In a recent study, Dell found that the majority of companies consider cost a key barrier to business technology adoption.
And it certainly makes sense, Gartner predicts that IT spending will reach $3.54 trillion dollars in 2016, which means an increase in budgets and pressure on companies to make sure their technology investments are sound.
However, I’m convinced that this preoccupation with cost is really just a symptom of a much more critical issue. After all, technology that’s considered a waste of money is labeled as such because it has failed to be effective or useful. That’s not an issue of cost, it’s an issue of usability.
While the primary driver of apprehension around business technology adoption (or lack thereof) circles back to the bottom line, it’s important for companies to remember that business technology can have an impact that extends well beyond a simple return on investment.
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Those that shy away from the perceived cost of new technology should instead focus on what drives adoption in the first place: ease of use.
Here are three ways ease of use accelerates adoption and helps to ensure that an investment in the right business technology pays for itself (and then some.)
1. Meeting the Expectations of the Future Workforce
We’re all living in the Digital Age and have come to expect the technology we interface with on a daily basis to provide a simple, intuitive experience. The workplace is no exception. In fact, research shows that over half of employees use personal devices for work. This consumerization of IT reveals an integral truth about business technology adoption among today’s workforce: usability and simplicity are key to adoption.
Companies that hope to win and retain top talent now have to consider these expectations as they relate to existing and future employees. Indeed, two-thirds of younger employees consider having the most current tech important, and one-third would consider leaving a job because old technology interferes with productivity and growth. Since talent continues to be a top challenge for business leaders across all industries, the potential impact of business technology adoption can’t be understated.
2. Hitting the Ground Running
The inevitable challenge for any business that’s adopting new technology is the (sometimes considerable) downtime they face while systems are updated, processes are retooled, and users are trained. If the technology is too complex or cumbersome, users will eschew training and work around it. The resulting lag in productivity and efficiency becomes a reflection of the software/solution itself.
Technology that leads with usability (an intuitive interface and user experience, for example) can mitigate this downtime. This is especially helpful for companies with larger teams that might otherwise lack the resources to ensure each person understands the ins and outs of complex technology. It also lowers the security risks associated with BYOD; when employees can get the simple, seamless experience they’re used to in their business software, there’s no need to supplement with their own consumer devices and applications.
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3. Empowering Individuals to Work to Their Greatest Potential
While 76 percent of employees acknowledge that technology has an influence on the way they work, for better or for worse, less than half of them feel that IT decision makers have taken their opinions into consideration when selecting business technology.
This disparity highlights another key reason business technology adoption often fails: individual users feel no ownership toward the tech they’re using. Instead of mandating a one-size-fits-all approach, companies should prioritize solutions that empower each user to work smarter toward their specific goals.
Software with customizable dashboards, for example, gives users across the business equal access to the crucial data they need, while also providing a way to tailor the experience to their unique requirements and work styles. Not only does this improve adoption, but it also helps employees to align their professional success with that of the business as a whole.
In the grand scheme of what technology can provide businesses for sustainable success, cost should generally not be the primary driving factor. The simple truth is that even the best, most powerful business solutions in the world cannot, and will not, make a difference for any enterprise if its employees don’t understand how to use them, or are unwilling to do so.
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While getting the workforce to embrace new technology may be difficult, the right solution can make a tremendous impact, and it ultimately boils down to ease of use to makes business technology adoption possible, profitable, and effective in the long term, both in terms of ROI and overall business success.