As you know, change management is critical to the long-term success of every organization. This is especially true when it comes to IT, where change happens at an astonishing pace. But is your organization where it needs to be?
Guidance for Your Change Management Strategy
There is something equally exhilarating and frightening about change. It is a necessary factor in moving forward and growing as a business, but it’s also unfamiliar and intimidating. Unless you have a strategy in place for managing change – particularly on the IT front – it’s quite likely that you’ll focus more on fear and anxiety than hope and excitement.
That being said, here are some tips to help you approach IT change management from a strategic perspective.
Change management is all about planning ahead and being proactive. Once an issue already has occurred, or your organization finds itself in the midst of a major shift, it is too late. Doing damage control or trying to put out fires will take valuable energy away from other important tasks. Start early and always anticipate what will happen next.
Choose the right software
You don’t have to take on change management all by yourself. Automating some of the process with the right tools can make all the difference in the world. For example, a change management software, such as a help desk, can allow you to simplify the process by providing highly customizable solutions and automated processes to manage change requests and approvals.
It’s also helpful to have some sort of communication tool integrated within your change management software that allows you to reach all key stakeholders whenever and wherever they are. The sooner people are involved in the process, the faster you can get things moving on the right track.
Choosing the right tools becomes even more important the larger the organization is. This is something the California State University (CSU) system has discovered firsthand when it comes to making key changes to its IT system.
Any IT system change that occurs on the main campus has to also go through each of the 23 satellite campuses and the thousands of employees, faculty and students at these locations. So, whereas a small change might not have a major impact at the main campus, it can have drastic effects when compounded over two dozen campuses. In order to simplify the process and make it easier to manage, CSU uses an automated change management system from Cisco that allows upgrades to occur automatically across the entire system. The results at CSU have been far better than if change management were handled manually.
Focus on the outcome
While change management is all about taking the necessary steps to move from Point A to Point B in the most seamless and efficient way possible, the focus always has to be on the outcome. When it’s all said and done, change management exists to ensure your IT department is set up for future success.
One of the biggest mistakes organizations make is assuming that change management is all about deploying the right technologies and setting up the appropriate processes. While these are certainly important components of change management, it’s actually your employees who have to execute.
“If these individuals are unsuccessful in their personal transitions, if they don’t embrace and learn a new way of working, the initiative will fail,” explains Prosci, a leading change management firm. “If employees embrace and adopt changes required by the initiative, it will deliver the expected results.”
You have to learn to prioritize engagement of all key stakeholders; otherwise, you’ll find it challenging to make any progress. Start preparing them early and often.
At the end of the day, change never happens as anticipated. You may have a perfect plan for what you think will happen – and even have complete buy-in from all individuals and departments involved – but something will inevitably go awry. A willingness to adjust will serve you well.
Overlook IT change management at your own peril
The word “change” probably evokes a range of emotions. Your mind may jump to past experiences of change that were negative or unwelcome. Or, perhaps you have had good experiences with change and get excited at the thought of doing something new. But regardless of your personal history with change, you need to prepare your enterprise for the future by developing a specific change management strategy. Embracing technology-driven change management is vital if you want to be successful in the modern business world.