Sunday, 12th July 2020

People need to be at the centre of IT decisions

Study finds that employees are being overlooked when businesses adopt new technology.

Lenovo has unveiled a new study which found that organisations are placing business and shareholder goals above employee needs when adopting new technologies. The research, conducted among 1,000 IT managers across EMEA, found that just 6% of IT managers consider users as their top priority when making technology investments. This approach to IT adoption is ultimately leading to productivity being stifled.

When businesses implement new technologies without considering the human impact, many employees become overwhelmed due to the complexity and pace of change, with 47% of IT managers reporting that users struggle to embrace new software.

With all industries having to adapt to the ‘next normal’ and take stock of their responsibility – to employees, to the environment and to the wider world – Lenovo encourages businesses to place the needs of their people at the heart of IT decisions.

Untapped potential

There is an understandable desire for businesses to embrace transformational technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things, as soon as possible. The benefits these promise – innovation, improved productivity, reducing cost and greater customer experience most importantly – are tantalising for any organisation, but their true potential is completely untapped if adoption is purely led by business goals.

While successfully implemented technology should act as an enabler for employees and businesses to achieve greater things, a poor strategy can see technology become an inhibitor – hampering users whose needs have not been carefully considered and catered for. Almost half (48%) of respondents reported a negative outcome where technology implementations have actively inhibited their teams’ ability to operate.

Businesses need to focus on people, offering everything from comprehensive training, to change management, while ensuring leadership KPIs, robust policy & strategy and thorough rollout analyses are aligned with a people-first ethos. Businesses should also ask people-centric questions during any adoption process – is this technology intuitive, will it solve rather than create challenges for employees, will users get a good experience. By taking these steps, businesses can realise the benefits new tools promise, seeing greater productivity and driving innovation. In fact, 52% of IT managers are optimistic about emerging tech’s ability to deliver improved productivity.

However, with 21% of users reporting new technology has actually slowed down processes, it is imperative for businesses to embrace the right technology at the right time. It’s also vitally important businesses consider everyone in the organisation – from those who use it every day, to the IT teams implementing it, to the boardroom decision makers.

The goal should be to adopt smarter technology that is always connected, seamless, agile, flexible, easy to collaborate, adaptive to needs, reliable, high performance and with enhanced security and privacy. Not only that, but it should be suited to the needs of everyone in an organisation.

Responsible business in the ‘next normal’

Organisations are currently re-evaluating how they operate in order to thrive in the next normal. Being a responsible business must now be a priority – placing human impact on the same level as achieving business goals. With 62% of IT managers reporting their investment decisions are entirely business-centric, it will require a fundamental mindset shift for many businesses.

However, as flexible working policies are embraced in order to provide more support to employees during the COVID-19 outbreak, a people-first approach is beginning to emerge, with 70% of respondents seeing more emphasis within their organisation on responsible business.

Giovanni Di Filippo, President of Lenovo’s Data Center Group, EMEA, says: “Times are changing rapidly, not only for businesses, but the technology industry as a whole. Stripped of office walls, we are seeing organisations place greater emphasis on the wellbeing of their employees, and it’s heartening to see this shift in priorities from being all about the bottom line. But the study shows that this is only the beginning.”

“If there is a change of heart and mind within the industry, taking a people-first approach to IT adoption, we will see positive change for both organisations and wider society. Happier employees, greater productivity and a faster pace of innovation – these are the benefits of placing people at the centre of IT decisions.”

Time to think human

IT vendors whose portfolio can empower businesses to think human, will help employees embrace change and enable them to be more productive. Such vendors do this by having an open mindset in working with other organisations, thinking about customer outcomes, not just adoption, reducing the burden on customers as well as the IT department and by helping put usability and experience first.

Giovanni Di Filippo says, “For too long IT decisions have placed pure cost above a business’s most valuable asset: people. It’s people that change the world, and we know that data and technology cannot be transformative without humans bringing it to life and giving it purpose.”

“We want businesses to think human by investing in ‘Smarter Technology for All’. As for vendors – it’s time to think beyond what they make and consider who they make it for. If people are put first, we know the benefits and desired company outcomes will be great.”

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