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How to Handle Challenging IT Change Management Projects

Mar 5, 2024

Many factors define a successful, sustainable company, but one of the most important ingredients is the ability to handle change effectively. Change management may be a relatively new concept, but it’s especially important for today’s IT companies, who compete in a landscape that’s beset by constant change and sudden shifts.

Dyopath How To Handle Challenging It Change Management Projects

Ultimately, a company that is capable of handling transitions and transformations comfortably and successfully can stand the test of time.

In this article, we’ll look at what change management is, why it’s so important for IT companies, and how to handle the many challenges involved.

What Is Change Management?

Change management is a structured way of approaching the necessary changes in your organization. This can involve major one-off changes like a digital transformation process or ongoing, smaller changes like updating tools and processes.

Fundamentally, change management is about overseeing and handling changes smoothly to ensure minimal error and maximal collaboration from your team.

And it’s more important than ever. According to research by digital adoption platform WalkMe, 79.7% of people need to adapt their business every two to five years, so handling change the right way is critical.

Key Benefits & Challenges of Change Management in IT

In the IT space, changes tend to happen more frequently and severely than in many other industries. Working on the cutting edge of technological progress, IT organizations need to be adept at enacting and managing key changes. Here’s why change management is so important in IT:

  • Customers demand better services constantly, and IT teams are expected to embrace and implement new technologies and solutions fast.
  • Downtime can be enormously costly in IT — with average costs approaching $9,000 per minute. Failing to manage change efficiently and smoothly can have disastrous consequences.
  • IT organizations are subject to strict and ever-changing regulations around things like data privacy and customer protections, requiring major changes to be made regularly.

On top of being extremely important, change management is also notoriously difficult. In fact, the aforementioned WalkMe research suggests that only about 34% of change initiatives succeed. Why is this number so low? Here are some of the main reasons why change management fails:

  • Resistance to change from teams. This could stem from a lack of understanding about why change is needed, burnout from constant attempts to implement change, or disagreements over the necessity of change.
  • Insufficient resources to implement change. This is especially true in IT, where major transformations can become expensive if not properly managed.
  • Confusion and lack of direction. If the members of your organization lack clarity, direction, and an awareness of their specific role in change management, it’s much harder to succeed.

A rigid, change-averse company culture. If your organization is more set in its ways and siloed, change can be much harder to implement compared to a more agile company.

Dyopath How To Handle Challenging It Change Management Projects

The best way to maximize the benefits and mitigate the risks of change management, then, is to develop a solid strategy to handle change and ensure that strategy is accessible to your entire team.

How to Handle Change Management Challenges

So, how can companies approach these challenges to have the best chance of change management success? Let’s take a look at some key tips.

Prioritize Communication, Collaboration & Transparency

One of the main reasons change management attempts fail is because of a disconnect between team members. For example, even though 74% of leaders say they involve employees when building a change strategy, only 42% of employees agree.

Part of successful change management is making sure everyone is aligned and working together. This means making collaboration a priority through regular meetings, ongoing updates, and the use of collaboration platforms.

Get Buy-in From Leaders & Decision Makers

Change needs to happen at all levels of the organization, but it’s much easier if you have the support of your leadership. Put together a strong, compelling case for the need for change, and present this to decision makers. Make sure to have data, realistic projections, and a clearly outlined roadmap, and be prepared to field any questions.

If you can convince your decision makers that change is necessary and get them to agree on the right path to achieving it, your change management process will stand a much better chance of succeeding.

Keep It Clear & Focused

Change can be confusing — especially when it involves multiple moving parts in a large, complex organization. As such, clarity and direction are essential in change management.

Everyone should have a clear idea of what they need to do and how their specific role intersects with the overall change management goals. Have specific objectives to work towards, and ideally, outline key metrics to track.

Clearly Understand Regulations

Based on your industry, you may be required to follow regulations. These rules change constantly and include frameworks like GDPR and CCPA — designed to protect users’ personal data. Running afoul of these regulations can result in eye-watering penalties.

Your change management process should factor in regulations, ensuring you remain in compliance at all times.

Prioritize Tasks to Optimize Resource Allocation

Change management in the world of IT can quickly become an expensive process. New technologies cost money, and any errors can result in devastating downtime.

From the beginning, you must make sure to prioritize and organize your activities in a way that uses resources as efficiently as possible, saving costs and minimizing the risk of expensive setbacks.

How DYOPATH Can Help

Change management is best approached with support from an expert. At DYOPATH, we can help you prepare for and implement IT change management, guiding you through the process and helping you avoid common pitfalls.

Contact us to find out more.