Any time you introduce a new piece of software into an organization that’s already accustomed to doing things a certain way, you’ll naturally experience a lot of friction and deterrence. However, if you’re able to develop a change management strategy, you can smooth the adoption process and make it much easier on everyone involved.
Using Change Management to Ease the Burden
Change management is the term used to describe the process of preparing and supporting individuals and organizations as they adopt new processes or technologies that are designed to be more efficient or high returning.
“While all changes are unique and all individuals are unique, decades of research shows there are actions we can take to influence people in their individual transitions,” explains Prosci, a leader in the field. “Change management provides a structured approach for supporting the individuals in your organization to move from their own current states to their own future states.”
Not sure where to start? Here are a few change management tips to help you along.
- Develop a Plan Ahead of Time
Change management isn’t something that naturally happens on the day of implementation. You need to start well in advance and develop a strategy that takes all factors into account.
“Set out the plans for training and post-implementation support right at the beginning of the implementation,” says expert Shahbaz Saadat. “Remember the system needs people to make it work; if the staff doesn’t know how to properly and efficiently use the software, it won’t work as it was intended.”
- Establish Objectives
While the software that you’re introducing in your organization may be different than the software that another company is transitioning to, the good news is that you can learn a lot from what other organizations are doing. The process of adopting new software often looks the same, which means the objectives are generally consistent for most companies.
Feel free to establish your own objectives, but you’ll probably find that your primary goals will be to maximize the speed of adoption at a minimized cost and recognize and prevent resistance from employees.
- Rely on the Right People
In order to facilitate a smooth adoption, it’s important that you rely on the right people. Many companies benefit from working with consultants who specialize in the software they’re introducing. Do some research and try to find a consultant that fits your company’s needs. Professional assistance is something you can’t replace.
- Expect Friction
When it comes to adopting new software, friction is natural. Some people are just natural resisters and there will always be issues when it comes to migrating data, processes, etc. While you should actively seek out ways to reduce friction, don’t let the mere presence of it overwhelm or deter you. Chalk it up as part of the process and keep moving along.
- Set Metrics and Study Progress
How will you know if the software implementation is working? While you can get a subjective feel for what’s happening by talking with your team and witnessing the results firsthand, an objective viewpoint is necessary as well.
When creating your change management plan, be sure to set some key performance indicators (KPIs) and data collection methods so you can gauge results. KPIs let you quantify what’s happening beneath the surface and give you the insights needed to make strategic decisions that benefit the company.
Ease the Transition
At the end of the day, change management is all about simplifying the transition and making it easier for your organization to adopt new software (or whatever else you may be introducing to your employees). By developing a plan and sticking to it, you can diminish resistance and increase your chances of success.