Challenges Faced By Enterprises in Integrating New Technologies

Challenges faced by enterprises while on the path to digital transformation range from skill shortage to even power struggles

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Challenges faced by enterprises

New technologies play a crucial role in increasing revenue and profitability. The scope of technology in manufacturing, supply chain management, inventory management, and other areas is immense. Technology is also changing how human resource, accounting, and finance departments function, and is being used to link every department to each other. Technology has a huge role to play in driving productivity and in the creation of new products; however, their deployment in organizations isn't free from issues. There are certain challenges faced by enterprises.


Deployment of New Technology Requires Shifting Mindsets

Most people are accustomed to doing things as they have been done in the past. We would like to believe that training can be used indefinitely to make people adapt to using new technologies, this, however, is a mistake. Most people, especially if they are older, are averse to change. This isn’t a personal shortcoming; rather it reflects that learning new skills becomes harder as people get older. Most successful startups are founded by people in their 20s and 30s. While one may say younger people start their businesses because they can take greater risk, the reason they can take greater risks and succeed is they have a better grasp of technology than those who’re older.

In India, if new technology is to permeate more deeply as it has in North America, Japan, Korea, and parts of Europe, people mindsets will have to change. The first hurdle a company faces when trying to implement a new technology such as an ERP system is that its workforce may not believe in it. Secondly, those with a narrow mindset may not be open to learning how to use the software. Closed-mindedness and an unwillingness to adapt are reasons why even companies with skilled workforces face challenges integrating new technologies.


A Skill Shortage

Technology can make processes hugely efficient, however, manual processes are simpler to learn and more people can do them successfully. A worker who is part of a team that manufactures safety shoes may be good at his job; however when a part of the manufacturing process he does is moved to an automated assembly line he may be unable to do his job because the technology is too complex for him to understand. Because manual processes are easier and require less training, more workers can do them well. When technology enters the fray, some workers who could work manually find the added complexity bewildering. So a challenge posed by technology is that many employees, even those who are very young and adaptable, cannot adapt to using it. The lack of a skilled workforce that can adapt along with technology is a significant hurdle.

In India, for many more years, the cost of labour will be low meaning that unskilled manual labourers will have a job. However, unless education is significantly improved, in a few short years, perhaps even as little as 15 years, workers who cannot be trained to operate complex machinery may find being employed challenging.


Power Struggles Arise

Every organization has a dominance hierarchy with some wielding more power than others. Often this hierarchy is a function of the type of work people do. People in certain divisions may be unwilling to relinquish some of their power to those in another division. For instance, the marketing team may be unwilling to share information with an IT team that has recently installed a database to track productivity and manage inventory.

Ideally, in a modern corporate entity, leaders should have oversight of every facet of the company’s functioning. However, when a data centre is installed, many power centres within the company may be unwilling to share information transparently. When such power struggles arise it can lead to complications that exceed even the training required to use the new technology.

Technology is essential to manufacturing world-class safety products and managing a workforce. In the safety industry technology plays a key role because the industry manufactures products to the highest specifications, uses IT in manufacturing and in internal processes, and companies in this industry have many crucial departments. Every challenge has a solution, meaning that technology should be implemented wherever it is needed, yet workforces must be trained alongside and leaders within organizations should manage their teams so that internal struggles are mitigated.

By Ms Sunita Sapra, COO, KARAM Industries