Barriers To Small Business Technology Adoption
Speed is life in the business world. That’s true of most every aspect of your business, but it’s especially true of technology, and the speed with which you adopt technological innovations critical to your business’ success.
One of the challenges, of course, is to be able to properly identify the technologies that are critical to your success. Once you’ve done that, the next crucial step is to actually proceed with implementation. Identifying mission-critical technologies is a relatively simple exercise. Actually weaving them your corporate architecture is another matter entirely. The following are the primary challenges small or medium-sized businesses face in terms of implementing new technologies.
Lack of Funds
It probably comes as no great surprise to anyone, but the number one challenge in terms of getting new technology implemented is a lack of funds. Small business owners constantly feel the effects of too few dollars chasing too many demands. With so many conflicting demands for limited resources, important new technology rollouts often get delayed. It’s understandable, but also unfortunate, as these technologies can give the company a powerful strategic advantage.
Another big reason for delaying new implementation? Having to offer legacy support for a whole raft of older technologies still in use by the company. This is a familiar story. Backwards compatibility is something that many companies strive for but few achieve in practice. Pair that tendency with the fact that companies are inclined to use existing technologies well past their normal expiration dates and you get a perfect storm for support staff. One of the immense challenges faced by IT in this environment is balancing the need to support a broad (and ever-growing) range of older technologies, with new implementations. Of course, the existing technologies take priority, because if they stop working for some reason, then the business of your business grinds to a halt. That can leave very little time for new implementations.
Another big show-stopper here is the fear of workplace disruption. Again, this speaks to seeing your business grinding to a halt should something go wrong with the implementation. Everything always looks great on paper, but Murphy’s Law very much applies here, and the unexpected will happen. Planning for these various eventualities can slow implementation to a crawl. Depending on the criticality of the system to be upgraded, it may cause your IT staff to indefinitely delay implementation, no matter how much more productive the project could make your company. In essence then, here, we’re talking about short term risk to operations versus longer term productivity gains. That can be a very fine line to walk.
Another form you’ll see this take is in user pushback. Here, your employees will often come near to open rebellion against a new technology you’re interested in deploying. They don’t want to take time out of their busy day to learn the new technology and deal with the inevitable outages when new tech is rolled out. Most often, this is because management holds them to the same standards, regardless of what else is going on inside the company. That’s fixable, but requires coordination among your management team to help smooth the process. Even so, it’s not a step many businesses take.
There are a great number of pitfalls and dangers to implementing new tech. The above are three of the more common ones, but of course, there are others. Collectively, they can make it difficult for a small to medium-sized business commit to rolling out new technology, even if it would be of benefit to them, longer term.