Organizational change management is a relatively new discipline; it only began to be formalized as an organizational function in the early 2000s. However, it’s becoming increasingly relevant.
There are six steps organizations can take to manage change and make new initiatives more successful, according to Dan Kennedy, vice president of enterprise architecture at Workato. Kennedy has 20 years of experience as an IT leader and enterprise architect. He focuses on implementing and integrating enterprise business applications, and ensuring that IT delivers business value and outcomes.
Kennedy’s Advice for Organizational Change Management
“The most important thing when approaching organizational change is to have a strategy and a very clear governance model,” said Kennedy. Hone in on efficiency gains in the organization, and be clear about how the organization will make those gains happen.
Quickly set up everyone with the right tool sets, and get everyone appropriately trained.
Have a clear method for evaluating the value of potential changes; identify the highest-value opportunities first, and prioritize investments in order to see optimal return. Kennedy said, “Ensure value can be demonstrated to each stakeholder group who is impacted, to address the “What’s in it for me?”.
Have a strong value-measurement practice in place to measure ROI on changes. Demonstrate the value of changes to leadership using quantifiable metrics. Demonstrably high-value returns may potentially allow productive new practices more freedom or resources to continue to scale.
Make it clear to employees what new resources are available to them. Kennedy notes, “Change can involve internal ‘marketing’ to raise awareness and encourage individuals to take advantage of available new resources, knowledge, analytics, or tools.”
Finally, Kennedy suggests building a community internally. A more distributed operating model requires leveraging individuals with expertise around certain processes and applications. An internal community makes it possible for individuals involved in the process of change to communicate with one another, share ideas and share common issues that they’ve solved. Once there’s a center of excellence, publish best practices, discuss and refine them over time.
Decentralizing Facilitates Organizational Agility
IT operating models don’t overnight, Kennedy said. “But organizations are shifting toward a more agile operating model to respond to the increasingly rapid pace of change.”
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To become agile, organizations need to have some facets of their operations decentralized. Integrated decentralization can be broadly examined as an effective IT model. For example, the internet enables global decentralization and integration of communications and software is now commonly deployed as a specialized as-a-service product that integrates with other disparate specialized products.
Businesses can apply this philosophy to their organizational hierarchy by aligning or embedding IT more closely with the business functions they support.
"The gap between technology and business teams is growing increasingly small as technology becomes pervasive in all business processes,” said Kennedy. “This is increasing the direct involvement of business teams in technology projects."
Change management practices can lead to more strategically allocated talent across an organization, which improves operational efficiency and agility. For example, Kennedy notes that when lines of business are empowered with the right tools and training, they are more able to proceed with tasks without calling upon extensive technical assistance from IT. Having employees fully trained and up to speed on new tools liberates more specialized and experienced individuals within the IT department to focus on innovation and strategy, rather than just providing technical support.
It’s critical to choose best practices that are most applicable to a company or organization. Change doesn’t occur overnight, but overtime managing change becomes easier when these six actionable steps are followed. In the long run, decentralized operating models make organizations more agile.
As Andy Warhol once said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”