Technology Roadkill – Don’t get run over by the Change Management bus


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Currently, a local b-school has a bus ad that reads “technology is ubiquitous; management is necessary”. What struck me reading the side of the bus was — thankfully not the bus, but — that there was an element missing. Now, granted, it’s a bus ad so there’s limited space but the gaping hole between the two statements is something that hides in plain sight: the constant that affects everything – change.

Change is constant – you have to keep up

Change and the ubiquity of technology are deeply intertwined and the marriage of the two is the reason management is necessary. And getting ever more so.

But if change is the thing that drives both technology and the management thereof, how do people and organizations manage the change so

a) it doesn’t run them over (making them technology roadkill), and

b) they get the desired impact and outcomes?

Technology moves faster than people do

Directing — and managing – organizational change when implementing technology is especially important in the face of

• the ever-accelerating expected time to ROI from your IT investment

• the speed with which technological changes can be made these days (cloud, anyone?) and

• all of the moving parts within a change process that only increase exponentially every time another team or business process is added to the mix.

So what are you to do when you’re getting pressure from the top to deliver better results faster, and you’re getting grief from below about all the changes that are being made so quickly?

In an ideal world, you’d have a formal user adoption program and team – beyond the implementation team – to facilitate the transition and sustain it on into the future, ensuring the necessary ROI and achievement of business goals throughout the life of the system. But at some point, the system is live and the consultants and project leads go home. And you still need help.

This is where having an IT adoption plan, focusing on the human side of technology change, is key to success.

Focus your IT adoption efforts on your team, and not on the technology

At a conference earlier this year, we heard a phrase we could really identify with: “it’s not the software that fails, it’s the fleshware.”

Today's businesses require a new approach to achieve success.Think about it: the time, the energy, the planning, and – quite frankly – the money that go into bringing a new system online is almost exclusively directed at the technology. That is, figuring out which to get, once procuring it getting it customized, up and running and people trained on it. Then, people are set loose and attention is directed elsewhere.

But what about the people? A portion of their daily work life has changed significantly, which changes them, their teams, business processes and the organization but chances are none of those changes have been focused on with the same degree of effort the software was.

With an IT adoption plan in place – ideally from the point when you decided to change technologies – that contains vital elements such as:

Outlined business goals cascading into department and team goals

Corresponding metrics against which everyone will be measured

• A relevant and meaningful two-way communication strategy

• Revised and specifically defined roles and responsibilities and

• Individualized action plans for each team member to succeed

Because that bus ad is all too true. Technology is ubiquitous and management is necessary. It’s just that technology changes organizations, their cultures and how/when/why people communicate and interact.

Strategically and purposefully planning for and managing the People Factor is a major undertaking, but the only one that will deliver the benefits and value you need and want from your new IT system.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jason Whitehead
Jason Whitehead is CEO of Tri Tuns, LLC, an organizational effectiveness consultancy specializing in driving and sustaining effective user adoption of IT systems. He works at the intersection of technology, process, culture and people to help clients actually achieved measurable business benefits from their technology investments.


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