What’s Driving Your Software Project: A Case for Engagement

In the face of budget constraints and competing priorities on software implementations, “people readiness” often boils down to training.  Yet, many miss out on the greater value that can be gained by actively engaging your impacted stakeholders beyond one way communications and training.

The Risk of “Going Light” on Org Change

The total cost of software ownership could easily cost thousands of dollars, while the larger more complex rollouts can run into the millions when you factor in can cost an organizations millions in licensing fees, implementation labor, the lost productivity of your functional subject matter experts’ time away from the business, and the list goes on.

Yet when it is time to prepare your people for the new tool, it often boils down to software training and an email announcing that the “system is now ready.”

Yes, I can hear many of you say, “But, isn’t that enough? Shouldn’t that be sufficient?”

Well I’ll answer that with the following analogy…

Imagine you’re building a car.  Finally, after considerable time, money, and effort is spent developing this amazing, aerodynamic two door coupe, you roll it out, you announce it to the world, and you discover the people you designed it for refuse to use.

“Why?”

It’s because your audience is a family of three with groceries, a car seat, bikes, and toys. Or, perhaps they’re contractors with heavy lumber and big clunky tools.

Suddenly, your aerodynamic design, custom paint job, and high powered engine no longer matter.  You created a masterpiece that doesn’t aid the very audience you sought to serve.

Don’t let this happen to your implementation.

What Change Management Can Do

When properly executed, organizational change management (OCM) helps drive home the ROI and business outcomes you sought when you first began.

Your people—your end users and other impacted parties—are a wealth of information and provide invaluable insights that can help mitigate pitfalls and help ensure that you don’t have your sports car software collecting dust in the garage  when all is said and done.

Of course, the technical side of your implementation must be executed with skill and precision, but no one cares if:

  • the first screen is missing a key field or data element,
  • an entire step in the process is missing,
  • thousands of records were migrated in incorrectly,
  • it takes users more time to complete a task
  • your help desk doesn’t know how to support it, or
  • your users simply refuse to use it.

Making Room for the “Human Side” of Change

Organizational change management not only helps mitigate these risks through audience engagement but it also addresses the “human side” of change. The side that asks, “What’s in it for me?”

“Will this change replace so much of what I do that I’m won’t be needed?” Read: “Am I losing my job?”

When we wait to answer such questions or worse-leave audiences to guess, often needless concerns and negative emotions arise.  Then, in turn, what was supposed to be a good change begins to slowly morph into something to resist.

Simply put, too much is at stake not to actively engage your people.  Partner with your audience in your software implementations, find an OCM consultant that can help navigate the change, and you’ll be amazed at the value such engagement  brings to your initiatives.

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