5 Steps to Successful Change Management in IT

October 27, 2017

“Don’t be a know-it-all; be a learn-it-all.”

Satya Nadella’s advice was directed at his children but the business community can’t get enough of Microsoft’s CEO’s take on mindset success.

And there is no better quote to sum up my experience of change management. Too often, change is mistaken as swopping one protocol for another, inserting a new system, and closing the door; job done.

The truth is, change happens on multiple levels. It is, more than anything else, a cultural mandate. We can introduce new IT programmes relatively easily compared to the behavioural change we must demand when we do this.

According to the Innovation Value Institute (IVI) – an independent body committed to driving IT best practice across all industries – IT has “suffered from a certain disconnect”. Often, it says, IT departments are considered “a cost centre, not a value centre”. Culturally, IT does not fit.

Given the rapid pace of technological advancements in the last decade, this is hardly surprising. IT professionals are constantly learning and adapting. Silver-bullet solutions have barely begun to deliver on their promise of transformation when the next, best thing comes knocking.

While I’m still learning about the best approach to change management and IT, I have discovered tools and approaches which, so far, have proven to be effective. As Satya would say, they have been ‘hypothesis tested’, and I share them with you here to pass on my ‘learn-it-all’ experience.

1. Understand the time requirements for the change

Change is gradual. Establishing the time frame over which you want the change to happen is essential, and gives your process an objective and realistic goal. In the minds of senior management, it also positions this as a long-term strategy. You’re not flicking on a switch here.

2. Understand the cultural impact of the change

How does your proposed change impact those at the frontline? What does it do to the workflow? Who must reconfigure what? Who must work more closely with whom?

It’s not just Simon Sinek who tells us to ‘Start with Why’. Culture is an organisations’ beating heart. Mess with it and you risk more than your reputation. Understanding the cultural impact of the change is as important as the change itself.

3. Plan, plan and plan

Plan the technical change. And then plan the people, organisational and logistical change. It’s important to remain aware of the symbiotic nature of an organisation’s moving parts while you implement a difference. And the plan should live: make it a live, breathing, well-documented process that your team owns in the real sense of updating it, referring to it and holding each other accountable to it.

4. Understand the training plan

If this change is to take hold, training is almost certainly needed. What solutions are in place for up-skilling staff and encouraging teams to adopt the new technology? You’ll need different solutions for different people. Train-the-trainer courses might be required. Will you provide internal or external training? Can it be done online? Should it be done online? Or would interactive workshops be more appropriate?

5. Prepare to support the change while it’s happening

While change is not a switch to be flicked, as you turn up the dial on its implementation your people will need to be supported. Be prepared to practically support your teams while the change is taking hold. A face, name and reputation on the ground is important here. For some, it may feel that change is the hands of the (business) gods, but we all need someone on the ground to turn to for guidance.

At NashTech, we work as true partners with organisations to implement change programmes. Our partnership with the IVI equips our advisory teams with the insight and intellect to roll out change management programmes quickly and effectively.

NashTech’s IT Effectiveness factsheet is a great place to start with change management programmes. This tool helps businesses understand the strengths and challenges of their IT offering, shining a clear light on the way toward stronger, more accountable IT departments.

For more information, contact Ronan Gray:

Call:    +353 87 177 3242

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