The arrival of a new hardware or software can bring with it challenging cultural changes. Think, for example, how it would go if your company suddenly outlawed e-mails replaced them with project-centric wikis. In a guest editorial on ZDNet, Jim King, vice president of operations at Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, offers suggestions for how to cope with this kind of upset, using CRM as his prime example.

Given the amount of effort and resources allocated to major IT initiatives, and the number of expensive projects that fall by the wayside, it stands to reason that if more time were dedicated to socializing a new technology approach the returns would be greater. Neither mandatory training sessions nor dictums from the top of an organization will promote technology adoption if the appropriate time and energy is not invested in the cultural shift required to maximize the value of technology.

Here are King's suggestions on what to do:

Stage One: Prioritize people over protocol and processes

Ask employees which part of their jobs could most benefit from technology, which aspects they¿d like to see automated, and, frankly, which parts of their jobs they don¿t enjoy.

Stage Two: Build buy-in and buzz

Articulate how the new technology will benefit specific job functions and tailor your messages accordingly. Buzz can be built in several ways. Designate a representative from each team to participate in the ongoing planning meetings and give them responsibility for reporting status back to their colleagues.

Stage Three: Adoption

During this period, allow for anonymous feedback, support rigorous usage and assign your team leads to put the system through its paces.

Stage Four: Evolution

As the system evolves, it's crucial to keep a subset of the original planning and implementation team on board to track metrics throughout the deployment.

-- Don Willmott