SADA Systems completed a survey on organizational change management, defined here as a multi-pronged approach to improving company operations through the use of modern technologies. Working with a third party, SADA surveyed 300 IT professionals from large and midmarket organizations in the last week of March.
According to industry watchers, change management can be a challenging undertaking, even for the most technology-savvy companies. Anecdotally, some executives whose organizations completed change management initiatives reported limited long-term success, while others indicated their companies didn’t do enough to train employees on the use of new technologies. Despite the challenges, the general consensus is that organizations must pursue these initiatives, or risk falling behind. Seeking to understand what companies can do to ensure successful change management, and how they can drive the most value from these migrations, SADA sought input from the IT community
Per the survey results, a company IT director or IT Project Manager was most often (47%) in charge of the change management plan and implementation, which frequently (45%) targeted the entire organization. And the majority of respondents (39%) said their organization’s change management initiatives took between one and three years to complete. Meanwhile, 32% of IT professionals said the project cost $100,000-$500,000.
Despite the fact that 85% of respondents believe their organization’s change management rollout was a success, IT pros reported several notable problems along the way. Limited executive support (19%) and weak follow through on the part of management (19%) were the challenges cited most often, followed by a lack of consensus on goals among key stakeholders (16%) and poor or no training of end users (14%). Interestingly, 70% of respondents said line-of-business managers were consulted in the development and rollout of the plan, and 73% said there was consensus among employees on the problems they had and the results they wanted from their change management initiatives.
The initial phase of a change management plan is often described as “Discovery.” SADA asked IT pros what was most important to them during this phase of the rollout, and the most commonly given answer was identification of project goals and success criteria (26%), followed closely by the identification and prioritization of product solutions (25%). Speaking of Discovery, IT pros surveyed by SADA said it was important for their organizations to go through this process because it allowed them to analyze their internal information architecture (36%). Thirty-three percent said it was important because it helped them design a system of solutions to help guide the change management process.
During the next phase of change management, known as Design, in which business leaders agree on a product solution, success and measurement activities (38%) was the most prioritized activity according to survey respondents. The next most prioritized activity was user adoption and communication plans (25%), followed by executive sponsorship (20%). The primary benefit of the Design phase was organizational efficiency (37%), then employee engagement (23%) and a smooth transition and stronger ROI (21%).
In the third stage of change management, frequently referred to as Delivery, when companies help employees get excited about the new solutions they’ll be using, success often hinges on employee understanding of the technology, its benefits, how they can claim an ownership stake, and the resources available to them. IT professional surveyed by SADA said their companies ensured success in this stage through communications campaigns to generate awareness, and to spell out clear timelines and expectations (30%). The next most common tactic was training for specific user groups (29%).
In the final stage – Adoption – companies analyze data on employee performance and productivity, which enables senior management to see and address gaps in the change management rollout that are impeding adoption. To fill these gaps, IT professionals said their organizations tried office productivity training (25%), satisfaction surveys (23%), and the use of a dashboard displaying progress toward success (20%). Team success stories (11%), user adoption labs (11%) and lunch-and-learns (10%) were also attempted.
“Change management is one of the most popular services we provide, and one of the most misunderstood,” says Tony Safoian, President and CEO at SADA Systems. “Most companies understand that an organization-wide transition to a new technology solution or series of solutions is not as simple as flipping a switch. Some companies still insist on pushing a new product on users and hoping for the best, but clearly that’s not the most effective approach. What we’ve found through our Value Envisioning Workshops is that successful change management requires meaningful planning, collaboration with line-of-business managers and employees, thoughtful product evaluation, careful implementation and dutiful follow-up. Only then will stakeholders get the return they expected, and employees the services they deserve.”