A Guide to Technology Enablement
Driving adoption for existing technology
In many cases when a business decides to introduce a new technology much of the focus is placed on implementation time schedules and conversion without enough attention to system adoption by staff members. New systems will only provide the desired outcome if people adopt it, if this fails to happen the technology often is not used to full capacity and is wasting time and money. Although it is important to have a team of experts to help with technology implementation, it is also just as important to have a plan in place to support and manage the people in the business who will be using the new technology.
To help drive the adoption of a system that has already been implemented by a business it will be important to identify areas of concern and the overall workflow of the systems. Whether this be systems that don’t currently talk to each other (potentially causing duplication of work) or lack of training of staff members, once these problems are identified a plan can be put in place to rectify and gain better buy-in from the teams; naturally as people understand how the technology will reduce their workload they will be more engaged.
Software providers will be experts within their own systems therefore are mainly responsible for building the technology as well as answering more technical questions and troubleshooting any software failures. As a firm, we are there to support the business through the whole software journey from selecting the systems that will work well for their business to implementation and ongoing support.
Gaining buy-in and achieving expected results
As mentioned previously, technology will only provide the desired outcome if staff are fully engaged and willing to adopt the new systems. It is therefore important to prepare the business for the upcoming changes in advance of the deployment date and address any potential challenges before they occur. As with any business, it is impossible to stop operations in order to remove older systems and implement something new, therefore we have found that phased deployment schedules can reduce the risk to the business and cause the least disruption to day-to-day work. With clear communication with staff and new processes introduced in manageable phases, adoption is maximised as a result.
It is important to recognise the processes in a business which are considered the pain-points i.e. the most cumbersome or time-consuming tasks and tackle these first in order to gain trust from employees. Moving forward, new integrations/technologies can be introduced with the overall goal of automation and the streamlining of processes. That said, it is also important to monitor the project throughout and revise timelines if necessary; keeping track of performance will be key to overall success.
Evaluating technology options
Before any technology is even considered the first thing to establish is the needs of the business and what the desired goal is, as well as any potential new business goals in the future. Going through with the client in-depth about the current inefficiencies within the business is a good starting point.
Once a goal is determined, it will be time to go to the market and evaluate the different solutions on offer; it is worth considering at least three different options. Certain factors will need to be considered when looking at options, including: –
As a firm we will guide a client through the decision process, however, they will be the best-placed person to make a final decision as they will be the expert in their business operations, therefore, are able to decide if ultimately the system will work for them.
Vendors can work closely with firms in order to help with the guidance process, adding additional expertise on their systems and answering many complex questions regarding functionality. It is also useful for vendors to offer free trials to potential clients as well as potentially joining the initial meetings in order to lead product demonstrations and discussions. Discussions can also include certain integrations to other existing systems in order to support the design of a set of integrated systems that collectively cover all the business’s operational and financial needs.
Ensuring investments pay off in the long-term
Technology will pay off in the long-term if it is utilised in its full capacity i.e. you make use of all the functionality which was the reasons you decided to invest in the technology in the first place. For example, if the business has decided to invest in a technology that is cloud-based rather than run off the server it may lead to a difference in the way employees can work.
Some examples of the pay-offs investing in new technology can have are listed below:
- Working remotely: Implementation of cloud-based systems means that data can be accessed from anywhere in the world and takes away the need for restrictive working conditions. This can lead to increased productivity and higher motivation of staff members in the business
- Staff engagement & efficiency: Making sure that staff are trained regularly on the technologies in the business ensures the full functionality is being utilised and allows them to give better advice to clients who may use similar systems
- Better relationships with customers: Having platforms that allow better interaction between customers allowing an increased level of customer service
Internal & external use of technology
Having a dedicated team whose expertise lies within the technology sector provides many benefits to us as an accountancy firm as it allows an expansion of the scope of potential clients. Having a suite of systems that clients will be able to use in their own business allows us to service clients who have their own in-house finance function and are looking to adopt a new system as well as clients who outsource this function to an accountancy firm entirely.
Being able to offer clients a range of different systems and apps means that we can offer services to clients which are scalable. Having a dedicated team that can assist with selecting the most appropriate systems that will service the client in the most efficient way results in firm growth as more clients can be serviced with fewer hours required.
Most businesses in present times are looking for Accountants who are in touch with the tech space and can provide advice on this. Therefore, introducing another arm to the business ‘Ecovis Online’; a dedicated cloud-based platform, has allowed us to provide this service and open up interesting conversations with existing clients regarding system implementations and migrations. It also allows us to reach out to potential clients who have already implemented systems but may not be getting the most out of these systems.
We also value having this resource within the firm as it means that internally we can service our clients using the most suitable technologies which enable us to work more efficiently. Since migrating most of our outsourcing clients to cloud-based applications and implementing additional apps such as document scanning software we have seen a larger increase in productivity of staff leading to better utilisation of time and profitability as well as providing a better service to our clients. We, therefore, believe that focusing on our own internal technology is just as important as being able to provide guidance to clients who are looking to implement their own systems.
A focus on technology in the firm has resulted in staff members having a stronger concept of the capabilities of the technologies meaning that not only are we able to provide our standard accountancy services, we also work to add value to the client’s overall business. With an offering that allows clients to access all their business functions in a personalised client portal, we aim to provide a seamless technological offering that differentiates us from other firms.