Digital Transformation

The Biggest Barriers to Technology Adoption In Business

Technology adoption is not easy and there exist barriers in every company to tech success. What are these barriers and what can be done?

Blog Post

6 minutes

Dec 17, 2021

Why do we find a lack of technology in some businesses, what are the barriers to adoption, and why should organizations that haven’t implemented digital strategies be concerned?

When it comes to technology adoption and digital transformation, there are very few organizations that don’t have some kind of plan in place, no matter how small.

There are, however, many for whom the barriers to adoption provide such serious issues that initiatives either fall short of expectations or fail outright, often resulting in stopping the project entirely and reverting to the solutions used previously.

At Impact, we know the benefits that pursuing a quality digital transformation (DX) can bring, having overseen thousands of client initiatives and going through transformation ourselves.

Data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result.

It’s the benefits of DX that businesses want to realize—and are essential in today’s environment—that should not be given up on.

In today’s blog, we’re going to talk about some of the biggest barriers to technology adoption and how you can avoid them to ensure success in your DX plans.

Attitudes Towards Technology Adoption & DX

Despite the difficulties that are often run into during the process of transformation, organizations are keen to adopt technology as a means to keep pace with competitors and maintain their growth.

This is particularly the case with digital marketing, digital workforces, and utilizing tech to streamline business processes—especially as far as automation goes.

What does any of this mean? Well, to help put it in perspective, it’s been found that an average SMB of 100 employees could lose out on $500K a year just from communications barriers and latency issues alone.

It’s important for businesses today that stakeholders—be it employees or customers—have access to the information they need whenever they need it.

It’s stats like these that are driving decision makers towards digital transformation, and it should come as little surprise that 41% of organizations have digital strategies that are enterprise-wide, encompassing every aspect of their operations.

77% of CEOs reported that the pandemic sped up their companies’ digital transformation plans.

State of Adoption 

So, the incentive is there and so too is the will, but does the current state of affairs reflect this in reality?

The answer to this is yes and no.

Yes, because there has been a very clear uptick in technology implementation in recent years; even more so since the pandemic and particularly with regards to cybersecurity. There is also a lot of available marketing technology for adoption by small businesses.

56% of executives believe digital improvements have already garnered them higher profit margins. 

No, because though many companies have adopted technologies to ensure they can survive a major disruption like a future work-from-home order, there is still a lot of work to do.

For example, consider some of the basic needs organizations have had to address over the course of 2020 and 2021—unified collaboration; cybersecurity; remote monitoring —all these things have been big areas of focus.

Lack of Technology In Business Where It Matters 

But there are many aspects to digital transformation that are even more beneficial not being adopted, often as a result of barriers.

Automation, analytics, effectively leveraging big data—all of these aspects of technology are currently underutilized by businesses as a whole.

To get a sense of where adoption of these more complex (but equally important) technologies stands, take a look at these stats:

  • 87%of businesses were classified as having low business intelligence (BI) and analytics maturity.
  • 27%of businesses in 2020 consider their work environment to be “data-driven”.
  • 73% cite big data management as an ongoing challenge for their operations.
  • 54%of all enterprises say cloud business intelligence is either critical or very important to their ongoing and future initiatives.
  • 70%of business leaders agree that analytics has changed their respective industries in at least a moderate way. 

3 Crucial Tips for Avoiding Technology Adoption Failure

With all this in mind, if there is a lack of technology in business, it’s vital for organizations to know how to effectively adopt technology so that their initiatives do not fail.

When you’re planning your strategy for digital transformation, keep in mind these key tips so that you have the best chance of success in your projects.

Involve buy-in from all levels

Any decision maker knows that disrupting a workplace with new technology can be difficult, particularly if it involves solutions that are frequently used by employees.

It’s often the case that employees experience this disruption upon the introduction of new strategies or technologies designed to make management and business operations more efficient, but without buy-in this can be infinitely more challenging.

For instance, whereas leadership may see the introduction of automation into core business functions as a pragmatic way to save time and money, employees who were previously tasked with these roles may feel replaced, threatened with obsolescence, or lacking a direction.

In addition, organizational restructuring may cause employees who are moved to another position to feel indignant, confused, or wondering what was wrong with the previous structure.

Because of this, it’s essential that buy-in is sought from every stakeholder who will be affected by the proposed changes to ensure disruptions are kept to a minimum.

Ownership and buy-in are crucial in tech adoption | Tech adoption stats | Barriers to technology adoption

Effectively communicate your vision

Only about 36% of CEOs communicate their vision sufficiently to their organization’s employees.

Great communication is extremely important and ties into having buy-in from all levels—the people who are going to be most affected by disruption must understand why this transformation is taking place and what the benefits are to them.

Talking about changes candidly and openly is a very important part of communicating your vision for the digital transformation.

Likewise, encourage communication not just from leadership to employee, but also from employee to leadership.

Establish cross-department communication to help receive as much feedback as you can—as you go through the natural teething process of adopting new tech, stakeholders act as a resources that can help inform the initiative and provide a more satisfactory outcome for everybody.

Plan for the long-term

It’s common for organizations to bite off more than they can chew with their projects.

In fact, it’s often the case that a lack of technology in business is directly caused by a failure to properly implement tech in a successful way—prompting frustration and subsequently disillusionment with the process of digital transformation.

Digital transformation is a marathon, not a sprint, and while many aspects of DX can be implemented in a six-month timeframe, DX as a whole is a long-term ambition lasting many years.

Remaining committed to a long-term strategy is almost always the most productive approach, and of the estimated 70% of businesses that experience failure in their initiatives, a poorly-timed, short-term strategy is typically to blame.

And if you think we’re just referring to SMBs, you’d be incorrect. Look no further than some of the biggest corporations in the country, like General Electric, Ford, and P&G for some high-profile examples of organizations attempting to carry out DX plans without long-term planning or an effective strategy for change. 

Because of this, many businesses start with small projects first, like migrating an email server, before moving onto larger initiatives like a company-wide ERP implementation

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