Introducing a Business Process Innovation? Focus on Implementation

This content relates to : DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION


Business process innovations (e.g., robotics) can boost competitive advantage by enhancing customer satisfaction

To ensure success, sellers need to focus on the early-stage implementation of the innovation rather than just adoption and installation.

To achieve effective early-stage implementation, sellers should consider buyer characteristics (e.g., technology fit), the seller-buyer interface (e.g., knowledge transfer), and the environment (e.g., government regulations).

K. Sivakumar

Lehigh University

Business process innovations (such as robotics, CRM, consumer analytics, platform-based sharing economy, etc.) are becoming more important than product innovations in the world’s economy. In the case of business process innovation, adoption and quick installation are not enough. 

Careful attention to the early stages of implementation will ensure long-term success. How can organizations ensure effective early-stage implementation to leverage the innovation for long-term profitability? 

Focus on the “Why”: It is better if the decisions are bottom-up. At the minimum, adequate justification should be given to the rank-and-file people responsible for implementing the innovation. This preparation is vital to get early buy-in. 

Champions will Help: It is important to identify a core group of experts committed to making the change. These opinion leaders can be mentors and inspiration for people who may not be clear about the benefits in the early stages. 

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Effective early implementation ensures long-term success rather than a hurried and problem-prone early implementation. 

Customization After Consultation is the Key: If the innovation is customized after consultation with the client, the client is more receptive to the adoption and implementation of the innovation. 

Transition Management is Critical: It is vital to manage the early transition phase. Seller representatives should be available at the buyer site for initial consultations and troubleshooting. 


K. Sivakumar, ’92 Ph.D. 

Professor, The Arthur C. Tauck, Jr. Chair in International Marketing and Logistics, Lehigh University

To learn more, read: 

Meyers, Patricia, K. Sivakumar, and Cheryl Nakata (1999), “Implementation of Industrial Process Innovations: Factors, Effects, and Marketing Implications,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 16 (May), 295-311.