The 4 Ds of Change Management

Part 1 of a 3-part blog series focusing on creating an effective enterprise change management strategy and implementation plan, inspiring user adoption, and improving ROI.

Change management, the multi-prong approach to evolving and improving company operations, is in the midst of a crisis: just 25% of initiatives find long term success, and only 22% of managers feel their training to execute such plans is effective.

Enabling Effective Change Management

Enabling Effective Change Management

Despite the challenges of change management, organizations have to adapt with the times or risk falling behind. This holds true for companies of all sizes, so what can they do to ensure they properly execute change management campaigns when making the move to the cloud? How can they drive the most value from these migrations?

Check out the 4 Ds and see how they apply to change management and foster company growth:


Organizations can’t begin to change if leaders don’t come to a consensus on the problems they have and the end results they want. During the discovery phase, stakeholders should:

  • Assess current business challenges
  • Identify and prioritize solutions
  • List project goals and success criteria
  • Draft a vision statement

This process enables companies to focus on their operational weaknesses, analyze their internal information architecture (how data flows through the company), and design a system of solutions to help guide the change management process.

Creating a vision statement will resonate with everyone in the organization. It enables stakeholders with the confidence that while the current state is too painful to maintain, enduring the necessary growing pains of a new system is worth it if it leads to high user adoption and a more streamlined organization.  


Once business leaders have analyzed their operational challenges, the next step is to design a solution. However, the solution can’t simply be “your father’s change management plan.” It has to grow out of specific scenarios and cases that everyone understands in order to resonate. It has to include why-do-I and how-do-I components so adoption is high. It has to make frequent statements to the entire workforce, encompassing everyone from the C-suite to the summer intern, that show leaders are committed to achieving the future state.

A comprehensive solution should feature:

  • User adoption and communication plans
  • Success and measurement strategies
  • Executive sponsorship to demonstrate dedication
  • Influential champions to provide localized support

The majority of work in the design phase results in employees’ increased awareness of change management initiatives, their engagement with them, and ultimately, organizational efficiency. When the majority of employees get on board, the transition will be smooth, and stakeholders will get a stronger ROI on their efforts.


The next step is to engage in a company-wide delivery of the new solutions to get employees excited about using them. The success of this chapter in change management hinges on employees’ understanding of the technology, its benefits, how they can claim an ownership stake, and the resources available to them.

Score big wins by ensuring your delivery process includes:

  • Adoption events attuned to your culture
  • Marketing materials to show off the personal – and organizational – benefits to participation
  • Communication campaigns to generate awareness, spell out clear timelines and expectations, and build excitement
  • Training for specific user groups like administrative assistants, sales, and engineers
  • An online learning resource center with links to help materials, video tutorials, a training calendar, documents, and other assets that address different learning styles

When employees see that key stakeholders have put time and thought into not just designing a change management solution, but ensuring employees know of all the post-rollout resources available to them, then adoption rates will drastically improve and the initiative will be earmarked for success.


However, a successful rollout doesn’t mean the change initiative is complete. One CIO said it best: “Rollout is the battle. But adoption is the war.” The company will only see gains in the long term when they view change management as a part of the new culture. Organizational effectiveness is the result of an ongoing practice, not merely a one-off project.

This phase requires the collection and analysis of data around employee satisfaction, performance and productivity, which will enable the C-suite to make tactical decisions to close the gaps:

  • Training and satisfaction surveys
  • An adoption dashboard displaying progress towards success criteria
  • Regular lunch-and-learns
  • Office productivity training
  • User adoption labs for specific user groups
  • Adoption spotlights of employee or team success stories

Continuing to promote change management is protecting your investment in cloud technology. Key stakeholders should make change management a constant to ensure full adoption and the reaching of business goals.

Learn more about how change management can launch your company goals forward during our on-demand webinar session “Your Guide to Designing a Successful Change Management Strategy for the Cloud”. 

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Jason Price
As Practice Lead for Change Management and Organizational Effectiveness
at SADA System, Jason enables enterprise organizations to effectively manage
change as they implement cloud solutions and tools.



 ¹ Lipman, Victor. “New Study Explores Why Change Management Fails – And How To (Perhaps) Succeed.” Sept. 4, 2013.

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