How Do We Drive Technological Advances? Part V

This post concludes our series in which we note that an organization, which needs to master the three T’s to excel in Supply Management, must not only get a grip on modern technology, but acquire and adopt modern technology (in daily use) in order to begin its best in class journey.

In Part I, we noted that just having the right talent and transitional strategy is not enough, that talent and transition must be powered by modern technology. In Part II, we discussed a classic Chief Executive article that purported to provide seven strategies for driving technological advances, as there are not enough articles on the importance of the right technology in an enterprise (and, as such, it caught the doctor‘s attention), and noted that while it was a good start it didn’t really explain the process of getting technology acquired and adopted.

Then, in Part III we focussed on how the key to acquisition of a technology (that an organizations wishes to adopt), which requires budget that the CEO and CFO does not often want to allocate, was to identify one or more benefits important to the C-Suite — namely a quantifiably realistic ROI, visibility into data or processes of interest to a key C-Suite member, or support for an organizational initiative being championed by a C-Suite member. And yesterday, in Part IV, we focussed on the 4 P’s that define key elements that must be present in a technology to enable adoption (and that define necessary, but not sufficient, conditions).

And we left off indicating that in this, our fifth and final post in the series, we would translate how you take an adoptable solution and begin your journey on the road to adoption.

While there can be no guarantee of success, as success ultimately requires not only a good process transition, but a talented person spearheading it, and even the best process can flop in the hands of an inappropriate individual, this process does provide a foundation for adoption and might just be your best class of getting an appropriate solution adopted.

Identify the value to each function you want to adopt it.

While a few people will be screaming, screaming, screaming (along with some guy screaming in a leather jacket) for a new solution, most will be very resistant even to the mention of a new solution. There will be a strong resistance to change. There will be many reasons for this. Previous solutions didn’t address core needs. Manpower requirements didn’t decrease or value extracted didn’t increase. The previous attempt at a solution upgrade was abandoned. Etc.

Unless there is a clear value, who would even want to look at it given the average organizational track record in solution selection? So if you want an SRM – what does Procurement, Operations, Finance, and the C-Suite, for starters, get out of it? (Hint: many of the answers can be found in posts in the extensive SI archives.)

Identify those who could be champions in each function.

People want to adopt software that will not only be easy to use, and make their live’s easier, but that their peers will use. Everyone ones a collaboration platform, but few want to be the first to adopt. You need to find the champion who will both be the first to adopt but also convince their peers to be next in line, so the collaboration happens and the benefits materialize.

Determine what each champion wants, really, really wants and identify, in detail, how the solution will give it to them.

Do they want ease of use? If so, prepare a short, sweet demo that shows them how to do their most time-consuming daily tasks in a matter of minutes, and with ease, in the new solution. Are they looking for savings? Work out how they can get their ROI from the solution, share that process, and walk them through a what-if. Do they want collaboration — get a few people from the selection team online and show them how great collaboration can be. Then show them and get them hooked.

Prepare an easy to implement train-the-champion program.

Once you get the champions on board, you will need them to get more people on board. You will need a program that will help them identify

  • what their team members need to do,
  • how their team-members will be able to accomplish it quickly and easy in the solution,
  • how they will put together demos that will get their teammates on board,
  • how they will get their teammates set up on the program, and
  • how they will help their teammates get quick and easy answer to questions that arise in the course of their work.

This is not a train-the-trainer program. That comes after there is wide adoption and you want to mass train on advanced features. You need adoption first — and you often need it reasonably quick — and that’s what most train-the-trainer programs miss. The champion should not be the one setting the team up or the expert, but the one who interfaces with the support team to get the team set-up and knows where to direct each person who needs help (and make sure that help is received, and understood quickly).

In other words, don’t skip to the train the trainer or show the ease step — you first have to find the champions and first users (who might eventually become the trainers, but might not — maybe the last to adopt are the best at training but the worst at selling, and convincing someone to try something new is really a type of internal sales), get them interested, and get them on-board. Adoption starts from there.

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