The explosion of innovative technologies is transforming the ways in which defense and federal agencies fulfill their missions. When implemented successfully, technology can catalyze broader digital transformation and help agencies better serve citizens. But, successful implementation is more challenging than it looks. According to a poll conducted by Government Business Council, over 75% of respondents say their organization’s technology initiatives either take more time than expected, or are never completed at all. The proliferation and interconnectedness of today’s technologies — as well as the speed with which they become obsolete — have rendered the traditional, narrowly-focused plug-and-play approach to technology adoption woefully inadequate.
To maximize the value of technology investments, government and military organizations must expand the scope of their initiatives and approach technology adoption in a more holistic and continuous manner, with ample consideration given not only to the technology itself, but to the people, processes, and broader digital ecosystem that all must be ‘ready’ for the new technology in order to support it.
Successfully managing the integration and collaboration between all of these disparate teams and functions requires a deliberately planned agenda that clearly spells out how to achieve that goal. Among the many components of such a roadmap are implementing defined governance models that guide decision-making, clearly identifying who has responsibility for making decisions at key points specified in the technology adoption agenda, and assessing the readiness of the broader digital ecosystem to support smooth tech adoption.
Ensuring the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders and managing all of these moving parts may seem daunting. One solution organizations are beginning to consider is an entirely new concept: the adoption architect.
Similar to a building’s architect, the adoption architect spans design, planning, and construction and provides agencies with the 300-foot view of their challenges and opportunities and coordinates all technical, change management, and communications aspects of the transformation. Another equally important responsibility of the adoption architect is to assess an organization’s overall culture and receptiveness to change. People do not tend to adopt new technology just because it is there. The adoption architect, therefore, delivers an understanding of where the organization sits on the spectrum of adoption maturity and helps identify what changes are needed to create an environment more conducive to rapid and effective technology adoption.
Given the rapid pace of technological change, the need to address organizational culture cannot be overstated. When it comes to technology, the only constant is change, making it imperative that organizations focus on changing their culture to be more adaptable and agile, rather than maintain highly customized platforms that need to be reconfigured for every advance.
Technology alone does not bring organizations value or help them achieve mission objectives. To active the transformational power of technology, organizations must pair it with deliberate planning, a structured agenda, and an adoption architect ready to steer the process.
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