Managing technological change is an essential part of any organization's success. It involves recognizing, selecting, and evaluating new technologies and incorporating them into the organization to improve the quality of the software, increase productivity, and reduce the time of the product development cycle. Technology also plays a critical role in measuring the success of any change management initiative. It helps to answer questions such as: do people affected by the change understand the impact? What are their questions? Do they understand the next steps and are committed to taking them? All of this can be measured with the right technology so that organizations don't have to guess. Technology can also help companies manage changes in operations.
Companies have successfully reduced costs by examining business processes and eliminating actions that customers don't perceive as valuable. However, a key challenge for both business leaders and technology staff is to shift the focus from projects focused on reducing costs to projects that develop innovative products and drive revenues. Businesses and consumers alike have benefited from technology-driven improvements, such as online ordering, ticket-free travel, and just-in-time inventory management. Projects require planning and design, technological components, proper execution, and careful change management. Having an excellent plan, excellent technology, and first-class execution will still result in a perception of failure on the part of users and administrators IF the change process is not properly managed.
In technology projects, the area where many IT implementers fall short is understanding the full impact of the change on users, setting appropriate expectations, and then communicating properly with each group of stakeholders (with the level of communication that each one needs) before, during, and after completing the project. Therefore, in addition to first-class planning and design, technological components, and execution, add change planning, change communication, and change management as requirements for the success of any technology project. Managers and line of business leaders are also responsible for communicating news, information, and changes affecting their teams. Organizations must also determine the appropriate scope of the changes and manage the internal cultural changes needed to successfully integrate new technology. Change management formalizes the process of introducing changes in information technology in an organization.
The growth of global quality standards and business processes has also increased the need for companies to use technology to implement the changes needed to meet new requirements. A recent blog post by Laserfica points out that the biggest problem with using technology to drive organizational change is that technology can change much faster than people. Given this greater impact on the company, enablement projects require greater care when it comes to seeing and planning change, communicating it properly to stakeholders, and managing change. In some cases, these changes are small and have little impact on employees; while other times there is an important human element of change that must be well planned and executed to ensure success. Since more than 50% of change management efforts fail, it's clear that organizations aren't using the right tools or strategies to help their employees understand and adopt new ideas and practices - especially in today's digital workplace where employees live in a noisy environment with conflicting priorities being communicated. Correct change management can help bring together all the information, knowledge, people, and business tools needed in a single point of productivity.
By adopting a formal process; empowering your organization; and following a structured process when changing your IT systems; you will increase the overall reliability of the system. If the technology is complicated, clumsy, or provides a poor user experience; it's likely to hinder rather than facilitate the change process. I also recommend reading Tricia Emerson and Mary Stewart's new book The Technology Change Book to learn more about managing technological change.