How to ensure successful deployment of new technologies
- By Jason Parry
- Jul 28, 2017
Whether in terms of cybersecurity, public health or the provision of citizen services, today’s American increasingly demands that government embrace and adapt to the technologies we’ve come to view as standard fare. And few agencies -- if any -- fail to recognize the need to modernize their IT environments.
Even so, the sheer process of deploying and adopting new technologies is daunting. Without a proper deployment strategy, new solutions will be at best, a headache and, at worst, a disaster. With a few simple best practices, however, implementing new technologies can be relatively painless and significantly rewarding.
Identify the problem
This sounds simple and obvious enough.
From a defense standpoint, you need better intelligence and increased citizen protection. Or, for civilian agencies perhaps, the objective may be to provide more efficient and beneficial public services to constituents. But creating truly sound solutions requires a much deeper analysis.
Agency decision makers often make purchases spurred by external pressures or the desire to provide a quick fix, only to later realize the solution doesn’t solve -- or even fully address -- the problem. Patience, on the other hand, pays off. Here are a few things you should do from the get-go to ensure smooth and thoughtful new technology deployment.
Before you buy a solution, you need to sell it to your internal stakeholders. This means taking the time to meet with them -- end users, employees and managers alike. These voices lend color and context to the problem, offering insights you may have missed that helps you better grasp the need your solution will address.
Understanding multiple perspectives on the problem allows you to preempt any possible hurdles or disappointed expectations when the solution launches. Successful deployments, after all, are never unilateral. The more sides you address, the smoother the implementation.
Plan the implementation
So you fully understand the problem, you think you’ve found the right solution, and now it’s time to plan for implementation.
Delve into the details. This means not only developing a timeline, but identifying critical execution points. Determine who owns what, who has a stake in what and, above all, how you’ll communicate with them throughout the process.
A clear communication plan precisely defines who needs to know what and when, while also helping you prepare for both best- and worst-case scenarios. This prevents any delays or, worse, premature (and thus ill-prepared) launches. As always, address potential problems before they have a chance to arise.
Identifying potential risks is critical to any new deployment. Every potential risk can have its own mitigation plan -- a step-by-step guide to taking action should things turn south. By preempting unexpected crises, you increase the odds of success.
Eliminate every risk you can, but understand that even with the best technology, the unexpected happens. A proper response strategy allows for the chance of a hiccup, and has contingencies in place to get everything back on track.
Implementation and deployment
Perform incremental testing at all stages of implementation, and have a pilot stage before you go live. This can first occur in a lab if IT lacks a good grasp of the technology, but there are no substitutions for a live environment.
With a comprehensive implementation and testing strategy, you’ll encounter fewer surprises when launch. As such, the actual deployment serves to validate your work and value, rather than testing it.
Modernizing the federal IT environment remains top of mind for federal agencies. Once it’s finally budgeted for, it can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. By taking proper precautions and considering all angles from the onset, the deployment can -- and most likely will -- be a success.
Jason Parry is Force 3's vice president of client solutions.