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Buying Tech Right is Hard, Implementing It Right Is Harder

An excerpt from the TAtech Learning & Certification Program

The decision has been made. A solution provider has been selected. Your organization has acquired a new technology-based talent acquisition product. The process was likely complicated, time-consuming and, more often than not, interspersed with unexpected questions or concerns that had to be resolved. But, all of that is over now. The contract has been signed, and the product will shortly arrive. It’s natural for those involved to let out a sigh of relief and think the hard part is over. Unfortunately, that would be a mistake.

According to IDC, “25 percent of IT projects fail outright. Just as bad, 20 to 25 percent don’t provide the expected return on investment and up to 50 percent require material rework in order for the organization to reach the goal for which a product was originally purchased. And worst of all, over half of those financial and performance shortfalls have the exact same cause: inadequate implementation.

In fact, Forbes reports that 54 percent of new tech failures are due to poor management, while just 3 percent are caused by a problem with the technology itself. Certainly, some of that poor management occurs during the acquisition phase of a technology-based product, but in many instances, that’s simply not the case. The organizational need has been clearly defined, the selection of a solution provider has been timely and well organized and the best product has been acquired. What causes the organization to experience a problem is poor implementation planning and execution.

And, that situation has consequences. It can cause:

• a shortfall in the product’s capability as measured by the key performance indicators recruiters are able to achieve;
• an inadequate return on an organization’s investment made in the product; and/or
• a requirement that the organization spend even more money to rework the product so it performs as needed.

In the end, the organization has wasted its money and seen its competitive position degraded. It can’t recruit the talent it needs, and the resulting shortages undermine the organization’s business performance.

Imperfect implementation causes these problems because installing a new technology-based product is neither trivial nor simple. It is as complicated, time-consuming and potentially fraught with missteps and errors as the process of selecting a solution provider and product. That’s a fact with which you are almost certainly already familiar.

It’s Not As Simple As Throwing a Switch

Though clearly not an exact analogy, think of your own acquisition of a new smart TV. As a good consumer, you probably did a significant amount of research on the different brands before you made a selection. So, you feel good about your choice, but you also know there’s still another hurdle you have to clear. All of that time and effort as well as the money you invested will be lost if the TV’s installation isn’t equally as well done. And, in today’s homes, getting over that obstacle can also be a non-trivial endeavor.

Often, the screen has to be wall mounted which can mean the involvement of a carpenter or technician. Then, if you’re using cable, the connections have to be made correctly and synchronized with your provider’s modem. Next, the set has to be meshed with the tech stack in your home – the WiFi for internet access and its integration with signals from other devices if you have them. And finally, you have to learn how to use the full range of buttons on your remote so that you take advantage of all of the set’s capabilities and not use it simply to turn basic viewing on and off.

In short, getting your new smart TV out of the box and working for you is not easy. And, if that’s the implementation challenge you face with a technology that relatively familiar and (normally) designed to be consumer-friendly, think how much more involved it will be to install a technology-based talent acquisition product.

Even so-called “plug and play” technologies – those that can be integrated “without the need for physical device configuration or user intervention” – require careful installation in order to deliver all of their capabilities as well as their expected performance benefits. The same is true of those tech products that might be considered “small” or likely to have a minor or even no effect on the organization and recruiting team where they will reside and be used. In truth, every technology-based talent acquisition product will introduce both technical integration challenges as well as operational and other adjustments within the recruiting team.

For all of those reasons and more, the anticipated return on investment for talent technology can only be achieved with the successful execution of a comprehensive and detailed implementation strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about how to implement talent technology successfully – and earn a new career-enhancing credential in the process – take the TAtech Learning & Certification Program in Talent Technology Implementation Management.