Why Your Business is Not Ready for Emerging Tech

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: June 20, 2022

Though emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are at the forefront of scaling businesses into high-volume growth, not all organizations are ready for to take the plunge.

Many tech innovation journeys fail to meet expectations when it comes to time and budget. Rarely is it because of technical issues, but rather organizational. Problems with integrating people with the technology, appropriate data management strategies, and having clear business processes can all lead to major delays and cost overruns. Without proper preparation and planning, even the most sophisticated technology can quickly become a costly white elephant.

Is your business ready to embrace the new wave of emerging technologies? Here are a handful of hindrances that could be holding your company back from adopting modern technologies into your operations.

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#1. Poor Data Management

When we notice things like dirty data or lack of consensus around where the data is stored, or find repeated or unmatched data, we know there are issues with the structure and with how you utilize and strategize your data management tactics. The problem is, it happens more often than you think, and your mountains of big data can easily fly off the rails if there isn't intention put behind it.

The lack of clean data can lead to things like unanswered insights or even a misunderstanding of business processes. For example, if you’re going to implement new software that’s built on automation, you must make sure the data is actionable in order to create business value. Without the storytelling aspect of data, it's just a bunch of units of information. You also need to understand where your data is housed and be able to make sense of it.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is there a data warehouse?
  • Are there other systems in which there might be unmined data, like a financial system, an additional application, or a CRM system that is not integrated with your data management structure?
  • What are the reporting capabilities around that data?
  • How is the data consumed?
  • How can you create actionable strategies from the data you have now?

Any strong operational strategy must have a master data management plan. It’s important to have a centralized and organized process around your data before you look at technologies that utilize it to enhance your processes. That is the foundational step to making sure that your business is ready.

#2. Business Processes

It’s essential to have clear visibility – from end-to-end – of business processes. There must be consistency in mapping those processes to identify opportunities or understand the flaws that will act as a roadblock to the impact that emerging tech can have on your operations.

If you don’t have a clear understanding of business processes taking place within your organization, then implementing an emerging technology can be completely irrelevant, as the technology won’t be able to function correctly, creating technical debt and a lack of business value for your investment.

#3. Business Culture

It’s important to evaluate your business culture and understand the infrastructure of your organization.

Here are some things to assess:

  • Do you have siloed departments or are there processes that other departments might not understand?
  • Is there a culture of cross-collaboration within your organization?
  • Will your organization’s culture allow you to take data from one department and integrate it into another? Will it allow you to utilize something like AI or predictive analytics to create strategies?
  • Do your people have a misperception of what AI is? Do they have a “robots take over” approach in creating fear around their job function?
  • Are there any other misperceptions within your organization around what the technology is used for?

All the above can create fear and disruption among your employees when implementing any new technology. Understanding those areas of resistance will help you craft an organizational change management strategy, and ultimately help you ensure success in your digital transformation.

#4. Communication

If you have trouble communicating as an organization, then you should evaluate why is there a breakage happening. Regardless of if you have a specific employee engagement platform that you can leverage to get the messaging out, if you don’t have a productive communication strategy in place, implementing new technology could turn out to be dangerous, because there will be no ability to centralize the communications around the project.

A lack of transparency alone has the power to kill your investment in a digital transformation. If people on your team are not aware of the plan to integrate emerging technology in some capacity, you risk a lack of user adoption come go live. If that happens, your digital transformation will be nothing more than technical debt.

#5. Organizational Change Management

Having a clear organizational change management (OCM) plan is critical to being able to communicate and identify areas in which the new technology might affect someone’s experience in the organization, their roles, or their responsibilities. OCM, or a lack thereof, is the #1 failure point for a rather simple reason: businesses get ahead of themselves and implement this new technology, but they forget the human factor that’s ultimately critical to a successful implementation and user adoption.

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If any of these areas of opportunity resonate with you, don’t worry. Not having the business architecture to support these emerging technologies is not a bad thing - it just means you're at a different starting point. A key to a successful digital transformation is first understanding your current state, so you can more easily design the bridge that will get you to your future state.

We continue to see modern technologies become more mainstream within our client community, and it's helpful to learn from others as you go through the process of a digital transformation yourself. Our podcast, Transformation Ground Control, covers everything from case studies to tech trends in the business world that can very well impact your organization. If you have questions regarding your business readiness or are exploring potential software for your organization, please feel free to reach out to us. We're always happy to be an informal sounding board.

Author:
Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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