Change is a necessary circumstance in the IT department. Conventional IT tasks get out- sourced and the cloud, big data, and mobility radically increase the complexity and change the systems and business processes. How do you ensure that the employees are able to handle these changes in the best possible way for the organization to reach its goals? Because even if there is nothing like change, it often fails.
When an organization faces new IT projects, for instance the implementation of a new ERP solution, it is a change that affects the employ- ees and requires new skills. And if the purpose of this new solution is not communicated prop- erly and the employees do not see the benefits of the change or do not have the required skills or qualifications to perform their job within the new set-up, you will end up with frustrated employees and the organization will ultimately not reap the intended benefits of the change.
It is, therefore, a good idea to integrate change management in the projects from the beginning. Change management should be regarded as a strategic tool gearing the organization and ensuring that the employees are prepared for the new structures so that the work may pro- ceed as planned. This is relevant when the IT department is going to learn to support a new technology and also when a change results in new processes that are going to change the daily work routines.
”It is a well-known issue that the efficiency drops when changes are implemented. Change man- agement is not a guarantee against this, but by focusing on the change and the effect it has on the employees, you are able to minimize the drop in efficiency because the employees have been much better prepared for the new processes.
So also from a financial point of view, change management or OCM (Organizational Change Management) is very relevant,”
Management Consultant Louise Keldorff Ezeani explains. She has been in charge of many change projects for NNIT.
”NNIT’s OCM service enhances the focus on and awareness of the changes and it puts their effects on the organization into a broader perspective. As OCM consultants, we identify the needs for training and communication, for example, as well as the necessary alterations of processes and allocation of responsibility. In this way, we enable the employees to handle the changes as they occur and we enable them to act within the new reality afterwards. Unfortunately, we often experience that OCM is not applied until the problems have already occurred, for instance when a transition is coming to an end and the new processes do not work because the employees do not understand their new roles”.
Instead of focusing on the actual solution, it is a good idea to focus on ”why” the change is necessary and ”how” the daily work routines of the individual employee will be affected by the new solution or the change that results from the outsourcing of IT services, for instance.
"It is a question of placing the change in the front – regardless of which type of project you are dealing with. One of the very first things we do when working with OCM is to move the focus from the actual solution to the reasons for implementing it. What should this solution be applied for, why do we implement it, and how does it affect the employees?
It is important to work with the details and uncover the effects resulting from these changes as well as the new ways of working. The changes are often found in the little things that the employees need to do differently. The employ- ees are the ones who are going to make the change happen. It is, therefore, extremely important that the employees understand why the changes make sense; they need to have a clear picture of their future role in the organiza- tion and they have to believe in the future that is presented to them”.
The communication also plays a decisive role, Louise Keldorff Ezeani explains:
”The necessary dialog between the employees and their manager on how their jobs will be affected is often missing. The management then has to be straightforward because even though the change will benefit the organization as a whole, it does not necessarily benefit the indi- vidual employee – and if the trust between the management and the employee is to be main- tained, it is important to communicate clearly. Another challenge is that the team leaders and the department managers do not always com- municate directly with the employees, but rely on the communication from the central manage- ment to be adequate; however, experience shows that a more direct and personal communication between a manager and an employee, when it comes to changes in the organization, leads to a higher success rate”.
”It is a matter of taking change seriously,” Louise Keldorff Ezeani says: ”Therefore, the organiza- tion should also take ownership of the project and the new processes must be embedded in the organization. This embeddedness should be performed at the right levels – the top manage-ment should be in charge and define the guide- lines, the middle managers should assume responsibility for the communication to the employees.