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Managing Changing Technology: Strategic and Tactical Lessons, Part One

(September 2006) posted on Tue Oct 03, 2006

Explore impact of new technology and the benefits of timing its implementation properly.

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By Mark A. Coudray

Implementing any new technology implies change. An organization must be fundamentally poised to be receptive, adaptive, and willing to make the necessary adjustments to current practice. This is a very big deal. Change-driven organizations are fundamentally different in their core thinking and behavior from companies that are primarily driven by standard operating procedures and practices. Rapid change is the opposite of the slow-moving, traditional organization. We have to think about what kind of companies we have today and how new technology will either fit in or create conflict.

The better we become at making change happen quickly and permanently, the stronger our position will be. I've been involved with many cutting-edge technologies over the years, so I speak with considerable experience here. Being on the bleeding edge is generally not the place to be—unless a company has is an extremely well-developed organization that thrives on innovation. Most commercial operations should not overextend themselves. Be patient and wait a year or two. Be vigilant by looking to the innovators and becoming keen observers of their experience.

Rarely are the innovators highly profitable. Rarely are they competition to a well-managed, traditional company with an established marketing approach to business. Innovators are seduced by newness. Organizational profit takes a second seat to making technology better. This may be one of the reasons the hot, new companies are usually run by young, inexperienced entrepreneurs who are willing to take big risks to make their dreams come to life. This makes them financially weak, and they often struggle before going out of business. It's not uncommon to see the "flash in the pan" or "shooting star" effect.

Strategic positioning is key to success. I can't tell you the best place to be. Every company is different and has a different capacity for change and adopting new ideas. Having a solid understanding and acceptance of where the company stands is critical to successful introduction and implementation of new technology.

In the second installment, we'll look at the specific tactical methods and tools that can be used to overcome the obstacles and inherent friction outlined here. Change is inevitable, and the more prepared and positioned for it we are, the greater the likelihood we will be successful in moving from the status quo to faster, better, cheaper finished products.

© 2005 Mark Coudray. Republication of this material in whole or in
part, electronically or in print, without the permission of the author
is forbidden.


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