Enterprise: Digital change management approaches

Enterprise: Digital change management approaches

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

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One of the most challenging and complex undertakings that any organisation must pursue as part of its digital transformation journey is change management. Why is this the case? To understand the challenge, we will first look at some of the previously discussed components in the digital transformation path and link them to the puzzle that is change management. So far, we have talked about strategy, people, culture, process and governance. What may not be immediately apparent is how each of these, by nature, makes change and change management uniquely tricky.

The change conundrum

Traditional organisations find that their successes come from good people in the right positions with clear values, sensible strategy, stringent processes and sound governance. All combined, these create what is known as the organisation's internal culture. As we have discussed before, people and culture are often viewed as the most significant problems most organisations face when embarking on the digital age's transformative journey. But why is this?

The answer lies in the fact that these traditional old-world processes, standards, and policies were not flexible, nor were they meant to be changed by their very nature. Responding to dynamic customer service demands was not in their DNA. Instead, they were designed to ensure that resources (people) did things in a repeatable or programmed way to produce a particular product or service. For the most part, it worked and still works but with no process for meeting change in the environment.

Bad culture is often blamed for resistance to any form of change within an organisation. But the truth is that it was how processes were initially designed. The result is vehement opposition at ALL levels to what must occur for an organisation to transform digitally.

Change management in the digital age

To move into the digital age and digitally transform, organisations must embrace a new form of change management. No longer is change management exercise limited to specific projects that an organisation undertakes. Change management in the Digital Age must now become a permanent feature of daily business operations. New change management methods must focus more on a fast, continuous change that allows a business to be more agile in responding to rapidly changing customer needs. The notion of one-time, big change projects will no longer work. Digital change management never stops, demanding iterative and dynamic approaches.

To survive the fierce competition in the digital era, organisations must embrace the new paradigm of continuous change and adopt the latest methods of managing this shift. Once these approaches are understood and actioned, the organisation will realise a natural shift in its culture. That is when the real fun begins, which takes us to the final component of this pillar, digital innovation the topic we will explore next week.

Trevor Forrest is Founder and CEO of 876 Technology Solutions. Christopher Reckord is CEO of Managed IT services provider tTech Limited. Collectively, they have approximately 80 years of experience helping organisations of varying sizes procure and implement information technology solutions and transform digitally.

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