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Best practice — Change management for cloud software adoption — Sustaining change

Best practice — Change management for cloud software adoption — Sustaining change

January 16th, 2020

Claudia Piscitelli is the change and adoption lead at Engage Squared — the first Australian business consultancy and tech service provider recognized as a “Microsoft Preferred Partner for Business Applications”. We know, fancy! When it comes to managing change, Claudia knows her stuff.

Claudia helps businesses understand how to implement cloud technologies in a way that connects with their business strategy. We’re very pleased to host her guest series, where she’ll discuss how you can effectively accomplish a change initiative, how you can deliver it in a way that will have the most reach and the most impact, and how you can sustain that change in order to realize the true value and return on your cloud tech investment.

Welcome to part three, the final instalment — sustaining change. Bring it home Claudia!

Click here to read part one.

Click here to read part two.

This final phase is the most difficult to get right. If we think back to the first phase where we imagined our ultimate (changed) future state, getting to that ideal future ultimately relies on making the change stick in the long term. Ask yourself — how are we going to sustain this change six or 12 months from now? What measures are we going to put in place to track success? Ultimately, you’re changing behavior and successful behavior change requires time, continued investment, and focused effort.

What a lot of businesses fail to do, once the bulk of implementation activities are complete, is map out a series of activities over the next six to 12 months to make the change really stick. Those activities should be benchmarked against a number of KPIs that track the speed of adoption and proficiency of use over time. This can be achieved by including measures such as active usage numbers, repeat usage, number of service desk calls, and staff surveys that track sentiment and capture quality feedback.

But before setting KPIs, it’s important to stop and take a look back. Dedicate some time to taking stock of the activities implemented while your change initiative was in full swing. What was successful, what wasn’t successful? What were the lessons learnt?

Collect and analyze feedback

When collecting and analyzing feedback, you want to include a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. This could include sending out surveys that leverage well-established measures, such as the Likert rating scale or multiple choice, to measure attitudes. It’s a good idea to balance these with some open-ended qualitative questions that give you rich, invaluable feedback from the people who are living and breathing the change every day. This could include questions like, ‘What have you found most valuable about this change?’, or, ‘What have you found to be a struggle?’.

You’ve spent all this time planning, and great expense delivering and engaging with stakeholders across the business. Now it’s time to go back to those people and ask, ‘What’s actually changed in your world? How has this change improved your working life?’ Go and capture those stories by asking some nice, thought-provoking questions. For example, if you’ve made a brand around your change campaign, you could ask, ‘What does connected working mean to you?’, or, ‘How has connected working helped you better service our clients or community?’

The reason we capture feedback and collect data throughout the project is to inform the set of activities that need to happen post implementation. By collecting data in this way, you’re placing the needs of the user front and centre, rather than relying on your instinct about what should be done next.

It’s also crucial to keep reporting in this phase. Cycling back to collect and analyze data. That means, if you’re rolling out a new technology for example, checking if there are particular periods or months where there’s higher usage than others. Trying to pinpoint why that could be and leveraging that in order to capitalize on the higher usage months.

Diagnose gaps (re-engage)

Where are there gaps? Where do we need to manage resistance? Asking these questions will help you pinpoint pockets of resistance and highlight teams or influential stakeholders that you may need to re-engage.

When re-engaging team members, it’s important to provide them with the information they will find relevant and will hear. Make sure to tailor your messaging to the level of user you’re speaking to rather than relying on your standard key messages and party line.

For example, if you need to re-engage a senior sponsor, you’d probably want to provide them with information on the projected return on investment for your change initiative, how you’ve improved productivity, or increased employee satisfaction. Make sure to couple this with the numbers and hard facts, something along the lines of ‘Our staff saved X number of hours, which attributed to X dollars saved as part of this initiative being rolled out.’ That’s what a sponsor — or any executive — wants to know about. They tend to be less interested in the nitty gritty details. It’s about how this change contributes to the big picture and strategic vision of the business.

Celebrate success

Those rich user stories we talked about earlier can be used to celebrate the success of your change. Share those stories far and wide, so you can reinforce the change with other staff members.

Usually people like to compare themselves with how their peers are using a particular system. They don’t really want to hear from the comms team, the change manager, or the IT manager about how great this new technology is. They want real examples, which is why it’s really important to collect and share those stories.

Celebrating success is all about demonstrating, in a meaningful way, how the new technology has enabled people to do their best work. Because, ultimately, it’s not about the technology, but helping businesses better service their customers, improve the employee experience and create lasting impact.  

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