One of the most heartbreaking things I see too often is the ineffective technology upgrade. How can an increase in functionality be ineffective? There’s one huge way...when you have someone who refuses to use the new technology.
We have all seen companies that pay a lot of money for computer upgrades. Management spends a lot of time and money on the computers, software, training, and troubleshooting. Everything seems to be going great until someone makes a simple request.
Susan (our intrepid accounting clerk) receives a request and comes clean. She doesn’t know what the new system can do. And she doesn’t know anyone in the company who can use the system to generate an accurate report. Everyone finds the new system to be annoying.
She (and everyone she knows) uses the new system a little but primarily they use Excel or some other tool not connected to the system to produce records. There are pockets of incomplete information in the private files of individuals all over the company.
Not only is the expensive system not being used, the system doesn’t have the data needed to produce any usable reports. The worst part of this is the company is vulnerable to the availability of several people because key data is in places known to no one but the person who put it in a “hidden place.”
This scenario is common in the audit context. Management thinks the new system is wonderful and they are confident that the audit will be fine because they have a wonderful computer upgrade. They find out during the audit that 1) staff isn’t using the system as intended; 2) the reports generated in the new system are not accurate because no, inaccurate or incomplete data is being uploaded; or 3) there are issues with the new system that have not been addressed because someone (sometimes only one person) uses an off-the books fix to address issues.
The upgrade wasn’t an improvement at all. The internal data of the company is inaccurate, incomplete, hard to track, and countless amounts of time and money have been spent on a system that is not being used. On top of that the company is going to pay someone to populate the system, correct errors, and pay any third parties, including tax authorities, amounts due because of the ineffective implementation.
The bottom line is you must be aware if you have any renegades in your organization, i.e. people who are resistant to and refuse to change. Have interim checks to be sure that all is well with the conversion. And force everyone to go on vacation at different times to ensure that the computer system and your company can function in everyone’s absence.
We have all listened to our mothers gripe at our dad about the “new” tv remote control. It goes something like this “Why is that everytime I learn how to use the remote control you buy something else?! One day I am going to get rid of it all!” We’ve all heard it and laughed out loud. Who truly needs a phone that functions as a remote control?
At home it can be amusing. At work it’s expensive. Watch your people and remember the upgrade is only as good as the people using it.
Keep it pushing!