Adoption

  • If you have ever been on the leading edge of adopting a new innovative solution, you know that not everyone will immediately embrace a disruptive idea despite obvious benefits.  Here are 5 tips to speed up insertion of innovative products into your environment.

    1. Create a Value and Impact Analysis

    Benefits Assessment

    As stated by Connolly

    “Sometimes we get so enthralled with shiny new tech tools that we forget the basic fact they need to bring business value.”

    A key element of generating momentum behind a new solution is to demonstrate the impact.  Does the new solution save time, money, or resources? How so? How much? Create a clear and direct linkage between the proposed technology and something that stakeholders want.

    Cost Dynamics

    Often times, budget managers focus on the upfront cost of new technology. Be sure to include a cost analysis in your value assessment that articulates potential savings over time. If the investment is savings neutral, consider demonstrating the opportunity cost associated with choosing not to acquire the benefits brought about by the new innovation.

    Risks

    Nobody likes surprises, especially decision makers and leaders. Identify the worst case scenarios up front and cover likelihood of and responses to risky outcomes.

    2. Identify and Recruit Advocates

    Leadership

    A champion in leadership can socialize the value of new technology at the highest levels within the organization.  They are key to removing adoption obstacles.   Enlist a champion in leadership with powerful influence who can provide a force for change.

    Influencers

    Similar to champions, influencers have significant organizational voice regarding decision making within their sphere.  These might be technical SMEs, key contributors, or cross-team liaisons. Engage influencers actively and encourage them to communicate with their teams.

    Manage Expectations

    Set clear goals and communicate them effectively to all stakeholders. Clear expectations set the framework for the results you want to achieve. If advocates don’t understand the full picture, they can’t be helpful in spreading the word.

    3. Plan and Execute a Limited Pilot

    Testing new technologies in a low-risk environment before moving to full scale is almost always a wise move. Plan first, in order to execute your pilot effectively.

    Create Success Metrics

    Determine what success looks like based on your previous value analysis.  Use those ideas to create some target metrics. What do we expect to happen? Did we achieve the desired outcomes?

    Define Evaluation Criteria

    Determine how you will gauge the results of the pilot. Are some outcomes more important than others? Are there competing technologies that should be compared? How will you measure feedback taken from key participants? Determine how your collected metrics will be rated once the pilot is complete.

    4. Conduct a Pilot Review

    Spread the News

    Your pilot should provide you with quantitative results about the positive effects of your proposed solution.  Share the information about pilot performance with your stakeholders.

    5. Create an Adoption Plan

    Funding & Acquisition

    Now that you can support the value of your proposal, you need to secure funds to initiate purchasing.  Use your pilot results as a basis for your estimates and factor in deployment and sustainment costs. Also factor in any training needed.

    Change Management

    New technology will often disrupt the existing apple cart. Consider the best way to roll out your new technology throughout the organization. Some solutions can deploy wholesale, while others may require more incremental phasing into operation. Consider the people impacts of adoption and plan ahead for potential course adjustments along the way.

    Conclusion

    Successful technology adoption requires early planning, significant buy-in, and efficient engagement. You never want to be the person that wastes money on the expensive solution that doesn’t produce. Instead, be the driver of ROI by pre-empting resistance and strategically aligning innovative technology to the business.

  • Technology cost was once a serious blocker to a fast and simple business flow.  As productivity and collaboration solutions become cheaper and easier to adopt, organizations of all sizes have seemingly infinite options for streamlining how they operate.  The rise of APIs and fee-based integration services have created an ecosystem where small companies with limited IT budgets can have robust business solutions that rival the expensive ERPs used by large enterprises.  Today, a high performing solution can be achieved by combining multiple individual “best of breed” applications.  Benefits to having a cohesive and efficient system include:

    • Increased agility
    • Simplified data management and access
    • Enhanced visualization
    • Faster Throughput
    • Fewer mistakes
    • More time to focus on priority initiatives                                 

    In 2020, you can achieve the high-quality enterprise solution that your organization deserves.  Here are some ideas to help you get started.

