The importance of change management in IT implementations
In today’s marketplace, there are many innovative commercial and custom designed IT solutions that will streamline your business’ workflow and automate repetitive tasks. If you’re looking to implement a new solution, to keep up with your competitors and scale the growth of your organization, it’s important to plan your strategy so that you can both incorporate the solution quickly and efficiently, and make sure there’s a high level of internal adoption.
Why change management is necessary
An important component to any change to your IT infrastructure involves your people, and the relationship between the proposed change and employees should be considered. By leveraging some basic change management techniques into your implementation plan, you should have a smooth adoption of a new IT solution with the least disruption to your organization. Here are some things to think about when developing your plan:
Technique 1: Lead from the top and bottom
An essential driver to a successful implementation of any business change is recruiting "change champions" to drive the change forward. Some companies have had success with forming a change advisory board (CAB) to lead the change. Others have successfully used change management adoption as a platform to select and train potential future leaders within an organization. Whatever the method, identify those within your organization who are open and excited for the change adoption and will influence others to follow suit. It's important to select stakeholders from all levels within the organization - managers who will oversee the change and employees dealing with the day-to-day effects of the change. The executives can provide direction and enable others to succeed. Managers convey and communicate the plan while end-user "change champions" generate excitement. Employees will be more open to a change if they are seeing enthusiasm from both their leaders and their fellow peers.
Technique 2: Communicate and train
One of the biggest factors in the failure of business change is employee resistance. This is usually due to the fact that the plan for change has not been communicated properly. Poor communication, and the fear of lost jobs due to automation, can cause employees to resist change. Early communication of a potential change can eliminate fears and give employees time to digest how the change might affect their work processes. Communicate the motivation and rationale of the change, and the expected path for implementing the change. Engage in discussions early on with employees to gain an understanding of their work processes and their ability to adopt the change into their daily routine. Do folks understand the value of the new IT solution and their role in its success? Allow employees to provide feedback and use that feedback to improve the implementation plan. Visibility and collaboration go a long way in ensuring employee trust and improving employee engagement in change.
After gathering feedback from employees, develop a plan for training users and stakeholders of the new IT solution. New plans may require a change in employee responsibilities and daily tasks. Identify which employees will be affected and how, and prepare training that targets those needs. Deliver baseline training to all those affected, and use experienced staff to teach others. Some companies have successfully leveraged digital tools to assist in the training and implementation of new IT solutions. Dashboards and messaging tools provide real-time information and feedback to employees, with the added benefit of improving collaboration.
Technique 3: Be flexible
One of the factors that has driven the recent success of major technology companies is their ability to master the art of change. In today's digital world, change is constant, and a company's ability to adapt quickly and efficiently is crucial to their success. For some, this requires a change in business model from a rigid hierarchical system to a more fluid, collaborative model. A change in business model is not necessary, but building in processes that promote flexibility and resilience is essential for change management in your IT organization.
In the case of your new IT solution, develop a plan for training and implementation, but be prepared for unexpected challenges to pop up. For example, you will still need a system to deal with "emergency fixes" that may need to be made after implementation. Make the fix, update processes to avoid the problem going forward, and communicate the update. Continually adjusting plans and processes for improvement will keep your organization better prepared to deal with changes and challenges.
Ultimately, it is the ability of the people within your organization to adapt to change that allows for successful IT implementations with high adoption rates and a solid ROI; it's why we believe that change management is necessary. This is true for increasing the speed of adoption of any kind of change – a new IT tool or even an organizational restructuring. By employing change management principles and developing change plans, your organization will be better adapted to respond to any sort of change that may come its way.
Are you managing a change? Let's create a plan together.