What Is Change Management ?

Digital Adoption Guide

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What Is Change Management?

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In business, especially a well-established business, the only real constant is change. Whether speaking of ongoing projects, goals, initiatives, or basic operations, every organization sets out with strategies in place to get where they want to be. Yet, those strategies are consistently evolving due to rapidly changing consumer/client demands, so changes must be implemented in order to stay efficient and relevant.

Organizational change these days tends to involve some type of digital transformation. Even though digital change is set in motion by CEOs or CIOs, it is the employees that have to adjust the most during these transformations,adapting to new digital processes or technologies.

If the workforce is not able to adjust to digital changes, overall objectives set forth by the company can become unreachable. For successful transitions, employees need to be able to embrace new technologies and digital processes. Therefore, change management, when migrating to new software platforms or solutions, is no longer a nice to have, it’s a necessity to actually enable desired results.

Change Management with Digital Adoption Explained

In the most basic terms, change management seeks to equip the workforce with what they need to successfully get through some form of workplace change or transformation.

Change management in the context of digital transformations is about managing a major digital change and its impact and reliance on the workforce. Examples include:

  • Migrating from one mission critical software to another, i.e., going from Oracle EBS to Oracle Cloud ERP
  • Optimizing or updating a heavily used software solution to become more efficient or effective or more supportable, i.e., taking a major release of your existing software to eliminate bugs and incorporate new functionality.
  • Trading an outdated digital work experience to an experience better suited for modern work processes, i.e., replacing the electronic submittal of excel-based expense reports for an application dedicated to this function, such as Concur.

4 Telling Facts About Change Management

Every year, the pace of technology change seems to accelerate and without change management, the risk of failure in terms of successful absorption and execution by the workforce, increases exponentially. Consider the following:

1. Effective change management means meeting benchmarks more effectively.

Change management has a direct, obvious relationship with actually meeting the objectives of a transformation project. In a study performed in 2018, change management company Prosci discovered study participants that had well-developed change management plans were six times more probable to reach benchmarks and objectives as compared to those with poor change management planning.

2. Schedule adherence is a critical part of change management.

One thing often lacking in digital transformations is having a defined and communicated schedule for the conclusion of key elements of the transformation. Having a schedule of what will happen and when gives management and stakeholders guidelines to follow with the workforce for learning new processes. Prosci found, in the aforementioned study, that 69 percent of companies that made use of change management processes actually finished their intended projects on or ahead of their predetermined schedule.

3. Employee resistance is a big stumbling block for intended change.

Employees are accustomed to doing things the way they are trained, especially when it comes to the technology used at work. Therefore, it really should not come as a surprise that employee-resistance can be a huge stumbling block for companies trying to transform. So, how can leadership overcome resistance to change? One of the most effective approaches is inclusion. When employees feel they are working toward a common purpose, outcomes improve. However, this requires effective change management supported by company and project leadership.

4. Change initiatives often fail in business.

The Harvard Business Review concluded in one study that more than 70 percent of transformation efforts fail. While there are many contributing factors, proper change management from the onset of a planned transformation is a common contributing factor of this staggering statistic. 

While workforce involvement helps buy in, change management’s job must continue to and through go-live of a new or updated system. Employee resistance is at its greatest at go-live and the critical months afterward as the workforce must embrace and effectively use the new or updated system. Change management must extend itself beyond traditional training methods to incorporate more effective techniques and tools that support the onboarding and adoption effort. That’s where tools such as Epilogue’s Opus Digital Adoption Solution come in.

The Three Necessary Components of Effective Change Management with Digital Adoption

Effective change management with digital adoption is not a one-and-done process. Three very necessary components must be present in order for change management to be successful.

1. Prepare Employees for Change

Preparing employees for a digital transformation is all about offering them information and making sure they are involved in what is to come. Many transformation initiatives skimp when it comes to this necessary part of change management. But in doing so, they isolate employees and make them feel as if they are being forced into change without prior knowledge. To be successful in the end, providing a clear explanation of why the change is needed for the company is ever-important. Likewise, you should be explaining how a new solution will change how employees perform their daily work processes.

2. Equip Employees with Tools They Need to Make the Change

Equipping your employees for change means handing them the tools and knowledge they need to proceed and succeed as the new digital solution is implemented. Training here is the key, which is why a good digital adoption software solution like Epilogue Opus can be so valuable. Digital Adoption Solutions like Opus allow you to:

  • Generate content that can be leveraged into training and eLearning
  • Create a variety of online and offline content to meet the needs of users and teams: user acceptance test scripts, user manuals, job aids, process and procedure documents, compliance documentation, Section 508 documentation and simulations for viewing, practicing or testing
  • Optimize in-application support for the user, at their moment of need, with step by step task execution assistance

By working through a good digital adoption strategy, employees are less likely to feel completely overwhelmed when new software or a new digital solution goes live.

3. Support Employees Through the Change

Every individual can perceive a big change differently. You may have some employees that jump right in, show little resistance, and seem excited to learn. You may also have some employees that feel annoyed with change or seem uninterested in doing things differently. In any case, the third necessary component in change management is to support every employee right where they are, no matter what mindset they have.

While most aspects of change management are macro, you also have to get micro at key points in time. In terms of onboarding and adoption, a tool like Epilogue Opus brings the “micro” needed when the workforce is engaged with the new or updated system. It does this by bringing task-specific and role-specific help and guidance for the specific task an employee is trying to execute. This is important because employee engagement and patience with Support, knowledge bases, help portals and searching for the help they need diminishes with each experience. Opus gives the user the relevant help and guidance needed to execute application tasks without having to leave the application they are working in.