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Six Tips for Managing Tech Changes

March 11, 2021

By Kimberly Smith, co-founder of SILO Compliance System

11 March 2021

As an owner of a business, I am continually challenged to keep abreast of technological advances and threats and understand how they can impact my business. I know I am not alone in this challenge.

My team and I understand the importance of keeping up with technology. We do so by continually exploring new features in our current systems and actively searching for new technologies that help us scale and innovate. Exploring technologies is natural for us because we are a technology company.

However, not all businesses have the appetite for a constant change of tools and systems. This is especially true for small and mid-sized regulated financial services businesses. You have enough on your plate just keeping up with compliance changes.

But keeping up requires changing and adopting new technologies. Yet you may have staff resistant to the changes, and they may resent having to learn new systems – whether AML systems or other business or compliance systems.

However, there is a significant risk to your business if you do not manage your staff’s responsibility to implement tech changes.

That risk is to your overall system security. That risk occurs because when staff resists change, our IT administrators start to get treated more like a help desk. Our IT administrators should spend their time monitoring and securing our systems to protect our business – not help a frustrated colleague with a new software application.

To avoid this risk, here are six tips for encouraging tech changes at your organization:

  1. Require exploration of new technologies. At SILO, our weekly team meeting includes a 2-minute “go-around” with everyone required to mention a new application or a feature within an existing application that they explored the previous week. Each person shares whether they found the discovery useful (or not) and if they intend to use it in the future. The requirement to explore and share findings sends the signal that all staff must keep an eye out for innovative and useful technologies to help the business.
  2. Invite feedback from various departments or roles when assessing new technology. Specifically, ask if they can see the technology easing their workload. If key staff have a say in adopting the technology, they’re more likely to welcome the implementation. But remember, a voice is not a vote. There may be more significant issues at stake, and the final decision is yours to make.
  3. Be mindful of how you communicate any tech changes to your staff. Some individuals may think that a change means they failed somehow. Also, some job descriptions may change when new technologies are implemented, creating uncertainty with job security or confusion about their role. Make sure you speak to those staff specifically and provide assurances.
  4. Don’t overwhelm with too many changes at once. We’re all creatures of habit, and many prefer safe, predictable routines. Understand that when those routines are threatened – especially in a big way – people tend to resist. It’s easier for us to make incremental changes. Also, let your staff know in advance that changes are coming.
  5. Require self-learning and accountability for learning system settings and technology. You can require staff to watch tutorials before any formal training sessions, so they already know the new system’s basics. The training can then focus on more in-depth features. Staff performance reviews should also consider their understanding of existing systems and their adaptability to change when required.
  6. Never compromise security. You can do this by supporting your IT administrator. Don’t allow your IT administrator to be relied on as a help desk. We all need assistance, however. Assign super users to specific systems to assist colleagues. Also, assign some non-IT people that may have some technical talent to help with minor/non-security-related matters such as, for example, display settings or connecting to wi-fi.

We all acknowledge that change can be challenging but if you manage tech changes well, you’ll find you can continually improve your business, sharpen your staff’s skill levels and keep your system security intact.

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