Why are companies slow to adopt new technology?

Back in September we’ve combined the trends in contact centers for 2017.

We also ran a survey about which channels and approaches the companies are using, and which ones they are going to use – here are the results from the 28 responses we got.

Which channels contact centers use now

Which channels contact centers plan to use

Which approaches companies use right now Which channels contact centers plan to use

Which services companies are planning to use, including personality based routing.

Number of channels connected in contact centers

Most companies have 5, 6 and 3 channels connected

Do companies collect data to optimize customer journeys? 53.8% do

Do companies track customer journeys across channels? 85.2% do.

The charts show a pretty positive trends of planning to adopt several newer technologies.


  • somehow companies collect data to optimize customer journeys, but don’t track them
  • these trends were nearly the same in 2016, and continue to be the trends of 2018 despite technology companies making vast advances

Here’s a figure from the 2016 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report that shows then-current and planned services in contact centers:

It also predicts 9 channels in most contact centers by 2017.

And yet the Dimension Data’s 2017 CX Benchmarking report says that:

“Omnichannel solutions that integrate enterprise systems and connect customer journeys is the top technology trend for 2017, but nearly seven in 10 organisations currently have none, or very few, channels connected.”

Could it be, because it takes companies time to

  • research new technology
  • wait and see for its use cases, case studies and results
  • estimate how best to fit it into the specific company environment?

For example, when it comes to AI, Bridget Botelho warns specialists that companies have only begun to use AI and few companies have the data to do it well. Not to mention, they need to sift through products that offer the minimal usage of AI, rather than employ its full potential of data analysis, recommendations and prediction.

“Analysts say it’s important for companies to learn about AI technologies now — and to implement them where they make sense — because this stuff is complicated, and if you snooze on this one, you really will lose.”

Also, a recent research by ICMI says that:

“There is a major competitive advantage to adopting these new technologies and more than half of the consumers surveyed, 58 percent, own at least one connected device, while only 36 percent of contact centers currently support connected technologies. This lack of adoption parallels other facets of future technologies as 65 percent of contact centers remain reluctant to utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI).”

This is supported by MIT Sloan Management Review’s survey of 3000 executives:

Almost 85% believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage. But only about one in five companies has incorporated AI in some offerings or processes. Only one in 20 companies has extensively incorporated AI in offerings or processes. Less than 39% of all companies have an AI strategy in place.

Then there’s the time to connect all the interested parties, as Lori Bocklund describes that a solid contact center implementation takes 6 months and requires time commitment not only before, but after the integration is complete.

Geoffrey Moore notes that it’s far easier to get started with a new technology thanks to the cloud and how quick it is to test there, while citing security and reliability as the reasons that can prevent adoption.

TomTom Telematics did a study of 400 UK businesses with 5+ employees, and the biggest barriers to technology adoption were:

  • cost
  • how hard it is to deploy
  • a lack of time to invest in research and implementation
  • resistance from employees.

Finally, the Dimension Data’s 2017 Global CX Benchmarking Report tells us that:

“CX and customer demand for digital are the top considerations for driving digital channel strategies. Yet digital uptake levels are behind forecast. They are slowed by solution functionality that’s not meeting customer needs and poor marketing of the solution existence.”

“Technology was voted as the number one enabler to positively transform CX services in the last five years. Yet, over a quarter of organisations say that their technology systems are failing to meet their current needs.”

Then there is a multitude of cloud software pricing models, which must somehow fit into the multi-year IT budgets.

So, it seems there are at least several dimensions, which slow down tech implementation:

  • finding the solutions that match the business need
  • employees, who prefer to keep the status quo
  • internal constraints: budgets, scope of work, etc.

What do you think are the major obstacles that delay new technology adoption?

What to do about it?

Luckily, there’s something you can do, if you want to start using new tech in your company sooner.

Dimension Data in their 2017 CX Benchmarking report recommend that you:
“Ensure that your data is founded on consistent, but open principles, and most of all, if it’s used well, it will translate to performance supremacy”

“Thinking of CX technology as a connected element in a holistic enterprise IT ecosystem and overcoming traditional work splits between business and IT adopting new concepts as swarming, will be key for success.”

A fresh Forrester research by J. P. Gownder et al. about the introduction of robots suggests that company leaders need to consider how their employees will use the technology to:

  • get the decision context to make informed decisions
  • support their work by taking a part of their work
  • manage the robots, who do the menial work their new overseers have been doing previously.

But when it comes to choosing the technology to solve the above problems, CIOs need to ask themselves:

  • How mature is this new technology, and have other companies succeeded with it?
  • How will it impact the employee and customer experiences?
  • What’s the total economic impact and business case of deployment?

When it comes to robotics, employees will need to acquire new knowledge how to work with them, which, I think, translates to any other new technology – companies need to train their employees to:

  • make them more productive by using the new technology
  • reduce the friction of accepting and adopting the new technology

For example, German manufacturing companies, who are actually ahead of the US companies in adopting a broad set of new technologies called Industry 4.0, have figured it out. They realize that employees are the greatest hurdle towards technology adoption and, thanks to strict labor regulations, prefer to train them inhouse.

Also, Jeanne Bliss writes that

“One of the most important things you can do early on is tie customer work to CFO-level work; in other words, prove how customer experience is going to make stakeholders more money. That’s what a lot of companies care the most about.”

Which, if tied to the following 8×8 infographic, might work, because approx. 51% of senior management in the government don’t see the value of new technologies and only 21% invest enough money in it, 82% of responders say that new tech delivers value.

As an example of companies drastically improving technology to make CX better, Talkdesk allows companies to switch contact centers with little downtime.

Also, we have recently made Richcall not to require a contact center, so small companies can plug it in from the cloud or larger companies can pilot it much faster and easier, than usual.

What is the first thing that you’d recommend to companies, who would prefer to be early adopters, rather than late ones?


1 Comment

  • Shep Hyken
    Shep Hyken / 3 years ago

    Interesting data. I am surprised that only 14.8% can tack their customers journeys across all channels. (Yikes!)

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