Over the past 2 decades we have made herculean technological advancements that can enable CPG manufacturers to become more efficient and profitable. Most CPG organizations have invested heavily in the emerging technology over this time frame whether it be ERP, forecasting, business intelligence, TPM software and recently predictive analytics software to name a few, but have not maximized the return on these significant technology investments. The key reason for this disappointing ROI is the poor companywide adoption rate and power use of these tools. On average the ratio of power users of new technology vs. the technology ambivalent user is less than 20% of the total user base. This can be easily identified in your organization by the use of spreadsheets to analyze significant portions of your business. It is human nature to fight “change” at all cost and that fight never stops if the ease of use and quantified benefit of adopting a new technology is not abundantly clear. We have all experienced or heard about major technology investments geared to improve the forecasting accuracy, trade promotion planning accuracy and real-time post analysis capability resulting in no quantified return on investment, due to the masses finding it too difficult to utilize.
How do we move forward with the technology that has the ability to quantify an annuitized return to our organizations and be embraced by the masses? 1) We could provide the ultimatum of “You will, you must, you shall and risk losing qualified people in the process of this dictate. 2) We could provide extensive and expensive ongoing training for those individuals who do not have the technological acumen to become a power user of the solution. 3) Or we could challenge our software vendors to develop solutions that make it easy for the 80% technology “power losers” to easily embrace the solution to mutually benefit them in their area of responsibility, as well as the overall organization. Although to attain this last choice is easier said than done, it is the only answer to the current definition of technology deployment insanity….Doing the same thing over and over again (deploying an expensive complex system that the masses rebel against), while expecting a different result. The benchmark for success in accomplishing this objective regarding new technology deployment in your organization, is to make it as easy and intuitive to use as the largest software program in history….the spreadsheet. Bill Gates was one of the great technology visionaries, but even he never could imagine how dependent the world would become on Excel!
Ease of use with powerful analytics and accurate scenario planning capability should be the benchmark when selecting trade promotion optimization software to be utilized by your organization. This should be the number one criteria when evaluating this major investment for your organization. Once you provide this capability to the non-power users in your organization, your power user to power loser ratio will separate you from your competition and result in a major return on your investment.