-defined purpose.
Once the needs and potential benefits have been established, the company can compare the options available to them and decide on the best solution for their situation. In today’s world, there are many different options when it comes to tech, so it’s essential to assess capabilities, flexibility, reliability and support options for all tech systems.
Once management has chosen the technology they are going to deploy, they need to create an implementation plan. This strategy should cover who will start using the new tech first, how it will integrate with any existing systems, how employees will receive training on using the new tech and any other relevant factors. If possible, it’s often best to start small and gradually roll out the tech to the whole company.
Communicating the Benefits
Communication is a critical aspect of any tech implementation. Those in charge of the roll-out need to ensure everyone is on the same page with regard to the new system. Tech can look flashy, but grizzled real estate pros know better than to jump on an opportunity without clearly understanding its impact.
People often resist change, so it’s vital to clearly communicate the benefits a new technology will provide. Management should hear out those who have concerns and take their worries into consideration.
Deploying a new technology will be more successful if everyone understands their role in the implementation. Ideally, everyone will feel a sense of ownership in whether the roll-out is successful. Employees should also understand the broader picture of the deployment and the benefit the new tech will bring to the company.
Training Your Employees
You can have all the tech in the world, but it doesn’t matter if nobody in your company knows how to use it. An informative and practical training program is crucial to the success of any implementation. While it’s one thing to make innovations at the top level, the people receiving the training are those who will actually be using it in their daily work.
Providing proper training will help many a roll-out go much more smoothly. It ensures technology gets used to its full potential and helps avoid downtime that can slow down projects and company growth. Operator error, for example, accounts for 50 percent of unscheduled production downtime. This percentage could be even higher when working with new equipment, which negates the positive effects of technological investment.
“I think companies would see a much larger adoption and frankly a return on investment if they either swapped the technology and training budget or at least spent the two more evenly,” commented Alyssa Hellman of Bamboo Realty in a 2017 interview.
Make sure you’re prepared to spend on your new investment all the way down the line. In addition to the initial training sessions, you should also offer ongoing tech support to deal with any problems that may occur. Sometimes, the companies that sell business technology solutions may offer training and tech support. Other times, it may be best to have an in-house team handle these aspects.
Monitoring the Impact
People, and especially companies, are imperfect. It’s likely that management won’t get every part of their implementation plan right the first time. Plus, the needs of the company and the capabilities of the technology may change over time. For these reasons, it’s important for the company to monitor progress to find out where adjustments need to be made.
Monitoring may include collecting feedback from employees and other stakeholders about the technology, conducting cost-benefit analyses and regularly checking for operational or security problems.
Management should take a continuous improvement approach to their use of technology and ensure they allow enough flexibility to make any necessary changes. Doing so will help the company to get the most benefit from the tech over the long term as possible.
Implementing Tech in Commercial Real Estate
You don’t want to throw money at innovation only to watch it fail. So, how can you implement new technology in a way that helps your company take advantage of its full potential?
On the top level, create a clear strategy that outlines the purpose of new technology clearly. You should then offer practical training with support for employees, while ensuring the new process is smoothly integrated within your existing processes. With clear communication and monitoring systems in place, you’ll make sure that new technology is creating the positive impact it should.
Tech is more widely available and has more potential benefits than ever before for businesses, but that doesn’t mean implementing it is necessarily easy. Rolling out a new tech solution requires careful planning and implementation to ensure you get as much benefit out of it as you can.