To avail of the benefits of technology, managers in organisations have to bring about changes that support technology.
“Modern technology is making life easier by cutting out middlemen like in online ticket reservations or newspapers with online editions. Bringing
in technological changes that involve working processes, culture, other technologies, reporting processes, etc, take time and are difficult to plan and implement. Getting the staff of an organisation to contribute ideas to the change works because they know the details of the local system better than IT implementers. If they make these changes in a way that supports the technology, it is likely to get a good return on their investment. If not, then the staff, users, and even customers are likely to reject the system, and the company will lose money,” explains David Boddy, honorary research fellow in management, University of Glasgow, UK.
“Many years ago, when computers came out of the ‘back office’ and into mainstream work for organisations, some companies did well with the new technologies such as electronic word-processing. However, others used the same technologies, but failed. This meant that the effects were not due to the technology alone, but to the way people managed the change,” adds Boddy.
Using modern technology can have a positive impact in the long run. According to Boddy, if companies use the ideas of end-users and their staff, it will lead to value for money spent on computer systems and software, and a better profit, than it would otherwise. The fieldwork involves building a body of evidence through interviewing many or those involved in a project about their experiences, what worked and what didn’t, comparing the findings and drawing lessons from it.
He adds, “Many organisations, especially in the public sector, find it hard to change; they often use new technology less effectively.”
Boddy is now concentrating on researching on how separate organisations in the public sector share data with each other to improve services and cut costs. “Although it is technically much easier to share data between agencies than it used to be, the progress in implementing such systems is slow. The present ways of working, especially in health and social care are unsustainable and new computer-based systems could help resolve this,” he says.