Technology change management purposes to identify and evaluate new technologies with an aim of incorporating and assimilating them effectively into the organisation. The objective of technology change is realigning business models to increase productivity, drive efficiency, improve software quality, and ultimately the bottom line.
Before the Covid 19 pandemic, technology changes were seen as a competitive advantage. Today, they are a business imperative. Technology is no longer a driver of change, but an enabler of business success.
Over the years, technology has paved way for global economic transformations and improved quality of life. Its substantial acceleration over the last few years means organisations have little time to incubate and little room for failure.
Another driver for technology change initiatives is the changing behaviour of the end-user (customers, internal and external). Their expectations towards businesses, products, and services today have shifted. They are better informed and discerning and expect personalised products and services that provide a unique customer experience. Organisations therefore must rethink their value proposition and create operating models that utilise the latest technology for competitive differentiation.
Start with the End in Mind- The Why
Organisations must align the technology change needs to the broader business strategy. Because technology change initiatives require human interaction, adoption, and usage; the reasons for the change must be repeatedly communicated.
Also Read: Value-Driven Technology Changes
In many cases, technology changes often cut across all business functions and budgets, and all teams must therefore be on board. Change initiatives should not be driven out of one department (IT/Digital) without alignment with the organisation’s goals, and overall mission if they are to succeed.
Have a Plan – Change Management Processes
For technology change to come to fruition and remain sustainable post-implementation, change management strategies and methodologies play a critical role. Up-front planning focused on business value and end-user adoption will be critical to the success of a project. While the implementation of the project will vary depending on its breadth, change management processes are required to enable seamless adoption and usage.
The change management plan ensures impacted stakeholders are aware, ready, and trained on how to use the new technology and sustain it in the long term. Change management strategies focuses on the people side of the change to ensure end-user adoption, engagement, and sustainment of changes for the business benefits to be realised.
Leadership Alignment – Ensure the Leaders are Onboard
For any change to materialise, it must begin with leadership alignment. It is leadership that rallies the employees by reflecting a committed, invested, unified front – that is on the same page about organisational goals.
Research shows that the number one contributor of change success or failure is leadership. Leaders play a critical role in positively impacting, influencing, and driving the desired change results.
According to Prosci, the world leader in change management, a leader’s guidance, support, and authority showcase knowledge and patronage for change. It allays fears and significantly reduces anxiety making employees feel more positive about the future.
All Aboard- Communicate and Break Silos
Communication is crucial. It ensures that all stakeholders impacted by a change are informed at all times. Communication enables alignment and fosters a culture of openness for the change to succeed.
Implementors then must create a sense of urgency by sharing the vision with all stakeholders, allowing them to understand the business’s strategic intent and goals of change initiatives. Explaining the changes often and in an open and candid matter will aid the organisation in embracing change.
Communication also becomes the glue that holds the change together making employees understand how to support and buy-in and adopt.
Manage the Risks – Start then Scale
All changes come with a myriad of risks; technology change is no exception. Integrating risk management as part of the project plan is therefore compulsory. Project and change teams must proactively identify people risks and devise strategies to mitigate.
Some of the risks to monitor during a technology change include the risk of poor adoption, risk of poor utilisation, resistance, organisational culture, and employee engagement. Research has shown that there is a correlation between change success and employee engagement, and one of the reasons for resistance among staff is organisational culture. For example, any technology changes that relate to automation may make employees feel replaced creating a reluctance to adopt.
Piloting with a select group of users may be an advantage for the implementors to encourage speedy end-user adoption.
End-User Adoption and Usage
Technology is a business enabler, and a critical component for success is people. They are the heart of any innovative and winning change initiative. In the last two years, the swift transition to digital platforms and tools by many businesses has proved that it is people that deliver successful outcomes.
Technology change implementors must therefore move away from defining success by simply “going live” but rather on the results and benefits achieved by the organisation.
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