The ability to adopt and deploy new technologies is vital to the success of large organisations, but it is also a process that is challenging and often approached in a haphazard manner.
Our 2019 CIO and IT Leadership Survey Report shows there are struggles when it comes to achieving expected benefits when adopting new technologies - see Figure 1 below.
Figure 1:“Regarding the projects where your company is using the following technologies, to what extent are you seeing benefits?” asked to respondents from companies that have already adopted or are currently adopting technologies, only seeing these technologies (124)"
This is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that under four in ten (38%) respondents’ organisations that have adopted or are in the process of adopting customer experience personalisation, have seen or are expecting to see significant benefits from an area that should be driving revenue and retention directly.
It is a similarly pessimistic story when it comes to robotic process automation. Only 37% of those who have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, report to have witnessed or be anticipating significant benefits. Further still, 17% say they have not seen or are not expecting any benefits at all.
These are surprising findings from relatively mature technologies, which means that organisations must be missing a trick somewhere during their adoption process as they should really be seeing more significant benefits than they currently are.
It further illustrates the importance of choosing the correct strategy and deployment process for your organisation when rolling out such significant change. It might also be a case of setting more realistic expectations.
When we look at time-to-benefit we get a perhaps more optimistic picture as on average, respondents report that their organisation’s strategic IT change programmes start to deliver benefits within seven months. In addition to the difficulties in extracting maximum value, the research also demonstrates that there are some perennial, and of the moment, barriers to the adoption of new technologies.
IT security is the most commonly (35%) reported, which is unsurprising considering the ever-expanding threat landscape and the new GDPR regulations around data breaches carrying heftier fines. Brexit uncertainty is also holding some back (22%) from perhaps larger investments, with negotiations continuing over the coming months.
Based on Coeus’ extensive experience supporting organisations through technology road-mapping and transformation, and on the outputs of the survey, we would recommend Technology Leaders consider the following key points when it comes to technology adoption:
- Ensure that timing of adoption is carefully considered, depending upon the industry and competitive landscape of the company; a fast-following approach is usually prudent to maximise the value cycle of investments and avoid the build-up of technical debt
- Ensure the value proposition is well understood, and where the contribution of new and improved technologies could drive improvements in cost and revenue against these; often a case built only on technology risk or cost cannot survive budgetary discussions intact
- Gain a good understanding of how current technology underpins business capabilities, and where there are gains from re-platforming and/or consolidation both from a technology, but also a business lens
- Keep a consistent and close market watch for key use cases, competition, and successes to ensure that you are truly acting as a fast follower and able to capitalise quickly
- Look to review skills and capability roadmaps regularly with technology partners to see how they can accelerate adoption
- Plan ahead in near and far cycles to balance immediate needs and fast change, with more complex and long-term transformation that occurs over years rather than months
- Recognise the dependencies between different technology and plan sequencing accordingly; poor data can undermine time to value, or overall benefits, for many of the maturing technologies such as RPA, AI, and CX Personalisation
- Communicate with the whole organisation, especially across the senior levels, to share understanding of the risks and impact associated with maintaining legacy technology; from a skills, functionality, agility, security, and business continuity perspective to help avoid decision-making paralysis, and a build-up of unacceptable technical debt.