In the current era of digital disruption, the CIO needs to make managing the inevitable change in their organizations a top priority. Organizations that don’t change quickly enough or intelligently enough may fail to stay successful, or could even fall prey to competitors.
In fact, so much change is happening so quickly that the CIO must virtually wear the “Chief Change Officer” hat. This is because change is no longer something you implement and then it’s done. Today, change is a continual and essential part of guiding the organization in the right direction. Here are some important things to keep in mind in your new unofficial role as the CCO.
1) Understand the need for change
Since you can’t manage what you don’t know, it’s important to understand what is driving change. Sometimes it is forced on the organization from external sources such as a competitive or economic situation. A merger or acquisition can necessitate sudden and substantial change. Sometimes the impetus for change comes from technical advancement such as the advent of the cloud or mobile. Or it can be directed by shareholders or the CEO. For example, today’s CIOs are under pressure to constantly upgrade existing systems or implement new technologies either to maintain the organization’s leadership or, more often, just to stay even with competitor. Each of these demands needs to be managed differently and communicated differently in order to be successful.
2) Make change a collaborative effort
Change cannot happen if people resist it. Consequently, a key aspect of change management is building a team of stakeholders to help manage the changes to come. Establish a process for quietly laying the foundation for some proposed change or project by talking to the people concerned and gathering support and feedback. Establishing this network of support enhances rank-and-file acceptance of change and overcomes the perception that change is being driven by the CIO from the top down. You can deploy the latest collaboration software across the organization to facilitate and monitor this process.
3) Budget carefully for change
A common misstep across many types of organizations is not allocating enough budget to support change. And as any CIO knows, the dollar cost is only one side of the equation; it is equally important to budget adequate time and IT resources to implement the change. This includes establishing a realistic timeframe for employees and technology users to be trained on and acclimate to new processes. Planning for this should include the time it takes to train people to adjust to change and train them in the new way of doing things. And it pays to be careful not to budget any of these things too tightly, because that sets the organization up for failure from the beginning.
4) Use the cloud to manage technology change
Companies increasingly use cloud-based business apps as strategic tools to drive business transformation. And many organizations have leveraged these apps for purposes far beyond niche applications in marketing and other business units to include core business functions. A recent survey conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that nearly “60 percent of the 427 organizations that participated credit their use of such apps to transforming how they operate across the entire enterprise.” These companies not only use cloud applications to move beyond the limitations of on-premises software but also to effectively outsource change management to the cloud vendor. The cloud software as a service (SaaS) or infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider manages all the servers, software, feature enhancements, upgrades, and all other aspects of the technology. They also maintain the momentum of software efficiency and performance through ongoing changes. This approach minimizes the burden on your internal IT teams because you essentially rent change management in the process of renting cloud-based software or IT infrastructure.
Learn how RingCentral can off-load the burden of your core communications and contact center functions—and manage change for you.
Originally published May 08, 2017, updated Aug 11, 2020