Thrive Through Technology Change

by | Feb 23, 2024 | Control & Safety Systems, Digital Transformation

Amy Thibault

Amy Thibault

Director Marketing, Brand & Communications, Zedi SaaS SCADA

challenges with lack of skilled workforceMost of us have experienced significant changes throughout our careers and life. Some of those changes have gone smoother and had significantly better outcomes than others – the single constant about life in our world today is change itself. This makes it crucial to understand all the pieces that are part of any change to have well aligned to make any change a great experience that provides positive outcomes and enables you and your organization to thrive.

It’s important to embrace and welcome change – don’t get your feet ‘stuck in the mud’ and fight change with every ounce of your being because (trust me on this one) you won’t win. You’ll end up on the losing side of the change battle, and I can promise it will negatively impact your health, happiness, relationships, and most certainly your career, which you’ve worked so hard for through the years.

Or you’re early in your career – resisting change at any level of your career can kick you down the ladder rungs faster than you ever thought possible. Either way, all that hard work can slip away in moments if, when faced with a change, you don’t step up to the challenge, thoughtfully approach it with an open heart and mind, and are ready to embrace it.

But I get it – change itself can be head-spinning, and embracing any change may be one of the most challenging career or life lessons you have ever learned. So, how do you get it right?

What can initially feel like a mountain is usually just a tiny molehill (in hindsight), but it is also very manageable if you set yourself and your staff up well to succeed. I’m going to focus on technology changes. Still, you can easily apply these tips to almost any change in any other part of your career or life – it’s based on the promise of understanding your goal line, how to communicate change, and how to effectively thrive and be better off and happier in the long run.

Sounds easier said (or written) than done – remember, it’s a process, and you should figure out what works best for you. These are just some guidelines to help you get started and determine your plan of action to set you up for wild success with any change you may face.

First action – Define the goal(s)

Several outcomes instantly race through your head – and can even paralyze you with inaction if you let it. You can start by writing it down to refer to through the entire change process to be sure you’re on track for scalable, long-term success.

Because we’re all human, our minds immediately jump to all the ‘what ifs’ and dangers of any change when it initially enters our mind – But, before you go down the rabbit hole of potential pitfalls and worries, identify all of your goals, you would like to reach for with this technology change. Could you identify each one with as much detail as you can stand to outline? Here are some examples of what to outline and focus on:

  • Why do you want to accomplish these goals? How are they essential to the organization, your staff, and your return?
  • Who and what will these goals impact – your production? Your people? Your profits? Your business sustainability? Safety risk?
  • Are some shorter-term, more immediate goals, and others geared toward longer-term goals? Separate them to help you identify each targeted group.

Write down everything you would like to achieve with this change; examples could be something like the ability to easily see data trends to operate by exception, analytics and trends to identify better asset maintenance scheduling, and maybe you have a gap of skilled people on board – so you’re trying to do more work with fewer people, which leads to you would like to gain a minimum of 15% return each month with an easier pathway for faster growth (maybe you have your eye on making an acquisition in the coming months).

Whatever your goals are for wanting to implement the technology change, make them really clear and answer all your own goals with the ‘why’ behind each of them. If you aren’t sure of your ‘why,’ then you may need to reassess the goal and prioritize the importance of striving to attain it.

Second action – Identify your concerns

Let’s say you’ve been looking to upgrade your facility’s monitoring and data reporting abilities but are concerned about the complexity and expense and that you’ll have to extensively revamp or even replace your existing system to improve or expand it. You’re also very concerned about what this type of technology change will do to your people, safety risk, day-to-day business operations, speed to market, and, of course, your bottom line.

Organize your concerns into three main buckets. What part of the change or outcome are each of these concerns most likely to impact? People, process, or outcome should be your three main buckets to put each concern under and how it relates to the function of your concern.

Let’s say you’re worried that your people may not accept the change with open arms, and you won’t get them to fully utilize this new feature, addition, or process – a tag that is ‘People.’ Or maybe you’re concerned you don’t have the internal resources available to take on a project this big, and it will add extra stress and fatigue to your already overworked staff.

Next up, for the second bucket – name it ‘Process.’ This is where you add concerns like this project could consume more of your resource time than is available or desirable. Or how are you supposed to know what hardware you need at each location and who will put it there and make it work? What about the connectivity issues – you already know most cell phones can’t get service at your locations, so how will all that work, and who will figure it out?

The third and final bucket should be titled ‘Outcome’ – Another concern you may have is that you’re worried that after going through all the hoops, it won’t make a strong enough positive impact on your return or bottom line; this is an outcome-based concern. Another outcome concern would be something like, after all the time and money invested in this technology change, you don’t see a difference in the data you look at most days, and you think it was worth only some of the hassle.

Once you have all your concerns written out and correctly tagged with People, Process, or Outcome, could you start a list of action items to help ease these potential pain points? Some key points to remember as highlights to include are in the examples below.

Communication is always key.

Walk all key stakeholders and employees about the change and how it will impact each person (or not), what it may mean to their daily work and goals, and make sure everyone’s questions get answered. In this initial meeting, it will also be important to explain the ‘why’ behind this project – and talk about the positive outcomes you expect it to deliver.

It’s essential to also set up a cadence of time with the key stakeholders as the project begins and through the process to keep the lines of communication open and everyone on the same page – all working toward the success of the technology and the positive outcomes it will provide. Working through your lists of People, Processes, and Outcomes in great detail with this person or people will be necessary. So, they understand this isn’t something you’ve taken lightly – and what do they expect from you to successfully implement it?

Define success

Setting clear expectations of each person on your staff who will be part of the change will help clarify internally who is doing what and help you discover any potential gaps that still need to be assigned.

The great thing is that when it comes to technology changes, like adopting cloud-native SaaS SCADA that will replace or supplement your in-house SCADA, or gaining a ton of more detailed data from your remotely located production assets or even just adding a layer of back-up to your on-premise systems Emerson’s Zedi experts can help you every step of the way!

Every potential concern you may have outlined by doing the exercise above about People, Processes, and Outcomes is nothing new to us, and we can help you get everything taken care of quickly and easily.

We’ve done this many, many thousands of times before, and have knowledgeable experts ready to help – from Project Management that can help keep your staff on time and on budget to complete training for every user and full 24/7 support and trusted partners to get things in the field set up; we’re with you to help you thrive with your technology change and demonstrate to you how the outcome is worth every moment of concern you may have had at the beginning.

Quickly leading through technology change

No one ever said change was easy – but it doesn’t have to be painful, stressful, or a failed lesson learned either. When you start with a reputable, trusted partner like Emerson, you know you’re well on your way to positive outcomes and using technology as you’ve always dreamed about to its fullest abilities.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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