Introducing Clients to New Technology
Change can be scary. What if the new way of doing things doesn’t work as well as the old way? What if the technology keeps breaking? What if I can’t figure it out and they hire someone else who can? **Insert fearful emoji here**
These are valid fears, but just because change is scary doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. When introducing new technology to your clients, it can often be frustrating to see apprehension, skepticism, or even anger at the differences. This is discouraging for everyone. Clients are discouraged that the new technology doesn’t solve all their problems, and the Developers are discouraged that the clients don’t like or even use their software. Fear not fellow nerd, I come with advice on how to smoothly integrate new technology into your clients lives!
According to Nexogy, a cloud solutions company well versed in introducing new technologies, there are three things that companies can do to ease the introduction of new technology. First, companies need to clearly communicate their intentions and the benefits of change. By explaining why this new tech is neccessary, companies can show that the new technology is designed to help their customers. If clients feel like IT cares, then they will be much more open to change.
The second suggestion from Nexogy is to give time for things to sink in. An excellent example of this is how Blake described the way Edward Jones bundles it’s software updates. Developers at Edward Jones could put out updates every 2 weeks like other software developer shops; however, their thousands of Financial Advisers rely on that technology to work the same way every time they need it. If Edward Jones changed the UI layout every 2 weeks it would confuse their Financial Advisers and they wouldn’t be able to conduct business which means that Edward Jones wouldn’t be able to conduct business.
The last piece of advice from Nexogy is to Encourage Feedback from customers. Gathering feedback can sometimes be painful, but it is necessary if you want to create technology that customers will use.
Another company with tips on introducing new technology is Presidential Pools, Spas, & Patios. I relate to this company greatly since me pappy operates a pool & spa retailer in central IL. Presidential Pools recommends acting like a new technology has always been there. While this sounds counter-intuitive it can work very well in some situations. If a new technology is unimportant to a customer but important to your company it is not necessary to explicitly explain the new technology to a customer. For example, if a search engine improves efficiency on their backend, it doesn’t need to explain this as a selling point to a customer. If the client cares about such things, they will ask, otherwise act as if it has always been this way.
Another organization that is constantly shipping clients new technology is Jostle. Jostle builds employee intranet products to connect employees in an organization and they are constantly introducing new technologies. The greatest piece of advice they have is to make sure the new technology is something everyone, not just you, will benefit from. If a customer doesn’t benefit from a UI change (like making a text-box a 1 Million item drop down because it makes your life easier) then it probably shouldn’t be done. You can check whether clients want a change by using Jostles 3rd tip: engage a champion. Find a client (or clients) and ask them what they think of the proposed changes. Getting feedback before “going live” could save your bacon.
Follow those tips and you will probably be OK.