Facing the Fallout: What Happens When Technology Fails Us

Frustrated man at computerTechnology offers speed and convenience — if it’s implemented effectively.


If it seems like technology is advancing faster than ever before, you’re not wrong. The U.S. Patent Office issued a total of 229 patents between 1790 and 1800. In 2015, it issued that same number of patents in under eight hours.


According to Moore’s Law, computer processing power doubles every 18 months. As computer processing evolves, so do the tools we use on a daily basis. From digital clocks and smartphones to payment apps and wearable devices, technology is now integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives.


But while technology has made leaps and bounds in recent decades, new systems and solutions don’t always work according to plan. To ensure future technology implementations are positioned for success, we must learn from past mistakes like those outlined below and provide end users with comprehensive training and support.


The 2020 Iowa Democractic Caucus


In advance of the Iowa Democratic caucuses that took place in February 2020, a new smartphone application was launched to help precinct chairs report the winning candidate with greater efficiency. Unfortunately, rather than streamlining the reporting process, the application nearly derailed it.


Many caucus chairs and volunteers had not received adequate training, leaving them unsure of how best to use the new platform. Others struggled with connectivity issues and, along with their poorly trained counterparts, were unable to leverage the application to report their precinct’s results.


Many of these precinct officials turned to a support hotline to phone in their results, only to be met with lengthy hold times. This aggravated an already chaotic atmosphere, further delaying a final tally. By the following afternoon, the party had yet to name an official winner — so much for technology-driven efficiency.


The Healthcare.gov Rollout


Within hours of Healthcare.gov’s launch in October 2013, the site was beset with problems. Many users struggled to navigate the site’s confusing interface, encountering broken dropdown menus or incomplete web pages at every turn. Even those who managed to successfully enter their information were not in the clear, as insurance companies began reporting receipt of inaccurate or incomplete user data on the back end.


In addition to the site’s infrastructural issues, a lack of training contributed to its shaky launch. While skilled at working with private insurance companies, many U.S. Department of Health and Human Services employees had little experience managing technology rollouts. As critical technical positions went unfilled, these ill-equipped employees attempted to test and troubleshoot the site as best they could. But it wasn’t enough — the website crashed only two hours after it went live.


The Power of Sophisticated End-User Training


As illustrated by the examples outlined above, no amount of time or money will ensure the success of a new platform if its end users aren’t appropriately trained and supported. Technology rollouts are inherently complex and require significant upfront investment in either web-based or in-person training delivered by a highly-qualified team of experts.


At Epiphany Management Group, we specialize in healthcare and public sector technology rollouts. As a world-class provider of comprehensive, flexible end-user training and 24/7 remote tech support, we are equipped with the skills and resources to prepare our clients for a smooth, successful product launch. Contact us today to learn more about how we can make your digital initiatives a reality.
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