A while back I posted a poll to gauge how effectively change management was being used to deliver IT projects. The results of that poll, while not surprising to me, point to a concern that should be addressed. You can see from the image to the left that change management isn’t a focus of many projects and that those projects end in failure. Of the over 7000 respondents, 40% didn’t have any element of change management and the projects were deemed a failure.
I have often spoken, written and practice that for IT projects to be a success, they need to be rooted in strategy. That being said, it’s imperative that change management is a part of that strategy. Be sure to include a discussion on change management at the onset of your strategic planning exercise and ensure that it is embedded a process throughout implementation.
People often think that change management is something to be done at the end of a project, if it’s done at all. This approach of tacking change management on at the end of an initiative is sure to cause bumps in your project deployment. The technology is often the easy part of any implementation, with the people part and gaining acceptance being much more challenging. While this is true, we often see the exact opposite in technology projects, where most of the attention is given to the technology, and the end-users are a secondary thought. On your next IT project, work to bring more balance to that effort and ensure that adequate attention and planning are given to managing the change that is being introduced to your organization. After the initiative has been completed, be sure to go back and measure how well you did not only in the technical aspects of the project, but also in the areas of change. If you do this, you will see the successes of your IT projects increase and that will make everyone in your organization happy.
I’ve chatted before in my podcasts about the changing nature of IT groups within companies and thought I’d write a brief post about this emerging and important trend. Too often, I still find within organizations that IT resources are being purposefully kept as merely “break fix” resources, distant from the realities of the business and intentionally act as blockers rather than enablers to the business. Those organizations allow the IT leadership to perpetuate an older paradigm of IT where they were gatekeepers of technology rather than business partners within the organization, thought police rather than thought leaders.
This dated model of IT has been radically (and thankfully) changing within companies today where IT is viewed as a strategic asset rather than a necessary evil. Progressive IT leaders work hard to make their IT resources champions of innovation within organizations to ensure that business goals and objectives can be supported. We’ve all heard about the “consumerization of IT” – the idea that consumer technology (like iPads) is being brought into organizations and is driving what IT needs to support. This is true, but there is another exciting aspect to this trend. That is the “technifying of consumers“!
By technifying of consumers I mean this, that our end users in organizations are more sophisticated than they were before. They are more technical from the point of view that they leverage technology in numerous ways outside the organization. My strategic approach has always been to learn from my clients or the organization I’ve joined with regard to their business. The end user is always going to know more about the business than an IT person. The end user is the subject matter expert and now that they’ve been technified, as an IT leader I have this wonderful opportunity to recruit them into the strategic IT planning cycle. Today’s end users will brainstorm great ideas to how different technology can be used to enhance their business. That is a fantastic paradigm as it sets up progressive organizations to realize exponential value from IT.
Based on some of the questions being emailed to me from this morning’s post on Identifying IT Risk, I thought I’d create a quick poll to get some realtime input from readers. So the question is “Does your organization have a risk mitigation strategy in place?”
There is no doubt that we live in a world of high risk especially when it comes to the technology that we use in our businesses. I often encourage clients to take steps to manage and mitigate risk so to avoid costly and disruptive issues in the future. I am preparing for a presentation in November where I will be speaking about risk in IT and thought I’d share a few thoughts here.
The first step in beginning to manage & mitigate risk is the ability to identify risk. There are three key areas or categories that you should consider when assessing your own IT environment, which is comprised of people, processes and technology (don’t just focus on the tech or you will undoubtedly miss important risk areas).