Technology Implementation Paper: Management Recommendation ReportFantasci Productions is looking at upgrading technologically through the purchase of new hardware and software that will enhance the company's ability to meet customer needs. Many within the organization feel that these technological changes are necessary in order to keep the company competitive. Others feel that it is an unneeded expense. In order to determine need and implement the changes successfully, management is presenting the following recommendations about the project, the implementation, the related training, and the support strategies for the change.
Project PlansThe first step of the project is to determine the needs of the company to be able to provide for its customers. "Upgrading for the sake of upgrading is not a sound business strategy. However, continuing to use outdated technology could cost your business. Upgrading may advance your company's competitive position in the marketplace" (Kform, 2006, ÃÂ¶ 5). For this precise reason, the upgrade plans need to be closely examined for the usefulness to the company compared to the cost.
Everyone who will be affected by the upgrade needs to have some say in the project, including the technical team that will be installing the upgrade, the employees who will be utilizing the new program, and the customers whose service level will be affected by the new program. It is the recommendation of this team to start with customer surveys to determine what changes our clients desire out of the new program. Once this data has been examined to determine if the proposed software upgrades will meet the most desired changes of the clients, the technological team should be consulted to determine the feasibility of the new programs with our current hardware and the downtime that the company can expect during the installation. If the technological team confirms that the new software installation is feasible, the proposed changes should be presented to the staff that will be working with the new software for feedback. Due to the fact that these staff members work with the current technology everyday, consulting them may reveal some needed aspects that they company had not thought of. In addition, consulting the employees will help instill a feeling of empowerment among them and lessen resistance to learning the use of the new program. "Some people find it difficult to conceptualize - or envision - change on an organizational or even a departmental level" (Regan and O'Conner, 2002, p.364). By giving the employees a feeling of ownership in the project it will help them to take the time to recognize what the company wishes to accomplish and share in its vision.
The next consideration before finalizing the approval of the new program is the resources needed and confirm that the necessary funds and time are within the company's possible budget. "Although an enterprise wants to implement change, plans may have to be compromised, postponed, or scrapped because of insufficient resources" (Regan and O'Conner, 2002, p.366). If this were to occur, the loss of time and money for the company to that point can be devastating. Realistic and proper planning and budgeting for the project can assist in avoiding this problem and allow the program to reach completion.
Implementation PlansOnce the need for the new technology has been established, the company needs to begin work on the implementation plans. The first step of that process should be consultation of the technology team to confirm the resources needed for the product and to determine any down time on the primary system while the upgrade is being installed. If any downtime is predicted, the user group should be consulted to determine the effect it will have on the day-to-day business. If this consultation raises concerns that the downtime will have a large impact on the company, management should return to the technological group to brainstorm possible solutions such as overtime hours to implement upgrades after hours or installation in pieces instead of all at once. Once the implementation plan is finalized, all personnel using the system should be notified of the plan so that plans can be put in place to seamlessly continue the business' workflow. If there is any downtime involved, the employees must make the effort to not allow the clients to be aware of that. Even though the downtime is a result of an upgrade, which will benefit the client, downtime may still scare the client and make him or her think that the company's system is faulty.
The next part of the implementation needs to involve testing of the new program to make sure that everything functions as expected. This testing should be completed by all levels of the company; the technological team should test the functionality of the program with the existing hardware, and the user team should test the product usability and make sure that the program provides them with everything they need to service the client successfully.
Training PlansThe next step in the implementation program needs to involve the plans for training users on the use of the new program. It is the recommendation of this team that the training start with the team that has completed the testing on the program. Those individuals need to be familiar with the ins and outs of the new program in order to test it properly and completely. Once testing is complete and implementation installation has been completed, the testing team's knowledge can then be utilized to assist in the training of the rest of the company. The managers in each division need to prepare to allow time for staff to attend training classes and expect productivity to fall slightly until the staff is fully trained and comfortable with the new program. Management also needs to ensure that the learning styles and needs of each employee are taken into consideration so that all needed methods of training can be provided. It is inevitable that some of the staff will be able to learn the system just by attending a training class but others may need further reading materials and hands on training programs. It is suggested for the technological team to develop an online interactive program for the employees needing that hands on training so that they can experiment on that program without touching the live system until they have reached their comfort level of knowledge.
The proposed program may include aspects for client use via the Internet. If this portion of the program is implemented, training must also be supplied for the clients as well. To address this, training materials can be sent out the clients and all employees who deal directly with the client should be prepared to field questions and guide the clients through the usage of the new program. This makes the proper training of these employees even more important; if they are confident with the use of the new program, they can assist in boosting the client's confident transition to the new technology.
Support StrategiesTraining does not end with the initial instruction. Additional training needs be addressed as the need arises and as further upgrades to the program are implemented. The company must also arrange to incorporate the program training in the new employee training process and into the new client on-boarding as well. Existing employees should also receive periodic refresher training to keep them abreast of any nuances of the program that they may not utilize on a daily basis.
It is also inevitable that periodic issues will arise from the use of the new program. The technological team needs to form a support team whose focus it is to keep the program running smoothly and address questions and concerns from users, both internal and external. The function of addressing the questions of the external users, or clients, should be assigned to a team trained for their people skills as well as their knowledge. Depending on the needs determined by management, support teams may be developed on site or be available via phone and email for support purposes.
ConclusionIt is the determination of this team that, if all the above recommendations are followed, the new hardware and software being investigated will be a valuable addition to Fantasci Productions' business processes. The implementation of this new program will help Fantasci Productions to remain competitive in the market and help the company to continue to grow and prosper. However, the success of the program depends on the proper addressing and development of project plans, implementation plans, training, and support programs.
ReferencesKform Software. (2006). Implementing new technology. Retrieved February 10, 2007, from http://software.kform.com/news-section/latest/implementing-new-technology.html.
Regan, E. A. & O'Conner, B. N. (2002). End-User Information Systems: ImplementingIndividual and Work Group Technologies (second edition). Prentice-Hall, Inc. NewJersey: Upper Saddle River.