Technology adoption is a key factor for achieving business goals and maximizing value, but many organizations face challenges when introducing or upgrading technology. In a previous blog post, I identified four common barriers to adoption. In this post, I'll provide a practical guide to overcome these barriers.
Before we dive in, let's quickly revisit the common barriers discussed in my previous post:
- Technological: The challenge of integrating new technology with existing systems, processes and infrastructure, which may require significant changes and investments
- Financial: The cost of acquiring, implementing and maintaining new technology, as well as the potential impact on the organization's financial performance
- Organizational: The need to align the adoption of new technology with the organization's culture, processes and goals and to manage the change process effectively
- Psychological: The resistance and reluctance of the people involved in using or supporting the new technology
Figure 1: The four barriers of technology adoption
Let's look at each barrier in more detail and suggest some practical solutions for overcoming them.
Consider the following solutions to overcome technological barriers:
1. Adopt a hybrid cloud approach
To reduce technical complexity and compatibility issues, adopting a hybrid cloud approach allows for greater flexibility, scalability and interoperability of different cloud environments. Hybrid cloud can also enable faster innovation and delivery of applications and services and improve IT security and compliance.
Red Hat offers a comprehensive portfolio of hybrid cloud solutions, including Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes. These solutions can help organizations build, deploy and manage applications across multiple clouds in a more seamless manner.
2. Open source as innovation driver
Leveraging open source software can reduce the cost and risk of adopting new technology by providing access to a large community of developers, testers and users who can contribute to the quality and innovation of the software. Red Hat is a leading provider of open source solutions for cloud computing, application platforms, operating systems and more, enabling our customers to benefit from open innovation but with enterprise-grade capabilities. This includes technical support, hardened code, a substantial partner ecosystem and much more. The Red Hat approach provides for accelerated innovation while retaining a commitment to key enterprise computing characteristics..
3. Use automation and self services to enhance the user experience
Self-service platforms can reduce complexity and provide a standardized, automated and more reliable infrastructure for the new technology. Adopt best practices such as platform engineering, which aims to improve developer experience and productivity by providing self-service capabilities with automated infrastructure operations.
4. Use AI
Using AI capabilities within the platform and with dev teams can help automate and optimize the monitoring, analysis and remediation of IT issues. AI can also help teams scale DevSecOps practices, improve reliability and resilience and reduce operational costs.
5. Invest in training
Upskill and reskill your existing workforce to provide a path for acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge for the new technology. A best practice is to build a training and upskilling path that starts with a skills assessment. This assessment helps to map out all relevant skills and identify training needs. If you're interested in a comprehensive skills assessment, you can check out Red Hat's Skills Assessment.
Figure 2: Open hybrid cloud
The financial barrier refers to the economic challenges that arise when investing in or upgrading a new technology. One of the most effective ways to overcome the financial barrier is to adopt financial best practices for managing new technology initiatives.
Some practical solutions to overcome the financial barrier include:
1. Explore alternative models
Cloud-based solutions reduce the upfront cost and risk of investing in a new technology by offering consumption-based billing, self-service deployment, integration with other cloud-native services and joint support from technology providers such as Red Hat and the cloud provider. A cloud-based solution also enables faster time to market (TTM) by allowing organizations to more quickly build, deploy and scale applications without worrying about infrastructure management or maintenance.
2. Optimize CapEx and OpEx
Optimize your capital expenditure (CapEx) and operational expenditure (OpEx). CapEx refers to the upfront cost of acquiring or developing new technology assets, while OpEx refers to the ongoing cost of operating and maintaining them.
Optimizing your organization's CapEx and OpEx can help maximize the ROI and shorten the time to market of new technology. To minimize CapEx and OpEx, organizations can leverage cloud-based or subscription-based models that offer lower up-front costs, flexible pricing and predictable expenses.
3. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis
Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO). In order to reduce TCO and time to value (TTV), consider adopting automation, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can help improve the efficiency, performance and quality of your technology. Red Hat offers various models and tools that can help organizations optimize their technology investments, such as Red Hat Marketplace, Red Hat Insights and Red Hat Subscription Watch.
4. Consider workers' idle activity cost
Workers' idle activity cost (WIAC) refers to the cost of wasted time or resources when your workers are not performing value-added tasks due to technical issues or inefficiencies. You can reduce WIAC by automating repetitive tasks, eliminating bottlenecks and minimizing rework in your delivery pipeline. As a good practice, building a collaborative technology adoption core team will help mitigate the inefficiencies and maximize the value delivered by the teams. (I will expand on this concept in an upcoming post.)
