7 steps for digital technology adoption to improve productivity

May 8, 2014 - Tags: Innovation Technology

This guest blog post is provided by Nurul (Sy) Symoom, Industrial Technology Advisor at the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program.

To be more competitive, Canadian firms must improve their lagging productivity. Management must take a leading role in accelerating digital technology adoption toward increasing productivity and profitability.

Take the holistic, 7-step roadmap below to increase your business productivity:

1: Scan your firm's operating environment

Include political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal (PESTEL) analysis. It will help you identify opportunities and threats arising from these factors, as well as your strength and weaknesses.  Once identified, reshape strategy or your business' capability and capacity to align with that environment.

2: Align corporate strategy with business environment

To improve enterprise productivity, you need a goal that is aligned with both a product market focus and with work activities so it will result in a unique value proposition for a targeted market segment. This strategy must be understood and valued by employees.

3: Benchmark to find productivity opportunities

Find out how others (internally and externally) do the same sorts of comparative things more productively. Identify possible changes and understand how they may impact your firm's strategies.  Decide if and how to incorporate any changes, then monitor and measure progress for results. 

4: Analyze organizational capabilities, capacity and gaps

Understand your firm's culture and take a holistic approach. The Diamond-E Framework (Crossan et al., 2008) is an excellent tool for analyzing the gaps and understanding the alignment of an organization's environment, strategy, management preferences, resources and organizational capabilities.

5: Identify key performance indicators that define the desired results

Key performance indicators can vary widely, even within the same sector. Well-defined key performance indicators provide evidence of impacts resulting from the change. To maximize productivity improvements from digital technology adoption, key performance indicators must improve as a result of the change.

6: Use a balanced scorecard to monitor key performance indicators and measure the improvements

A balanced scorecard uses a holistic approach by measuring an organization's four interconnected functions: customer, financial, internal business processes, learning and growth (Kaplan & Norton, 1996). Develop different layers of the scorecard for various organizational levels.

7: Adopt technology to enhance organizational capacity and monitor key performance indicators

To successfully maximize the efficiency of systems and processes, management must be committed to the technology's implementation; users must accept it in their daily work. 

Adopting digital technology in the absence of a holistic enterprise-wide approach will not maximize the improvements in a firm's productivity, nor will it have the best commercial impact.
To read the complete White Paper, visit this page on the National Research Council website.

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