Businesses today experience a continual state of evolution and change to their technology stack. These innovations are often led by IT teams charged with ramping up digital transformation initiatives, leading workflow improvements, and replace aging equipment. In this context, change management today is less about one-off projects and far more focused on the careful design of innovative IT stacks built for scale.
As businesses grow, their interpretation of change management matures as well. Early on, IT change management can be seen as managing to-do lists, communication strategies, and training end users. With company maturity, focus shifts to include aligning business metrics to every initiative. But even so, none of this preparation guarantees success.
“60-70% OF ALL ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT INITIATIVES FAIL.”
—Harvard Business Review
At RingCentral, we work closely with IT teams of all maturity levels on implementing communication solutions across their organizations. As a result, we hear firsthand the challenges they face from initial kick-off through to user adoption. A common thread from CIOs and IT leaders leading innovative change is that a few key steps can make or break an initiative—especially when it comes to reimagining a business communications stack.
Note: The line between change management and digital transformation (DT) can overlap today, especially when it comes to IT initiatives. DT is often a primary driver for change management. As a result, the following list reflects the point at which both disciplines align, as they often do for our customers.
Productize the experience
As an IT leader pushing for business innovation, the key is understanding how teams will leverage new technology differently, and painting a picture of these unique experiences. For example, the way a knowledge worker leverages a cloud communications platform at HQ can be far different from how a frontline worker uses that same product out in the field. Understanding the nuances of each use case will help you convey compelling stories around the change that every team can relate to. Though end users might feel uncomfortable with the delta between old and new, change management leaders must speak their language and clearly articulate how change will enhance versus hinder different working styles.
Connect the dots
When it comes to business communications, for example, end users tend to think in terms of standalone solutions. They might think of calls as only happening on a desk phone—or perhaps collaboration as specific to a particular app. IT teams should look at the bigger picture and think about how new technology can bring these disparate channels and modes of working together into a single platform. The cloud enables workflows not previously possible, with layers of workflow automation and simplification in between.
User acceptance is a critical piece of a change management strategy. There is no better way than a groundswell of support. Within every organization, there are advocates already aligned with a program. Identifying support early on, nurturing their acceptance of the goals of the program, and giving them a role in user testing can work as a catalyst for introducing change in each department.
“ON AVERAGE, EMPLOYEES NOW EXPERIENCE THREE MAJOR CHANGES EACH YEAR, COMPARED TO JUST 1.75 IN 2012.”
Look far ahead
Change management is, by nature, designed to meet current and future needs. But how far in the future is often the question. Designing with a multi-year vision in mind allows processes and technology to catch up with the present. A thoughtful roadmap based on business goals, growth trajectories, competitive trends, and industry best practices will create a clearer vision of every initiative you launch, while also giving end users a stronger reason to adapt and change.