Eight simple ways to get innovative IT right and dodge the pitfalls of tech's bleeding edge

Tips from those in the know...

...persuade the laggards to make the jump, she said.

"If you are the only one of your team of colleagues who is not using it, all of a sudden you become the person that's behind or the outsider who's not communicating on the same level with the rest of their colleagues - that's not a comfortable place for anybody to be."

6. Make sure you can migrate

Switching to a new technology can be a major technical headache - particularly if there is limited compatibility between your new system and legacy IT.


Make sure you've done your homework before you make the switch to a new systemPhoto: Shutterstock

According to Quocirca's Longbottom, organisations need to make sure they've done their homework on how to transfer information across existing infrastructure.

"During technology change, you're going to need to migrate from whatever you have going on now, and a lot of companies neglect that," he said.

"If you're running SAP and you're going to go to Microsoft ERP in the cloud you need to address what to do with all the data from before - breaking it out to cloud may not be as simple as you thought.

"Just switching things over and saying, 'Here's a bright new world, oh, but by the way, you won't have access to anything from before today' can be a killer."

7. Don't oversell

Promise the Earth and what the technology actually delivers will inevitably look rather drab in comparison.

It's always better to be honest when selling the benefits of technology-enabled change to management, Birmingham City Council's Evans said - particularly when it comes to estimating the time it will take to achieve the project's goals and the inevitable early disruption.

"You've got to be careful not to overpromise. Historically, there's been a tendency to oversell the benefits in the business case and then under-deliver afterwards," he said.

"You've also got to be quite open, particularly with senior management, about the fact there will be teething problems. I've never put a major system live without teething problems - you've got to be upfront about that and say, 'This is what will likely happen and this is what we're going to do about it'," Evans added.

8. Be in it for the long haul

Introducing an innovative technology to the workplace isn't as simple as hitting a switch and putting a new system live.

Organisations need to be prepared to commit time and resources to implementing new technologies long after the go-live date.

"You've got to make sure everyone on the project team understands that the project doesn't end on the go-live date, the project ends when you're satisfied with the product," Evans said.

"In many cases, the go-live date will be the start of a long process of getting people familiar with the system, but also getting them compliant with the new processes enabled by the system."

Evans said it can take years to get staff to adopt the new working practices that technologies make possible, which can be a crucial step to realising benefits from technology-enabled change.

"On the back-office systems, your efficiency comes from people following the same process right across the organisation," he said.

"You've got to stop the different ways of working popping up all over the organisation because they are really, really expensive."

Finally, it is important not to forget one of the most important steps when implementing new technology: measuring whether it has lived up to expectations.

"Most of the benefits are likely to come after the system has gone live, and when your programme team is likely to have been wound down," Evans said.

"You will have to have an ongoing process after the end of the project to make sure you get the benefits you said you would get in your business case."