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How to implement the technologies

Home > Our services > Services and facilities > COVID-19: technologies to support workplace safety > How to implement the technologies

What challenge are you trying to solve?

In a world where numerous technology solutions exist to solve business problems, often in very different ways, it’s never been more important to first take a step back and consider ‘What is the problem I am trying to solve?’ or ‘What is the opportunity I am trying to create?’.

Several technologies have emerged recently, specifically in the context of COVID-19 and many have a part to play in helping companies with compliance and the safeguarding of their employees.

View our full guide on technologies to support worklace safety and please ensure you are familiar with the Scottish Government Routemap and the current situation for Scotland.

Managing technology implementation projects

It’s impossible to be an expert in every technology, but you can become an expert in managing change successfully and this requires a people-centred approach. Your employees will help give you a comprehensive picture of their needs and issues, so that these can be successfully addressed during the implementation process. Your people will then ultimately decide the success or failure with their trust or mistrust of any system.

Fortunately, there are proven ways in which you can reduce these risks and improve the likelihood of success.

The key stages in managing technology implementation projects are:

  • Identify requirements in a concise Project Brief
  • Send Project Brief to prospective suppliers
  • Review all proposals against needs, costs, cyber security and small print T&Cs
  • Get live demos and do financial due diligence on any suppliers before signing agreements
  • Identify testing, training and ‘Go Live’ dates
  • Resolve issues and maintain a Change Log
  • Celebrate your successes.  Be patient as they may take time to be realised

Assessing your capability to implement projects

When you are considering the implementation of a new technology in your business, it’s essential to consider the benefits and impacts that this will have in an objective way.

The first questions that you should be asking your team should focus on understanding the benefits, impacts and capability, before even thinking about which specific solution to implement.

  • Who in your team will operate this software?  Do you have the appropriate skills in-house, and if not, can you train people on this system quickly?
  • How will your chosen solution work with your existing systems? Are there possibilities to re-use data from other systems?  Can you use BI software to combine data from disparate systems?  Are there any cyber security implications?  CENSIS may be able to offer advice or signpost you to a relevant organisation.
  • Are there skills and capacity to deploy the solution in-house? If not, identify appropriate consultancy support or temporary specialist staff.
  • Be realistic about timescales. There may be delays outwith your control.  Identify a timeline early in the process.
  • The cheapest solution isn’t always the most appropriate.  Or the most cost-effective
  • Identify ways to meet requirements within your budget. Calculate ROI realistically.

How to prepare

The next stage is to work through key ways of reducing project risk.  Note that most of the suggestions below are centred on people rather than technology.

  • Establish a cross-functional team of staff to ensure all needs are identified and that the project is adequately resourced.
  • Consider backfilling for staff or recruitment of temporary specialists e.g., Project Managers or specialist IT staff to assist.
  • Identify technical requirements succinctly.  For example, when considering hardware requirements, check the minimum internet bandwidth that will be required and think about what would happen when no connectivity is available?  Give consideration to the numbers of users able to be supported and integration with other software.
  • Consider whether any data held in the system would be subject to GDPR or other legal/regulatory requirements and how this data will be controlled and managed in the long-term, including establishing specific responsibilities for this. See the ICO website for more information on this.
  • Detail all measures of success and identify ways to share the ongoing measurement of data with staff.
  • Identify which employees require training in the use of the software, how they will be trained, e.g., will you have ‘Superusers’ or ‘Train the Trainer’ initiatives?   Training schedules must fit as well as possible with current working patterns.
  • Draft a staff project Communications Plan.  Communicate little and often, responding to all feedback timeously and honestly.
  • Consider all direct and indirect project costs e.g., cyber security testing consultancy.
  • Be realistic about launch dates and always perform early and on-going tests for functionality and security (ideally via an experienced 3rd party tester, not the developer). Train all users comprehensively on the final , tested versions of software before ‘Go Live’.
  • Review operational data from tests.  What can the data tell you?  Where are you achieving success?  Are you achieving milestones?  Are there gaps in performance?
  • Identify ways to address all issues and re-communicate this to staff, providing reassurance of trust in the system.

Identifying suitable technology solution providers

In order to identify the right solution for your company, it’s important to know how to search for providers, whether that is through internet research, supplier directories or word of mouth. Due to the number of providers available, this can be a difficult prospect.

At this point, it’s possible to seek professional advice through impartial organisations such as CENSIS, Business Gateway or Scottish Enterprise.

Internet/desk research

  • Good for identifying initial ideas
  • Based on a ‘filtered’ view depending on search criteria
  • No substitute for experience/hands-on knowledge of suppliers

Word of mouth

  • Often can be subjective
  • Based on someone else’s needs
  • Be aware of lack of impartiality

Source via consultant

  • Can bring in temporary expertise quickly
  • Can be expensive, but often saves more than the cost
  • Be aware of lack of impartiality/commission-based recommendations
  • Be aware of previous experience (or lack of)

Impartial advice

Key questions to ask prospective technology suppliers

When you identify suitable technology solutions and a shortlist of providers to meet your needs, it’s always advisable to ensure that that you ask the right questions of suppliers before contractually committing to them.

  • Can you show me examples of your technology in use?
  • If I need to add more users, how easy is this and how much will it cost?  Are the software licenses transferable to other staff?
  • How long is the contract for and how can I cancel this in the future, whilst retrieving my data
  • Where exactly will my company’s data be held?
  • How will it be managed?
  • Does it support GDPR?
  • What are you doing to minimise cyber security threats?

Don't forget about cyber security

Who is responsible for cyber security in your organisation?
A typical answer may be CTO, IT Security Specialist or similar

Has your company achieved any cyber security standards or accreditations?
The answer could include Cyber Essentials Plus, ISO27001, NiST

How do you test your software/hardware/firmware for cyber security risks?
The answer should include penetration tests, ideally by a third party provider.  (Look out for CREST accreditation).   Build Reviews could be conducted for hardware.

Where will my data be stored and which data protection measures are in place?
You should be able to pinpoint data to a specific data centre and geographical location.  Consider any legal implications of data stored outside the UK. The answer could include third part cloud storage providers and may mention intrusion detection and prevention or vulnerability scanning.

Who will have access to my data?
Ensure in any contract that no third parties have access to your data without your authorisations.

What will happen to my data if I decide to stop using your application?
Suppliers can continue to store your data and you should confirm if they plan to do this, for how long and why.

What to do next?

You may have a few questions once you’ve read through this section, or have some ideas you would like to talk through.  Why don’t we have an initial chat about how your organisation can use technology to reduce the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Business Development team

Scottish Enterprise
Digital Transformation Specialists team.
Tel: 0300 013 3385