Implementing new technology within a business with already established traditions and favored software is no easy feat. It’s not uncommon to have employees complain that a company’s new solution isn’t intuitive, doesn’t do the job or is slower. Yet most business solution failures aren’t due to technology issues. Rather, they have to do with bad adoption strategies and people management. So how can a company avoid failure and successfully implement new software? Read on to find out how change management can help.
What exactly is change management?
There are several aspects of the term change management. One has to do with a company’s organizational level: In that domain we’d be speaking about how a company’s leaders help employees throughout the process in order to increase organizational change and to accelerate it within the company. When it comes to technology, change management would be defined as the application of a structured process and set of tools for managing the people on the side of the change. Last but not least, on a project level, change management would be a structural approach with deliverables to support individual change milestones.
Why do some implementations fail?
There’s often a big discrepancy between project management and change management. Most commonly, helping the user adopt new technology is merely an afterthought. For example, rather than engaging users and coaching them during the process of implementation, an email containing a link to a training is sent out post-deployment. It’s important not to underestimate the power of a company’s employees – their adoption of the system is what will make or break a business software implementation. After all, though they are not the ones making the call to use such and such software, it’s their job that will change as an effect. The path to usage and adoption is long as you can see from the Kubler-Ross Change Curve.
How can a company’s leadership ascertain that the implementation won’t fail?
As a start, they must be all on-board with the change. Their commitment and efforts must be communicated in order to highlight the value of the expected change. Then, key groups must be established – consisting of team leaders, managers, supervisors, etc. – think of them as ‘early adopters’. They will need extensive training in order to apply the tools and principles of change management and help ease the transition.
It must also be observed whether the company has applied the same systems and mechanisms on every level to institutionalize the change management. If one department is obliged to work with the new technology but another one gets a pass, this will inevitably lead to friction. When it comes to change management, it’s actually important to have a standardized approach in order to be effective.
A very important aspect of a successful implementation would be a roadmap that guides people and addresses any gaps in their commitment to the new software. It helps to have someone within the company take charge of the process and it’s equally as important to have a partner that is willing to train and assist end-users throughout their transition to the new software.
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 SOURCE: Gartner, AMR, Forrester, Butler Group, Economist Intelligence Unit, Press Research, Sugar CRM, CRM Outsider