​Why technology is so scary for three-quarters of Aussie businesses

And how to overcome these fears

Scared by Vik Nanda (Flickr)

Scared by Vik Nanda (Flickr)

A recent survey of Australian workers found 73 per cent believe their office is slow to adopt the latest technologies. While there are countless reasons for why this could be, I find that a hesitance to adjust to changing customer and employee expectations often boils down to three common themes: fear of change, cost of upgrading, and timing.

With the rapid pace of change in the technology industry, and the rapid pace at which businesses are adjusting to those changes, any hesitance will only put you behind more agile and forward-thinking competitors. To ensure you don’t get left behind, businesses and IT teams need to counter these hesitations in proactive ways.

Replace fear with knowledge

As the age-old saying goes, you’re only afraid of what you don’t know. Often, the latest and best technologies are not adopted because they are difficult to understand. And even more often, when they are brought on board, they are rarely used optimally because the range and complexity of functions are either unnecessary, or require further investments in budget and skills.

When assessing your technology options for bringing your business into the digital age, ensure the solution is best-of-breed in addressing your specific business need. You don’t need mediocre solutions that address multiple needs, and offer a range of ‘nice-to-haves.’

Additionally, only ever invest in technologies you genuinely understand and can use. Often, more complex technologies will require extensive training or external resources to actually put the solution to use, and will further drain your budget.

Turn cost into value

When reporting up to your senior management team, one of the first questions they are sure to ask will be around cost. The second will be about ROI. Your business case for adopting new technologies does not always have to be thorough or complex, but by covering these two points, the battle is half-way over.

IT teams can get bogged down in the numbers and detail when developing these internal reports. However, a commonly missed and critical aspect of winning over your budget-holder will be translating what costs and ROI mean in terms of true business value.

If not now, when?

Businesses held back by ‘timing’ to explore new technologies that could drive efficiency and productivity will find themselves taking steps backwards. Now more than ever, back-end technologies for your administration, financial planning and documentation, sales management, and marketing campaign monitoring are being developed specifically to free up your time and allow you to focus on your actual core areas of businesses.

Delaying the process of trying new things, particularly technology solutions that could speed up internal processes and eliminate unnecessary paperwork, only provides more opportunities for your competitors to get ahead.

As Australian businesses are rallying each other and being further encouraged by the local government to join the ‘ideas boom’ and digital sphere, three in four Australian businesses being slow to adopt the latest technologies is worrying. While the stats haven’t been clear on how the other one in four will perform financially, my guess is they’ll be miles ahead in their industry, if they aren’t already.

Ryan Corlett is Managing Director of webexpenses APAC

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Ryan Corlett

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