3 Key Challenges of Software Change Management

* This article is part of a White Paper called “How to Create a Painless Software Change Experience in the Financial Service Industry.”

Getting it right in change management is obviously a worthwhile objective.

Gottfredson (2013) reported that:

‘Cigna [US Health Insurance provider] saw an accelerated adoption of their PS solution with an 84% daily utilization resulting in a 6% productivity increase, and a $2,375 cost savings per employee per year.’

Challenges

Three key challenges of software change management are:

  • Controlling the technical risk of the change.
  • Controlling the human and process risk of the change. In most financial services companies these are tightly interlinked. Much of the de-skilling has already taken place.
  • Maximizing the business benefits of the change. This involves the delivery of the benefits realization plan objectives, particularly those relating to the current financial year when there can be little time to recover from slippage if front-office financial targets are to be achieved.

The latter two challenges are intimately linked and it is essential that th objectives of the change strategy are formulated and managed with that in mind.

If the business’s staff do not get up-to-speed with the change in the time allowed, then the impact can be very serious. The UK’s Cooperative Bank was brought to its knees in 2013 by an overambitious IT project.

iStock-Unfinished-Business-5

This is what the Harvard Business Review (2014) said in its review of the official report into the fiasco:

‘Are we getting the benefits? Surprisingly, this is the question that receives the least attention in most enterprises: Few measure or assess whether expected benefits have been delivered. This question also cannot be delegated to the CIO.

In ensuring that expected benefits are realized and sustained, the CEO must be the person accountable for maximizing value from the portfolio of business change investments’.

Objectives

Based on these challenges, the key objectives for a software change process (above and beyond the obvious technical change objectives) should be:

  • To maximize speed-to-competence at minimized cost – this is the basic conundrum faced by executives.
  • To effectively control risk – in people as well as process.
  •  To recognize resistance to formal change management and to use activities within change management specifically targeted to overcome that resistance. This is a recursive approach which is almost unique across the portfolio of everyday management processes.

This article is part of a White Paper called “How to Create a Painless Software Change Experience in the Financial Service Industry.”

Claim your free copy by filling the form below.

The White Paper covers a range of topics including:

Chapter 1: 3 Key Challenges of Software Change Management

Chapter 2: What is Performance Support and How Can it Help Employees Get to Grip With New Software Configuration?

Chapter 3: How Performance Support Brings Clear Value to Ensuring Smooth Software Changes.

Christopher Smith
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.
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