Disruptive Technology, Change Management, & Cloud

Harnessing the ability to learn fast and direct your energy into meaningful work will make you prosper in the information economy, no matter what industry you are in. Cloud technology gives a new way of outsourcing operations that transforms the way businesses work, and probably our whole economy.

23 August, 2021

Disruptive Technology and Technology-Driven Change Management

Organizations are constantly changing. When an organization initiates projects or strategies aimed at improving performance, optimizing workflow, unlocking new opportunities, or approaching new challenges – changes to processes, job functions, and structure are often required. Change isn’t easy: especially in long-established organizations, it doesn’t go without stress, confusion, frustration. The principles of change management help businesses prepare for change and equip them with everything they need to successfully implement change and sustain it.

One of the most common factors for organizational change these days is disruptive technology. Thanks to an acceleration in technological development, disruptive innovations significantly alter the way people work, shape new services while completely replacing older habits and systems. Hereby, implementing disruptive technology is a high-risk, and potentially high-reward initiative. The key takeaway from the change management theory is that organizations don’t change – people do. So how do you prepare individuals to adopt new IT functionality and deliver expected results in times of change?

In reality, some organizations will have to face technological change sooner or later. If you work in an industry that is constantly evolving, and new entrants spring up like mushrooms – the risk that you are replaced by a progressive company is high. Take for example a new entrant in your industry – they will be looking to adopt the latest technology for an immediate advantage against an established player. At the same time, those established companies will react to disruption much slower as they need to change a big part of their organization.

MIT Sloan Management Review – 2018
The size of the organization is not the only factor in how it will face technological disruption. While the ability to go through changes is what makes an organization resilient and sustainable – taking the risk is a question of leadership. Kane G. (2018) found that even if leaders anticipate disruption in their market, less than half are adequately preparing for change.

Taking change one step at a time, or incrementally, is a well-known strategy for managing change. And as it was found, change should be perceived as on-going rather than one-off – changing organizational culture at all levels is a first priority.

Here are some tips you can use when facing disruptive technological change as a hospitality business.

1 – Educate yourself first.

Show true leadership and make an informed decision before teaching your team a new solution. A passionate leader can achieve greater results: know not only why you’re doing it – know how to do it too.

2 – Dream and inspire.

“What if I fail?” should be replaced with “What if I succeed?”. Inspire your team by placing their minds in the future that you are trying to build. For example, you are introducing a kitchen display system when your chefs worked with paper notes all their careers. Help them realize how much time they will be able to save and how it will reflect on the quality of their work.

3 – Stay connected with your passion.

Find a way to make it fun, and don’t forget where you started. Innovating and creating is a road we take when we develop our interests in something bigger than ourselves. Avoid stress by taking everything one step at a time.

New Era of Business with Cloud

According to a recent survey, in response to the pandemic, the adoption of digital technologies has accelerated by several years – and many of these changes are here to stay (McKinsey, 2020). Customer interactions, as well as enterprise operations, are becoming widely digitized for the benefits of productivity, mobility, and cost-efficiency. The development of digital/digital enhanced offerings has never been as fast either, with the supply catching up with the demand and allowing for swift adaptation.

The speed at which we managed to transform the way we work has never been seen before. As a result, we see that a lot of new practices have made us more organized and mobile, which prompts a question: why didn’t we do this in the first place, pre-pandemic? Arguably, competition was the driving force behind the rapid digitization in the new reality of the crisis. Companies were doing their best either trying to stay afloat or to come out of the crisis even stronger. On the other hand, it only required a crisis to mobilize decision-makers to shift the barriers that were holding organizations back from implementing digitization. One of the “barriers” appeared to be consumer resistance (McKinsey, 2020), which is more prominent in B2B businesses than B2C. This possibly has to do with the fear of complexity that new technology might bring to the already comparatively more complex environment of B2B – which is the complete opposite of what technology is made to do.

So how to overcome this individual resistance to new technologies and finally make things work? In reality, technology won’t stop developing and neither should you if you are to stay and compete in your market. In an increasingly complex world, constant learning and re-learning should become your habit, as there is no sign that we will slow down any time soon.

An early Salesforce office circa 2000

The cloud computing trend became a real hit around the time when Salesforce began to be widely used at the start of the 2000s. At that time it was pretty straightforward: it was used to manage and store your records over the internet and available in an application view, instead of installing standalone computer platforms in the walls of each enterprise. To this day, it remains a broad concept that stretches across all levels and departments in the modern business world and keeps developing. Solutions that are available on the market are no longer limited to a handful of providers – you can choose from a plethora of solutions and tailor them to your specific business needs – for the lowest price ever.

Choosing a provider and solution is a responsible task, and it requires good knowledge of the organization’s process or at least the part of it that is going to use the technology. There are three most common types of cloud solutions: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). For each of these, how much of the service you manage yourself differ.

IaaS, as it implies in the name, provides you with the most freedom to manage your cloud. You get full access to cloud computing infrastructure, including servers, network, operating systems, and storage, through virtualization technology (BMC, 2019). Basically, you get all the capacities of a data center without having to physically maintain or manage all of it. Examples include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE). IaaS is often great for companies of all sizes that build their own applications and operating systems. IaaS offers great security, scalability, and performance for a much lower price compared to having your infrastructure on-premise. Eatcard, for example, uses AWS to provide its software and store all the data securely.

PaaS goes a step further by bringing the operating system, middleware, and runtime to the cloud. PaaS allows businesses to design and create applications that are built into the PaaS with special software components. Examples include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Google App Engine. PaaS is great for developers that want to use its framework to build customized applications. It is highly available, scalable, and requires much less coding.

SaaS is the most common option as it utilizes the internet to fully deliver the application to the client-side, mostly without any downloads required. Thanks to that, with SaaS you no longer need to have IT staff download and install applications on each computer. SaaS providers manage everything for you and often have a support service that all clients can make use of in case there are technical difficulties. The examples of SaaS are familiar to almost any knowledge worker: Google Workspace, Dropbox, SAP. The reason why SaaS is gaining so much popularity these days is that it provides you with excellent service and gets the job done without the need to hire and train additional staff. The fact that it’s so easy to use for everyone is a result of the work of developers, UI designers, business analysts, and so forth.

To conclude, the internet is continuing to bring us advantages and new possibilities to work more efficiently and focus closely on the business mission. Harnessing the ability to learn fast and direct your energy into meaningful work will make you prosper in the information economy, no matter what industry you are in. Cloud technology gives a new way of outsourcing operations that transforms how businesses work, and probably our whole economy.

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