5. Improve your business case with outcome-based metrics
Clearly articulate the technology's ongoing value proposition and expected outcomes, and ensure that they are supported by key software delivery, flow or other business metrics. By employing outcome-based metrics, you can effectively track the value being delivered, thereby substantiating further investment and optimization efforts. Leverage feedback from customers and users to fine-tune the technology, starting with a Minimum Viable Platform (MVP) as a baseline for continuous improvement.
Overcoming organizational barriers is crucial for successful technology adoption. These barriers often stem from cultural or structural issues, such as risk aversion or lack of stakeholder alignment. To navigate these, consider these strategies:
1. Establish strategic alignment
Establish and communicate a clear vision that aligns with organizational goals and explains how the technology will support that vision. Ensure all stakeholders, from employees to customers, understand it.
2. Employ a change management strategy
Use change management frameworks and techniques that can help communicate the benefits and value proposition of the new technology, and provide feedback mechanisms, incentives and recognition for those who adopt it. Some examples of change management frameworks are ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) and Kotter's 8-Step Change Model.
3. Create a collaborative adoption core team
Create a cross-functional adoption core team that is responsible for driving the adoption of the new technology across the organization. The collaborative adoption core team can act as a bridge between the technology provider (such as Red Hat) and the technology users (such as developers, operators, managers and end users), as well as provide guidance, support and training on how to use the technology effectively. The collaborative adoption core team should also monitor and measure the adoption progress and impact using key metrics.
4. Focus on collaboration and scalability
Adopt integrated team topologies and platform engineering to enhance collaboration and scalability. This can be achieved by building platform teams to provide self-service capabilities. Stream-aligned teams ensure customer value delivery, and specialized teams (complicated-subsystem teams) can handle specialized tasks while enablement teams offer mentorship and guidance. Pair this with platform engineering to standardize tools and reduce developer complexity to foster a culture of continuous learning and modern development.
5. Take a customer-centric approach
Shift to a customer-centric mindset that focuses on delivering value to customers rather than completing projects or tasks. Involve users and customers in design and feedback loops in order to meet their needs more effectively.
6. Build a culture of innovation
Foster a culture of innovation and learning that encourages experimentation, feedback, and continuous improvement. Cultivate an environment that encourages experimentation and views failures as learning opportunities, not setbacks.
Psychological barriers, including cognitive and emotional factors, can significantly impact individual willingness to adopt new technology. The following approaches can mitigate these barriers:
1. Tailor your training
Provide adequate training and education on the new technology's features, benefits and usage. Use various methods and formats to cater to different learning styles and preferences, such as online courses, workshops, webinars, videos or podcasts.
2. Involve individuals early
Involve individuals in the new technology adoption process from the early stages. Solicit their input and feedback on the design, development, testing and deployment of the new technology. Recognize their contributions and celebrate their achievements.
3. Offer continuous support
Provide ongoing support and guidance on the new technology's adoption. Address any questions or concerns promptly and empathetically. Share best practices and success stories from other individuals or organizations that have adopted the new technology.
4. Celebrate (small) wins
Celebrate short-term wins, reinforce positive behaviors and reduce fear or anxiety regarding failure, uncertainty or complexity associated with new technologies by providing clear expectations, guidance and support.
5. Beware of biases
Overcome resistance or skepticism due to cognitive biases, habits or preferences that favor the status quo by providing evidence and alternatives and anticipating and addressing potential risks and challenges.
By implementing these strategies, your organization can create a supportive environment that encourages individuals to embrace new technologies with confidence and enthusiasm.
In this article, I explored four common technology adoption barriers—technological, financial, organizational and psychological—and suggested some strategies for dealing with them based on what we have learned from our own experience and what Red Hat's customers are doing.
I also introduced the idea of a collaborative adoption core team: a cross-functional team that drives and supports technology adoption. I will provide more details on how to build a collaborative adoption core team in my next post—stay tuned.
- Succeeding with new technology: four barriers to overcome
- Red Hat Global Customer Tech Outlook 2022: Hybrid and multicloud strategies lead the way as funding priorities hold steady
- Skills gap proves a growing barrier for digital transformation initiatives
- What is SaaS?
- How DevOps is evolving into platform engineering
- Training skills assessment
About the author
As a global Adoption Practice Lead, Riadh is working with customers, partners and Red Hatters to identify barriers and build strategies for achieving business outcomes using open source technologies and practices.