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Why is technology so difficult to implement and manage?

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  1. Introduction
  2. The implementation of a technology is uncertain and complex
    1. The implementation is an expensive and uncertain process
    2. The introduction and the management of a technology
  3. The keys to introducing and managing a technology successfully
    1. The necessity to adopt an overall view of the technology: The use of frameworks
    2. The key role of managers
    3. The necessity to do a pilot in order to limit the learning costs
    4. The necessity to involve all the relevant stakeholders
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

No one can deny the impact of technology as a source of competitive advantage for a firm. The introduction of a new technology or the development and the commercialization of a new product/ service are due to increase business benefits: it allows costs savings, improves the productivity and the efficiency of the organization. It also allows a better allocation of resources within the firm and this rationalization of the means of production benefits also the customers.
But technology is not simply a black box: the implementation and the management of technology within a company can fail. The implementation was defined by Swanson as ?a decision-making activity that converts a design concept into an operating reality so as to provide value to the client?. Besides it is worth saying that implementation is an iterative process that has an impact on many aspects of the firm: the cultural and organizational aspects have to be taken into account as well as the technological issues. Thus the implementation?s process is complex and uncertain; managers have to take up some challenges to successfully introduce a technology. This introduction supposes a mutual adaptation of the technology and the firm to develop a fully working system.
This paper is aimed at analysing the different factors that may impede the successful introduction and management of a technology. First the uncertainty and the complexity of the process will be dealt with. Then, in order to help managers when introducing a new technology, I will discuss some relevant keys to success.

[...] As a firm is not isolated and has to face competitors, the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) is helpful. Thanks to this managers can elaborate the best strategy around the technology that fits the customers' needs and the firm's features. In order to avoid the costs overrunning the firm has to assess the costs as precisely as possible. The capital budgeting process is the first step, that means calculate the payback or use the discounted cash flow analysis. [...]


[...] The necessity to do a pilot in order to limit the learning costs Leonard-Barton and Kraus identify two reasons to do a pilot before introducing the technology within the whole organization: first, it is an experiment to test the technical feasibility of the project and then it serves as a ?credible demonstration model for others units in the organization?.[7] Managers can choose to do the pilot in a no risk site for political reasons. It is better to choose a risky site to prove the feasibility but the risks of failures are higher. [...]


[...] II- The keys to introduce and manage a technology successfully A technology is worth implementing because it creates a competitive advantage by improving the efficiency of the whole value chain: primary and support activities are affected in a positive way. Introducing technological change into an organization presents some challenges for managers. As the implementation is uncertain and complex we present there some steps to follow in order to avoid implementation's failures. The necessity to adopt an overall view of the technology: the use of frameworks Before introducing a technology within organization managers should assess carefully the global impacts on the firm's performance and structure. [...]

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