This series is titled “Why Technology Fails”, and previous session articles have discussed key blockers (notably fear of change and the decision cycle) to corporate-level adoption. But companies do change and they do adapt new processes and technology with which they maintain a competitive edge and thrive. So then what does a successful digital transformation initiative look like? In two words – Base Camps.
Connected Worker Solutions touch every aspect of the People – Process – Technology ecosystem. As such, many organizational groups have the ability to say “no” when a Connected Worker Initiative is enacted. First and foremost, with any wearable CWI plan, intent is critical. From beginning of planning to full implementation, intent must be maintained as a guiding principle both as a simple moral compass and to avoid friction.
Base Camp 0 – Customer Approval
This first step may seem like the last. With complex technology initiatives, it is important to start with “yes” before achieving the real “yes”. As discussed in Session 2, owners hold the ultimate decision card at the table and they need to play that card first. An ownership approval “yes” is not a final commitment to placing a system in the field. Rather it is a commitment that the organization’s culture, operations, and processes are ready to change. It is largely an emotional statement and it sets an organization’s intent.
Even if a connected worker solution is adopted at a team level, without management approval, it will eventually become marginalized and set on the shelf to collect dust with other great ideas. After management approval of a formal evaluation is achieved, evaluators and implementers are engaged and the real effort begins.
Base Camp 1 – Customer Evaluation
Management has recognized critical gaps in existing processes or performance and sees digital transformation as part of the answer. While it may feel natural to put a team together “go find something”, recognize that the evaluation process is actually part of an organization’s adoption cycle. It is an opportunity for all business silos to be exposed to the possibilities, understand change is coming, and get invested in the decision.
With the emotional forward motion of management’s commitment, the rider (the rational side of the elephant and rider metaphor) takes over to evaluate the best direction. Beware that Base Camp 1 does not remain an emotional decision within the organization. If it does, when time comes to use the Connected Worker Solution, no one will be functionally prepared. In any case, getting invested can get very messy without a guidebook.
At a minimum, the following company silos need to evaluate the connected worker options using their specialized lenses. The process should be concurrent and completed in parallel. Each item listed has further checklists and key decision points.
- 1A: IT Evaluation: Technical Performance, Cybersecurity, and Potential Interferences
- 1B: HR/Legal Evaluation: Personal Privacy, Data Management
- 1C: Procurement Evaluation: Vendor Approval, T&Cs, Indemnity Language, Contracting
- 1D: Operational Evaluation: Resources required, Statement of Operational Intent, Integration into Operations
Base Camp 2 – Introduction
Congratulations, all organizational silos have contributed and a Connected Worker Solution has been selected. We’re ready to roll, right? Yes – to Base Camp 2. The next base camp is primarily focused on exposing and training implementers who will be using the technology. They need to discover its value, adapt to the new processes, and get invested in the initiative’s success.
You can accomplish all of the above through system pilot programs; small use-case based connected worker solution implementations. A pilot program is not handing random workers technology and asking their opinion. A pilot program is a deliberate, choreographed exercise with the intent to achieve a desired outcome. At the very least, pilot programs should include:
- 2A: User Adoption and Employee Awareness Messaging: Videos and literature, Employee Advocates, LMS or Training Curriculum
- 2B: System Demonstration and Technical Assessment: On-Site System Standup and Sign off
- 2C: System Pilot – Base Feature Set
- 2D: System Pilot – Full CWS
Base Camp 3 – Scaling and Stabilization
The pilot programs have demonstrated the value of the new Connected Worker Solution and also exposed additional changes needed operationally. Base Camp 3 represents a full investment in the new technology and is the culmination of the initial intent set by an organization’s management. Even so, key steps are required to realize full potential
- 3A-X: Phased Roll Outs (Specified by Quantities, Geographical Areas, Departments and Feature Sets) w/ Performance Evaluations
Digital transformation initiatives do not reach Base Camp 3 in a few days, nor should they take too long and potentially stall out. Momentum is critical to “keeping the elephant moving”; fueling the emotion which maintains organizational interest and commitment. There are no set times for each phase, and deciding what is correct for your organization is part of Base Camp 1. Large and siloed companies can have more process barriers to moving quickly through the process. Smaller companies will work through phases quicker, but may be using the same internal resources for multiple aspects of the initiative, putting stress on single points of contact.
An experienced Connected Worker Solution provider will have a large impact on achieving successful implementation and adoption. Each Base Camp requires key documentation and knowledge transfer, absence of any is the greatest cause of delay. They will understand your operational processes, organizational structure, and ask the right questions to guide progress.
This wraps up our three-part series on Why Technology Fails. It is certainly not exhaustive; we’ve included only the key topics which have consistently shown to impact successful technology adoption efforts. You may have added insight or questions about the SmartConnect approach. We’d like to hear about it. After all, that’s what transformation is all about.