By Andy Huynh, Chief Technology Officer
Organizations rightfully spend a lot of time, money and resources figuring out which systems and applications will best help them meet their goals. Once determined, timelines are set, budgets are laid out, partners are brought on, teams are built and plans are executed.
But the other half of the technology project equation – the people throughout your organization – may be an afterthought. While technology changes are often mission-critical to your business, they are unavoidably disruptive to some extent. There may be questions, confusion or even fear among employees. Change management isn’t just dictating the steps of a project. Rather, it’s facilitating the journey from which you’ll emerge better and stronger.
What should you anticipate and how do you manage the change so it doesn’t hinder your organization?
Communicate, communicate, communicate
The best technology strategy won’t be successful unless your team is prepared to adapt. And to adapt, they need to have clear communication about what is going on (relevant to their work) and what to expect. Your system integrator can guide you on navigating the change management processes that will help employees understand what’s happening and be better prepared after the go-live. How will this technology project benefit them? What challenges or downsides may they face? What should they expect and when?
In addition, keep in mind that change management is broader than your employees; it’s also about managing your business processes and how to maintain them now and into the future. Therefore, clear communication needs to be woven throughout your organization, including between your system integrator and IT teams. Select a system integrator that treats you like the true partner that you are; this will facilitate better communication throughout the project and ensure you are working together as one.
Find a champion and dedicate a team
Find an owner for your technology project – perhaps someone who already owns IT, security or finance – to oversee the huge amount of coordination that will need to happen. Without a champion, you risk confusion and inefficiencies that could lead to more disruption for your teams and sluggish productivity after the go-live.
Dedicating a team to the project can make a huge difference when it comes to managing the change. I know that’s not easy and everyone on your team has their day jobs, but the more people you can dedicate to the work, the fewer surprises and more successes you’ll have: You’ll also gain internal champions who will be ready to take ownership of the project after the go-live.
As your project comes to an end, it should conclude with a fizzle, not with a bang, as my colleague Tom Schoen likes to say. With the key components of clear communication, an internal champion, and a dedicated team, your project will end quietly and successfully with better employee support and productivity.