Technology and Change Management


In times where technology is at the center of people’s lives, this wouldn’t be different for businesses. In various articles, such as the very controversial IT doesn’t matter, IT has been argued on whether it provides a company competitive advantage or not. Whether in agreement or not, businesses are increasingly investing in new IT tools, technology, upgrades, servers, etc. as their internal data increases by the minute.

The technology implementation goes with the planning: (1) investigate, (2) test, (3) deploy. However, more often than not, these initiatives fail in large proportions. To be precise, McKinsey & Company found that (1) about 17% of large IT projects incur major risks to the company’s existence, (2) while 45% are over budget, (3) 7% are over time, and (4) 56% deliver less value than predicted (Caleam 2015). These figures don’t seem encouraging and are rather concerning.

When selecting the new technology to implement in an organization, management often disregards the people factor influencing a project’s success. Plans are made, rollouts are scheduled, and the end-user (who is supposed to benefit from it) is astonished, confused and their first reaction is resistance. What many organizations fail to notice is that change management is at the core of technology implementation.

IBM reported in 2008 that the major barriers to success in change projects were changing mindsets and attitudes (58%), corporate culture (49%), lack of senior management support (32%), and underestimation of complexity (35%) (Caleam 2015). This implies that when organizations implement technology without giving attention to the needed change in mindset required to embrace the technology, the project is being set for certain failure.

To address this matter, focusing on discovering the real user needs is crucial. One cannot assume that users know what they need without finding the root-cause of their concerns. In this matter, human-centered design can serve as a practical tool set to define and assess actual user need (Ideo.org 2015) – and avoid major implementation blunders. By involving the user in the selection of the appropriate solution (or the appropriate deployment approach), organizations would be able to increase acceptance of new tools, make knowledge sharing more efficient, and decrease frustration levels experienced during roll-outs.

Technology’s purpose is to make people’s lives easier. However, by forgetting to put these same people at the center of the solution, and addressing their fear and concerns regarding changing the way they work has major implications. Innovation should not start from the technology standpoint- and innovation ultimately won’t -, it has to start from the people standpoint. If the large user-base in the organization is the one driving change and embracing the ideal of the technology, success is the only possible end state.

Lilian Shann, 342890ls

References

Caleam 2015, ‘Why do projects fail?’, viewed 15 October 2015, <http://calleam.com/WTPF/?page_id=1445&gt;.

Ideo.org 2015, ‘What is human-centered design?’, viewed 15 October 2015. <http://www.designkit.org/human-centered-design&gt;.

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