How companies can navigate their path to adopting emerging technologies

By many counts, companies appear to be embracing new, emerging technologies to spearhead or stem disruption in their respective industries. The growth of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, 3D printing and other emerging technologies demonstrates a clear demand for these innovative solutions. And CEOs are taking a more aggressive stance on disruption.

Insights on barriers and solutions along the journey to adopting new technologies, changing processes and driving business growth
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INFOGRAPHIC: Navigating the path to adopting emerging technologies.

Last year’s KPMG Global CEO Outlook reports that “more than six in 10 CEOs (65 percent) see disruption as an opportunity, not a threat, for their business.” And that “three in four (74 percent) say their business is aiming to be the disruptor in its sector.” Despite this aggressive posture, companies still are not ready in many cases to prepare for rapid disruption: 57 percent of CEOs admit that their organization may not yet have market-sensing capabilities and innovative processes to be ready for disruptive change in their industry.

Similarly, as companies look to emerging technologies as a way to stay ahead of disruption, they are optimistic about the potential for these technologies to improve their business. A new study on the challenges and solutions in adopting emerging technologies shows that 65 percent of business professionals feel that embracing advanced innovative technologies would improve their business or industry. Yet the findings also reflect a lack of readiness or concern over key barriers and setbacks along the way to adoption: one out of two of the 1,000 business professionals surveyed reported barriers to consideration or adoption of emerging technologies.

Advanced emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous robotics, additive manufacturing, Internet of Things, and virtual/augmented reality are changing how we live, play and work. These technologies are no longer on the fringe of adoption; they are fast becoming core elements of critical business strategies for companies looking to reduce costs, increase revenue and fight to stay ahead of disruptive forces. But navigating the path to adoption of these emerging technologies and turning innovation into productive business strategies is challenging. These technologies are not a quick fix - they need to be integrated into new or existing business processes or workflows.

According to a recent study of business professionals in the U.S., about half (47%) of respondents said there are barriers preventing their company from considering or adopting advanced emerging technologies. Additionally, of the business professionals surveyed, almost two-thirds (60%) say their companies have experienced setbacks and/or significant challenges in the process of developing and implementing innovative technologies.

Respondents identified more than one barrier, including:

  • Lack of adequate training to prepare team members to adopt and implement the technology (47%);
  • Lack of expertise to help understand and implement the recommended solutions (46%);
  • Inability to change existing business processes/strategy or to embrace change (42%);
  • Lack of internal champion at the company as a barrier to adopting and implementing advanced emerging technology (34%)

The key stalling point in adopting new technologies comes down to people. Without a subject matter expert and the right strategic counsel to guide companies in the early stages of consideration and planning, companies can lack the confidence to move forward and projects can stall. So when companies identified the necessary solutions to get through change management and move forward on adoption of technologies, guidance and expertise were among the top solutions.

The top four solutions respondents identified for implementing advanced emerging technologies were:

  • Better planning and strategy for adoption (36%);
  • Quality assurance and testing (34%);
  • Training guidance and support (35%);
  • Expert counsel and consulting on planning and adoption of the technology (31%)

As companies move from business planning to adoption of emerging technologies in order to drive business growth, there are three ways they can overcome some of the barriers and setbacks to adoption:

  1. Appoint a champion of change. Identifying the right expert or leader internally can help companies navigate hurdles and break through the internal barriers that might inhibit progress.
  2. Bring in reinforcements. Enlisting the help of outside expertise was one of the top solutions identified by early adopters for guiding businesses through implementing advanced emerging technology. Often, an outside expert can cut through the clutter of internal resistance to change and provide the perspective and strategy to get the job done.
  3. Anticipate the challenges but keep an eye on the outcome. While it’s true that implementing advanced emerging technology is challenging, companies that break ground on integrating these new technologies within their industry will gain an early competitive advantage and blaze the trail for companies who follow in their footsteps.

If companies are specifically interested in adopting 3D printing solutions, learn more about 3D Systems On Demand services– delivering the technologies, processes, tools and expertise to quickly translate designs into reality.