What comes first? Technology or Culture: A Chicken and Egg Debate

Enterprise

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Author’s Note:This blog post was a contribution from Joseph Do, CEO MindLink Software. Read the full version of the blog here.

Introducing any form of new technology will invariably have an impact on the company culture. But should the latter act as the true driver of organisational change? Technology can be a catalyst for change, yet culture has the power to nurture forward-thinking tech adoption and long-term business growth.

If adoption rate amongst employees is your measure of a successful technology implementation, then it stands to reason that investing in a new technology simply because it fits with current systems will result in failure to meet transformation objectives.

Organisations need to adapt and embrace the forward thinking nature of employees. For example, it is predicted BYOD will lead to 1.62 billion mobile devices being in the workplace by 2016. Businesses have to accept this change and develop new ways of working to accommodate employees’ preference for using technology which bridges their personal and work lives. 

When it comes to new technology, people within a business have to want to yield to change and progress, and a huge part of this involves what I like to call ‘purposeful collaboration’.

Ultimately, a progressive corporate culture doesn’t guarantee that your employees will understand how best to utilise digital tools, so training remains essential if culture and technology are going to work together and improve revenues and productivity.

Embracing digital technology is not just a business necessity, but a smart cultural move. The proliferation of digital and mobile collaboration tools has cemented online communication as a completely new mode of operation for employees. As a result, investment in smart collaboration tools shouldn’t be seen as a cost of doing business, but rather an investment in both your business and its people.

So first things first, what are the key components of a tech-friendly corporate culture?

Flexibility

Future success depends on being receptive rather than resistant to new processes and structures, and no good will come from holding onto legacy communication, leadership, management or sales structures in the hyper-connected, modern business environment. If people at any level of a business are not open to new ideas then technology will never be able to prove itself.

Support

Being supportive goes beyond just listening to people’s feedback, it also means providing the appropriate level of technical support/ training for employees. Without the right investment in staff development, technology will never reach its full potential within a business.

Trust

To capitalise on the mobile workforce it is important to trust employees, but more importantly ensure you set out guidelines for compliance and have appropriate security policies in place. Establishing sufficiently secure and monitored communication and data sharing platforms enables staff to work more efficiently and in a more connected way. It also helps businesses to benchmark the productivity of employees.

Collaboration

The mentality of a workforce is vital, especially when it comes to collaboration software. People need to be open to sharing knowledge to better the wider company rather than their own personal development. It is not individual knowledge retained in an employee’s mind that represents power, but the collective knowledge that is being shared. If this collective attitude is commonplace within an organisation then there is a natural fit when it comes to adopting technology. It is a risky approach to assume collaboration can be promoted using purely the right technology – an underlying collaborative culture is needed.

There should be a symbiotic relationship between technology and corporate culture. Cultivating the right attitude at every level of your business is the best place to start building the solid foundations that will support technological innovation. Neither technology nor culture can succeed in improving a business’ performance in isolation.

Take a look how equity broker ‘Redburn Partners’ approaches the technology & culture discussion.

 

 

About Carrie Cardoso Côté

I am the Senior Marketing Manager for the App Ecosystem team at BlackBerry. I eat, sleep and breathe apps at BlackBerry, and am focused on delivering valuable apps and solutions to our customers while building strong partner relationships. I’m also a wife, mom, enthusiastic foodie, and crafter extraordinaire. And I can bake a mean scone.

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