    Optimize Workflow

    “We cannot stand still. We have to be trying new things and looking at our processes to see what is working and not working. And if it is working, we have to ask ourselves, Will it continue to work in the future?” -Andrew D. Paparozzi, Chief Economist, NAPL, ( How Industry Leaders Get—and Stay —Ahead, 2014)

    Regardless of what you do, your organization operates on a routine.  Over time, habits make your routine comfortable.  Attaining impact from a new tool or system requires that you determine how to work smarter. Luckily, the process is not too difficult.

    • Document your business process into a map.  There is no need for a comprehensive diagram. Include the key tasks that accomplish business goals. Use a flow tool such as Visio or Lucidchart.  Alternatively, just draw it on a whiteboard
    • Identify inefficiencies.  No one is smarter about your business than you.  Once you can see the whole process at once; unnecessary tasks, redundant steps, and bottlenecks will seem obvious
    • Rethink your process.  Inefficiencies are often the result of technology limitations.  Wipe the slate clean and create the process that you would want if there were nothing holding you back
    • Automatesimple tasks that drain valuable time. Also, target steps in the process that are prone to errors and delays

    Many believe that optimizing a business process must involve a complex and time-consuming assessment.  However, at the core, it’s a simple matter of creating patterns that allow for smart decisions to be made at the right time.

    Business Requirements

    Business requirements come in many styles and formats.  Some teams prefer to keep things simple and use a bulleted wish list.  Others might find a collection of use case specifications easier to use based on their existing setup.  Either approach can work.  The optimized workflow must be translated into a clear set of capabilities.  The priority of the needed capabilities must be communicated as well.

    Now the technical team has what they need to turn that new business process into a working solution.    

    Minimize Touchpoints

    If business constraints, such as cost, lead the assessment towards a hybrid solution, the technical team must think strategically.  Moving back and forth between systems is inefficient.  Every touchpoint in the workflow is time spent. 

    A diagram of a uniform business sytstem
    A Uniform Data Strategy Lifecycle

    Remember the Future

    Will you be doing business the same way in 2 to 5 years?  Don’t forget that your solution needs to adapt and grow with your organization.

    Market Search

    When looking for the right tools to modernize, it can be tempting to go for trendiness and buzz. Outline your criteria ahead of time and stay true to your requirements.  Keep an open mind as you pick out suitable alternatives. 

    Don’t know where to begin?  How about a review of systems in use by similar organizations in your industry? Comparable use cases are a great source for leads that are relevant to your needs.  Ask around, conduct targeted searches, read comparisons, and check reviews.  Software trials are a great way determine if options are worthwhile.  

    Choosing a poor or incompatible solution can have painful, embarrassing, and expensive consequences.  Spending some extra time on research is almost never a bad investment.   

    User Pilot

    You have decided to try out a new solution.  Now that’s exciting! The most important consideration at this stage is to figure out where you will need help.  Are you working with a new vendor? Several vendors? Is your team building part of the solution in house? What’s your tolerance for downtime and outages? Who is on the hook to keep everything up and running?  

    Whatever challenges come your way; a test run will help to ensure that your team is ready.  Ask questions, document concerns, and track feedback.

    Acquisition

    Depending on the licensing terms and the availability of trials; purchasing can come either before or after your user pilot(s).  When you explain your goals, environment, concerns, and constraints to your vendor(s), they are often willing to accommodate within reason.  Don’t be afraid to ask for their help. 

    Once the contracts are signed, you will have to either live with the terms or spend additional funds to amend them.  Don’t forget to cover important agreements such as:

    • Dispute resolution process
    • Cadence of future releases
    • Access to future enhancements
    • Access to vendor support
    • Professional services for custom features
    • License lifecycle (extensions/amendments)
    • Feedback into technical roadmap
    • Termination or transfer rights

    Conclusion

    Business management tools have come a long way and are constantly improving.  Investment is on the rise for robust solutions that minimize chaos improve productivity.  More and more organizations are adopting smarter ways to get work done, foresee risks, and promote healthy operations. With a just little bit of ingenuity, technical strategy, and collaboration; you too can feel confident that you have a system that bolsters your organization’s performance.

