08222018Blog

Defining—and Increasing—Tech’s Value

In last week’s blog, we explored the state of global cloud adoption—that it’s quickly growing, how Microsoft’s Office 365 is leading the pack, and how increased adoption doesn’t equate to greater value for organizations.

In this post, we examine the gap between adoption and value through the eyes of the business user—the challenges cloud adoption presents, and steps employees can take to ensure they get the most value out of the technology they rely on.

One of the most formidable challenges with any new technology implementation is culture change—organizations and employees must embrace the inevitable change, radically alter how they work, and do so at a pace that’s faster than it has ever been.

Employees often have little choice but to settle for “good enough”—they simply do not have enough time or cognitive capability to figure out how to best use new technology in their jobs. Often, they wing it out of necessity.1

But good enough will not enable employees to keep up. It will likely only widen the existing gap between tech usage and tech value. Instead, they need guidance and support from their organization—clear communication about the changes that are coming and how those changes will affect their jobs, plus a range of learning and development options. One-size-fits-all training is not enough—today’s employees need targeted, task-oriented training, and learning objectives that are based on an actual assessment of their proficiency levels and job responsibilities.

If your organization is facing the adoption vs. value challenge, here are four things you can do to avoid settling for “good enough”:

  1. Office 365 isn’t a collection of discrete apps—it’s an interoperable, interconnected system that’s designed to improve productivity. For that reason, it’s critical for employees to approach it as such. If you feel you aren’t getting value out of it, ask for guidance֫—from managers or colleagues—and ask if your organization provides one-on-one or customized training.
  2. Learn how the applications are meant to work together and try new approaches to accomplish your own tasks.
  3. Seek out best practices. Ask your colleagues how they have used the new technology to improve their productivity and share your own best practices.
  4. Meet your learning objectives and apply the knowledge immediately—by doing so, you increase the chance that you will retain the information.

As we noted last week, some experts say that the adoption vs. usage disparity is an indication of how much work is ahead for organizations to learn how to best use new technologies and change working behaviors. Employees play a part, too. By taking an active role, they can boost the value they get from new tech—for themselves, and for their organizations.

1. See Herbert A. Simon’s economic theory of “bounded rationality.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounded_rationality

Jen is an award-winning journalist who writes about workplace productivity and technology for Vitalyst. She believes in the power of using plain language, especially when writing about technology, and lists “achieving and enabling clarity” among her life goals.

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