Technology implementation in 2024

What you need to know

Bob Lavoy
| 12/19/2023
Technology implementation in 2024

According to the Crowe “2023 Technology in Metals Survey Insights,” more metals companies are increasing their digital technology investments year over year. With benefits such as greater efficiencies, cost savings, and new streams of revenue, integrating new technology can help metals companies stay competitive in a volatile market.

As metals leaders begin planning budgets and making technology investment decisions for 2024, they must also consider how the process of technology implementation has fundamentally changed with the ubiquitous use of cloud- and subscription-based platforms.

In the past, companies might have invested in new technology, worked toward a go-live date, and continued to use the same platform until it was no longer supported. Now, with cloud-based platforms, multiple updates are released in a single year.

This continual update model presents opportunities, but metals leaders must adopt a new mindset and approach to maximize their company’s benefit of these business applications.

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Developing a new mindset for technology implementation

Technology is not static, and the mindset regarding implementing it shouldn’t be, either. Metals leaders must develop a more dynamic approach if they intend to use technology that is constantly changing.

Think of a phone that automatically updates to a new operating system overnight. The updates are typically minimal, and the average user can continue using applications on the device without significant disruption. However, a user who understands what the new or updated features are can take advantage of the added benefits they offer.

Similarly, a company using a business application such as Microsoft Dynamics 365™ automatically has access to additional features and updates on a regular basis. But unless leaders understand what is available and how to take advantage of the new updates, they might miss out on realizing the full benefits the technology can offer and risk falling behind in the market.

4 strategies metals leaders can use to assist their technology implementation journeys

Metals companies can strategically position themselves to capitalize on new or advanced technology that routinely changes or updates throughout the year. Following are four strategies metals leaders can use to enhance the technology implementation journey.

Support a culture of continual improvement

1. Support a culture of continual improvement

Many metals companies are willing to adopt new technologies to experience the benefits, but one common mistake they make is customizing the new software to match their existing process. IT teams can spend a lot of time taking orders for new features instead of identifying ways for the technology to improve business operations.

It takes more time and money to customize a new system to fit an old process, not to mention the risk of not realizing its full benefits. A smarter approach would be to take advantage of the available technology features and update internal processes as needed to realize the full benefits the technology offers. In short, adopting new technology requires adopting a new way of operating.

Create a support system for workers

2. Create a support system for workers

Engaging with technology in a new way is not just for executives and decision-makers. Leaders must also consider what technology adoption means for workers. Developing a change management program that consistently supports employees as technology continues to evolve is critical for success. A one-time implementation might have required employee training before going live, but continual software updates require ongoing support for users.

Embrace a technology adoption journey

3. Embrace a technology adoption journey

Technology implementation projects tend to involve as many processes and features as a company wants or can afford at one time. The idea is to make all the changes at the same time, with a go-live date marking the completion of the project. However, as cloud-based technology is routinely updated and the process becomes an ongoing journey, companies are implementing long-term technology adoption strategies.

Creating a technology road map can allow metals companies to prioritize investment, take a phased approach, and simplify what could feel like an overwhelming undertaking. An iterative approach to implementation can also help save money, provide proof of concept, and offer better long-term results.

Engage a team of specialists

4. Engage a team of specialists

Metals leaders might view technology specialists as people who could help take their companies live with new technology but aren’t needed for the long term. With technology that updates regularly, investing in an ongoing relationship with a team of specialists is not just beneficial – it’s critical.

A good team of specialists has a working knowledge of technology and how it’s used, deep industry experience to apply that knowledge within the right context, and the foresight to help companies stay on the leading edge of change. Some metals companies might try to have an employee designated to this work, but in-house workers can lack a wider, more diverse lens regarding changes in both the software and metals industries that an outside team can bring. Working with a team of specialists gives companies access to insights and expertise to improve processes across the organization.

Work with Crowe for technology implementation

The technology implementation landscape in 2024 will look different than what metals leaders might have been familiar with since implementing the last large-scale system. But allowing a shift in mindset and approach to implementing cloud-based technology is an important first step.

At Crowe, our team of specialists is ready to answer any questions you have about technology implementation or next steps. And if you want to work with a team that specializes in technology and metals, stays up to date on the latest trends, has an eye for finding innovative technology applications, and is ready to suggest solutions that can maximize your growth, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Contact us

Bob Lavoy
Bob Lavoy
Principal, Consulting