New technology is both a major driver of change, and an important enabler of agile collaboration and new ways of working. In the past we have often introduced new technologies without good training and support and been surprised that we haven’t got the full benefit of the investment.
Today managers and professionals rely on an average of 9 job related apps at work and typically have most of these open at any one time. These apps are changing and updating constantly and, to get the best out of them we need a more systematic process for adapting our way of working to the opportunities they bring.
When we ask participants on our training programs which apps and systems they use regularly. The majority are the industry standards such as Microsoft word, teams, SharePoint, WebEx, and PowerPoint. These are not tailored at all to the organisation and are updated at the discretion of the providers.
A few are major platforms that their organizations have tailored somewhat to their own needs but are largely standard – such as SAP, Oracle or Salesforce. Again these are largely developed and updated externally.
A small and declining proportion are internally developed systems. These systems quickly get left behind by more capable and faster changing external alternatives.
What we quickly realise is that nearly all of these are available even to the smallest organizations. This means that in the future, having the tool alone will not be a source of competitive advantage.
All of the advantage will come from either the data they produce, or from our ability to quickly adopt the technology and adapt our way of working to the opportunities these technologies bring.
It simply isn’t good enough to introduce a tool and leave people to work it out for themselves. A few will train themselves to use the tools, many wont and almost none will have the time or ability to develop really new ways of working to leverage the opportunity these tools bring.
You already know from the number of app updates on your phones how regularly these apps are updated. Even everyday standards like Excel improve constantly, are you confident you are using their capabilities to the full?
Think about the apps you and your people use every day.
First – Are you clear what these tools are for? Do people have a shared understanding of how they fit into your communication plans or way of working?
Second – Have you ever been trained to use them (this might be as simple as watching a YouTube video)?
Third – have you thought about how you can use these tools collectively to work in a more agile and effective way?
Buying yammer or slack, for example, and leaving large groups of people to work it out will not give you an effective internal social network; it needs some navigation, architecture and etiquette, otherwise you will quickly have chaos.
What apps and systems do you use every day- what would you need to do to use them more effectively?