Where would we be without change?
Some people thrive on it whilst others cannot bear the thought of it. Before I started writing this blog, I thought I would do some research and find a good quote from a well know person from history or business to illustrate the importance of change. After perusing pages of pithiness, I decided not to, and instead talk about it from an IT perspective in practical terms – specifically, adoption and change management.
Whether you’re the instigator, the implementor or the receiver of a change, there are lessons we can all learn on how to make the change effective, meaningful and have maximum impact. I’m sure many of us have been in a situation where a new application is to be introduced into an organisation. Training is (sometimes) provided, and then everyone is expected to get on with it. The application could be a more efficient way of doing the same job, or it could be to change an existing business process.
Either way, change can only be effective if people understand the need for the change and can clearly see how they will benefit after the change has been implemented. They must develop a strong appetite for the change and get fully on board with the process. They must be hungry for the learning they will need to do to acquire the knowledge. And they absolutely must sustain the application of that learning. The objective is to change the behaviour of individuals and teams, and in some cases to change the culture of an organisation.
A very topical example of how an application can change behaviour and processes:
Microsoft Teams. Why is it topical? Microsoft has invested a significant amount of money to develop its native functionality and to allow integration with many 3rd party independent software vendors.
This should help it become a “single pane of glass” for users to access all the business applications and tools they need in their day to day tasks.
Suddenly, there are vast numbers of people meeting virtually, many for the first time, and in doing so changing the way that they collaborate almost overnight.
Two things here:
1. This was a global health emergency
This prompted governments to impose strict lockdowns, forcing people to stay at home. In a “needs must” circumstance, workers who were able to work at home did so in large numbers, many using Teams as their primary communication platform.
2. People changed how they started to create, share, and collaborate on documents
Whilst many had existing file servers on which they uploaded documents, there were still existing practices of working on a new version on individuals’ PCs and sending documents as email attachments.
Both these old habits often resulted in confusion over which was the latest version, time wasted on searching for the right documents and, potentially, incorrect versions being sent out to clients.
People quickly discovered the benefits of using Teams to guard against all the above risks. Having one master version of documents that could be worked on simultaneously by many people using whatever device in whichever location started to yield significant productivity outcomes.
So why do we need to talk about change management now when new working practices are already being adopted?
The reality is that adoption of new tools and applications tends to be sporadic. Typically, a core group of users adopt new applications and processes, with the majority of others either partially included or left out altogether. The net result is a two-tier organisation where the lack of consistency of adoption and change management doesn’t deliver the full value to the business.
This is where Adoption and Change Management (ACM) plays a key role. A process change, such as the one outlined with managing documents, involves people as well as Teams as an application. Changing the behaviour of people is more than simply providing training on a new application. Training is a transfer of knowledge. Many leaders fail to implement a change by the misconception that providing training will suffice.
PROSCI is the industry body that created the ACM model and – together with McKinsey – conducted a survey of over 2,000 data points connected with change projects over 10 years. It concluded that poor change management delivered a 15% return of investment, whereas an excellent change management project delivered a 94% ROI (you can find the reference here).
In today’s dynamic, agile business environment where organisations and their employees need to react and adapt to ever changing environments and circumstances, ensuring that the inevitable changes are adopted effectively could be the difference between success and failure.
Competitive pressures are mounting, and companies are looking at ways they can accelerate their time to market, enhance their customer experience and improve profitability. Technology has a key role to play, but an effective adoption and change management approach is critical to changing how people adapt to and adopt new processes.
By the way, I did like a few famous quotes about change! Here’s one that stands out for me:
“Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future”
– John F. Kennedy
Are you are looking to make changes to your business’ IT systems?
If so, contact us today. Our qualified and experienced support team here at Clovertec have been ensuring that businesses maintain the highest levels of continuity since 2008, and we’d be delighted to provide the same support to you!
The Clovertec Team