Trucks at Work

Lack of buy-in torpedoing IT plans

A new survey of chief information officers (CIOs) by mobile app provider POP pins much of the blame for failed information technology (IT) initiatives on a perhaps not-so-unusual cause: lack of employee “buy-in.”

I say “not-so-unusual” because I think any trucking company would agree that one of the central struggles when replacing older technology with newer systems – be they computers or trucks – is getting front-line workers to accept such a switch.

According to POP’s survey, 52% of the CIOs polled said technology initiatives typically fail due to "slow" or "reluctant" adoption from end users. Only 23% cited budgetary issues and 17% cited lack of buy-in from senior management. Less than 8% said technology initiatives fail due to inadequate technology.

The company added that an “alarming” 78% of respondents said it takes employees some time to "come up the learning curve" on embracing new technologies and ideas, with only 18% saying that employees understand new initiatives completely and are "in lockstep" with senior management.

Notably, POP’s survey found that most companies lack the resources to collect employee feedback and respond to it, with only 25% of those polled noting they have a process in place that enables executives to take immediate action to provide employees with the tools they need to do their jobs. Now, some 57% said they have only "some" processes in place but "could be more nimble in this area," while another 18% say they have "limited resources" to react to employee suggestions in a timely manner.

Similarly, 46% of respondents said it was a "top priority" to take the pulse of employees on ways to improve productivity and make their jobs more efficient.  Yet “an astonishing” 50% of respondents said they listen to employee concerns only when they arise and then face challenges addressing their concerns, added  Brian Anderson, POP’s chief marketing officer.

"The failure rate of technology initiatives continues to intensify, often thwarted by a lack of user adoption rather than on the merits of the technology," he explained in a statement. "C-level executives need to address the growing problem of employee engagement as a core component to ensure the success of technology initiatives."

POP’s poll also found that many companies are using what it calls “outdated” ways to gather feedback and promote employee “engagement” in the process:

  • To solve a significant business problem, 42% of respondents would physically "get everyone together and brainstorm" to generate possible solutions. Only 21% would use social collaboration and 21% would use a traditional survey. Only 10% would use an internal solution and 7% admit they don't know where to start.
  • A big slice of respondents (42%) said they prefer to discuss new ideas in regular in-office meetings, while 36% do so by email and 18% rely on “town hall” style meetings. Less than 3% of executives have the ability to solicit feedback from individual employees, according to POP’s poll.
  • Some 58% of respondents said that although they have an open line of communication among disparate departments, they have no solid process in place to regularly share ideas, while 22% said they are "not effective" communicating with other departments. Only 21% said they have a solid process in place to develop new ideas from employees in different locations.
  • Another 51% said that mobile technologies have created an important communication channel that they leverage for feedback and alignment, while 26% of respondents said they have not figured out how to effectively use mobile technology for alignment and ideation. On the plus side, though, some 22% said mobile technologies have significantly improved collaboration.
  • Only 4% of companies surveyed said they always rely on “crowdsourcing” to collect information and make decisions. While 49% said they have had some experience with crowdsourcing, but it's not a regular part of their culture. Nearly half (48%) never use crowdsourcing techniques.

Something to think about as trucking is only going only face more IT issues down the road.

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