In recent years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has gone from science fiction to a necessity. It has affected relatively every industry and every aspect of our lives from smart cars, connected airport systems, fleet management to location-based notifications, sophisticated security, and health-care systems. It is becoming less of a question whether or not companies should move to IoT adoption in their processes, but more of where and how it should be applied strategically. Since IoT is a system of interconnected devices and networks working together, the process of incorporating it into the preexisting processes of business organization is similar to that of any other form of innovation.
While transitioning to IoT adoption, it is important to keep all groups of stakeholders in mind. Although satisfied customers are generally the end goal, it can only be achieved once the employees working in the organization are on-board with the changes. This has proven to be quite a headache for managers trying to encourage IoT adoption and the changes it will bring. Needless to say, there are lessons to be learned.
Successful IoT adoption: Always explain why
Some of the world’s biggest corporations such as Intel or Google have innovative approaches embedded in their vision statements, and therefore introducing change does not present any problems. However, not all companies are innovation-driven IT giants, and so moving from traditional means of doing business to innovative systems of connected devices can take quite a bit of work and convincing.
In a now-famous TED talk, Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Employees also fall into this category, and it is crucial to explain the reasoning behind the changes that will affect how they go about their tasks. They should know: What benefits implementation of the changes will bring? How will it make their jobs easier? How will it positively affect the company? What long-term rewards can they expect?
Make sure your employees see how transitioning to integrated IoT systems will make their jobs more satisfying and processes more efficient. Explain that benefits it brings are worth the effort of adopting the IoT into the business. Only then will they will become less resistant and become agents of change themselves.
Make it understandable
IoT is meant to encourage productivity and make processes smoother and simpler by connecting different devices. However, despite being developed to make processes simpler, IoT systems are often quite sophisticated and therefore understanding and making use of them can be a challenge. That is why one of the best things management can do to encourage implementation of IoT is to create tools that will help employees understand how it works and how it should be operated.
There are some tools that can be employed to help employees develop an understanding together with practical knowledge of IoT:
- On-the-job training. Using this method, employees learn necessary skills and try to apply their knowledge as they go. Although this might be one of the fastest methods of learning, it is generally used for simpler systems as it is more focused on practical knowledge.
- Explainer videos. This tool allows employees to watch short videos and learn how parts of the system function. Often companies would outsource services of educational video production to the companies like Spiel for management training. The video style should be chosen according to brand identity, corporate culture, and certainly the budget the company is willing to spend.
- Classroom training. A traditional way of familiarizing employees with content as well as the changes and new tools in a classroom setting. Recently, more and more it is being done online making it possible to be trained remotely.
Make change unchangeable
When change happens daily, it stops being strange and frightening. It becomes obvious and normal. Therefore, it is easier for employees to accept the transition towards IoT systems once they are assured that it is not a one-time deal but rather a change of focus and strategy. There are always things to improve, add and constantly implement to increase efficiency, therefore it makes sense to extend adaptation processes over a period of time and make change a constant fact in the organization. That way changes will not seem as sudden, and in the long run, employees will grow accustomed to slight, constant changes and improvements.
It is also important to understand that change is never easy and there will always be those opposing it whether it is the change from writing to typing, from analog telephones to mobile ones, or from disconnected individual devices or to the Internet of Things. However, the deciding factor should be the benefits it brings to the organization. And this can be done with clear communication within the organization.
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