  • With the continuous stream of data breaches, network disruptions, and ransom attacks, we have collectively begun to become desensitized to cybersecurity incidents of all sizes.  Nobody wants to be the next headline in the news as the unsuspecting victim.  As a result, chief information security officers (CISOs) and security teams are under increasing pressure to secure vulnerabilities and prevent attacks.

    Meanwhile, product teams and business managers are increasingly under pressure to make delivery commitments and meet deadlines. They don’t want to be in the news any more than their security colleagues.  However, priorities between the cybersecurity team and business teams are not always aligned.  Friction between mitigating security risks and making schedule deadlines often results in frustration and strained relationships. Keep reading for some approaches to bridge the gap between the cybersecurity team and business operations.

    1. Speak the Same Language

    Technical experts in different domains often encounter collaboration challenges due to the distinct jargon and terminology associated with their discipline.  Will software developers understand the output of a security scanning tool? Will InfoSec approvers understand the contents of an application log? 

    Speaking the same language doesn’t mean turning your software developers into forensic analysts.  However, it does mean that they should study and learn cybersecurity best practices for applications in their industry.  The best engineers know how to think like an attacker so that they can design and build the right mechanisms to foil attacks. Conversely, your cybersecurity professionals should know and understand the fundamentals of system architecture and engineering.  To achieve this end, you might need to establish IT centers of excellence, partner tech leaders across disciplines, or even temporarily embed team members into cross functional areas.

    Common language and understanding allows for substantive and meaningful engagements. It also fosters trust and credibility between teams for talking through requirements and constraints.

    2. Start Early

    The best mitigation for a potential vulnerability is to design it out of the system before it can be built-in. The security team is a key stakeholder to the project and their requirements should be included with business owner’s needs.  They should also be prioritized independently as part of the architecture runway. No completed iteration is truly deployable unless it is secure.

    You never want to be in the position of absorbing re-work due to security vulnerabilities.  An even worse prospect is to be forced into reactive mode due to an ongoing attack. Start your security work as early as possible.

    3. Plan for the Worst

    Zero trust security teaches us to trust nothing and inspect everything. However, all the required scanning will for sure take up time in the project schedule. Not to mention the time to needed mitigate the scan findings. Factor in time to work the vulnerabilities out of your system with proper coverage.

    4. Automate, Automate, Automate

    Built-In Security

    Integrate application security tools into your system value chain. These tools can be deployed early in your development cycle and provide the coverage needed to review modules and components for weak spots as they are being developed.  An important benefit, especially for government agencies, is that they can also save time by populating compliance documents with automatically detected security information and applied techniques.

    Continuous Assessment

    Integrate security configuration, testing, and validation into your CI/CD pipeline. This allows all teams to maintain ongoing awareness of compliance and vulnerability status. The real-time security data also provides for proactive management of vulnerability risk.

    5. Organize Strategically

    Is your organization properly staffed to deliver secure systems? Rapid delivery requires a complete engineering team staffed with information security experts. Without sufficient numbers, it’s common for the cybersecurity team to become overextended. Any approving entities must also be setup to review and adjudicate quickly. Review your allocations often and build up your cybersecurity team to keep pace with the flow of business.

    Conclusion

    As your organization evaluates risk and exposure to cyber attacks, remember that there will always be new threats that can impact a business of any size.  When your operations and cybersecurity teams are at odds, no one wins. It’s incumbent upon leadership to foster the right balance of priorities, digital solutions, and team collaboration.

About Us

Welcome to your expectations exceeded. Choice Consulting Associates is a full service IT solutions provider based in the Washington DC metropolitan area.  

Through innovation, we help organizations unleash the power of technology to bolster their success.   

Our Company

  • About Us
  • Our Services
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Recent Tweets

Great guide with everything you need to #staysecure while working from home. #cyberawareness #WorkFromHome https://t.co/8w9gYhBMma

@SANSInstitute has a great guide with everything you need to #staysecure while working from home. #cyberawareness… https://t.co/BClLiTgpyN

Follow Choice Consulting on Twitter

Get in Touch

137 National Plaza, Suite 300           National Harbor, Maryland 20745

(240) 273-3146

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.