Are you assessing processes the way you always did?
The Substitution Myth
The idea that new technology can be introduced as a simple substitution of what was happening before and preserving the process and achieving improved results, is a costly oversimplification and perpetuates the substitution myth.
This is the reason that so many document assessments from vendors and manufacturers have failed to produce the results they promised. These assessments have ignored years of research that show technology and process change as an intervention into an ongoing way of doing business.
When you don’t get the ROI and results you expected
When a company is not getting the results expected from a technology implementation or a process change, we then conduct an assessment by using the S.M.A.R.T. Platform, and review the implementation and/or process change to identify where the breakdowns are. Our experience has shown:
- New technology or process changes alter what is already going on in the current everyday tasks and accomplishment of employees. In many cases, the initial efficiency is then affected by employee level-setting. This leads to a level-setting of the new practices that keeps the employees productivity (over a period of time) to what already exists, or an increase that was not presented when considering the ROI.
- New technology and processes alter the tasks of the employees involved. This equates to a modified situation based on a new set of conditions for the employee. This also results in a change in the desire to engage in the new process, which leads to the level-setting to the old way of doing business. This is why the removal of printers (listen to the Digital Document Architecture Assessment Podcast for more details) usually results in the re-introduction of desktops, while still paying for the more expensive copiers.
- Improvements designed to ease the burden on the employee reduce fatigue and simplify tasks, usually translates into a desire from management to demand more from the employee.
- Almost without exception, when we have looked beyond the initial contractual cost savings, technology does not meet the ROI presented in the proposal, or achieve the process improvements expected.
Learn 6 metrics your technology assessment must consider
While it is important to incorporate the task-artifact cycle, your assessment must go further by integrating cognitive and cooperative activities with the S.M.A.R.T. Platform, to allow the results of the assessment to assist in the design of technology and processes that will transform the very practices you are observing. The following six metrics are based on your integration of qualitative, quantitative, and observational data:
- identify and avoid the paths to failure
- document the how the technology and/or process change will affect human factors, collaboration, relatability and more, in a system design and/or process change
- give valuable insight into how the technological change shapes employee reaction adaptability, collaboration, and success
- highlight the potential inconsistencies the new technology or process change will cause between an employee’s perception and the actual ability to meet the employee’s goals
- ensure the completeness of training required meets the need for new expertise and job descriptions
- help identify existing and/or new tools that will be useful in light of the need for all change and transformation to be tailorable/adaptable
The breadth and speed of change limits the usefulness of traditional assessments. The interconnected dynamics of people, process and technology demands that leadership change its thinking regarding technology and process change. The investment of time, money and human resources in a technology implementation or process change, must take into consideration, the benefits for the employees performance and well-being. This means that all technology implementations and process changes must not be based solely on cost savings, profit and efficiency…it must include the mutual benefit of all the inter-connected departments and employees affected.
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