Workforce.com

Making Technology Work

April 14, 2001
From a business perspective, keeping up with Internet speed is daunting.Employees certainly have their fair share of issues, but so do companies tryingto stay current with technology and remain competitive.

    Paul Sparks, associate professor of education technology at PepperdineUniversity in Malibu, California, says that organizations and HR professionalsneed to keep an eye on the big picture. While it's a good idea to adoptleading-edge tools, it's not wise to venture off the edge. "There's oftenan advantage to waiting a bit, and understanding which technology is beneficialand which creates a treadmill effect for employees."

    He believes that one of the most valuable tools today is collaborationsoftware-electronic zones where employees can share applications, files, andthoughts. Programs from companies like WebEx, Lotus, Astound, and Microsoftcreate virtual work spaces that allow real-time collaboration.

    Sparks says that managers need to engage in team building. "Much of thelearning and knowledge exchange that goes on at a company takes placeunofficially-in hallways," not classrooms.

    Watson Wyatt's Leger notes that every organization "has people who aretech savvy and get excited about new projects." At most companies, adoptionand acceptance of technology require a fundamental change in the mindset of aworkforce. A company can increase the odds of success byproviding news about a project, and convincing key managers to sell employeeson the advantages. "If you create powerful alliances you can drive rapidadoption and acceptance."

    In the end, there's no one way to succeed. However, companies that devisea well-planned strategy for integrating and adoptingtechnology are far more likely to boost productivity and success.

Workforce, April 2001, p. 40 SubscribeNow!