With the recent upsurge in IT related activities, IT change management tools are needed to help primitive businesses incorporate IT into their activities. IT changes management tools however, fall under a larger general category of change management. However, what exactly is change management? Well it is a structured approach that ensures changes to a business are effectively and smoothly implemented. This makes sure an organization can enjoy and achieve benefits that come along with change. The changes could range from simple changes in process to huge changes in company’s policy.
Various IT Change Management Tools
IT change management tools are key for one to implement IT into the structure of their business. However, these tools are not pulled into one general category. They are spread over different categories, which include understanding, planning, and implementing of change. Each category has many tools and we will only go over a few of this IT change management tools under each category.
1. Understanding Change
Here, we will go over ‘The Change Curve’, which is one of the most important IT change management tools. It shows and explains the various stages that people transition when change is implemented. It can help one be prepared for the expected reaction and plan how to support them. The problem is that implantation of new IT systems does not bring change by itself as it requires the employees within the organization to also adapt. It is only after they have accepted and transitioned that the real change can be seen. The change curve mainly consist of four stages
Stage 1 – Here the people are in shock/denial over the new systems. They usually do not understand what is happening and they simply want help. Thus, good communication is necessary to ensure you do not overwhelm employees.
Stage 2 – This is the stage where the employees are angry. They resist change and they feel the urge to express and vent out their anger. It is the most delicate stage and if not handled well could lead to the collapse of a company.
Stage 3 – Here the storm has weathered and the employees are starting to accept the change. They will test or figure out the new systems and with support, they start to pull it off over a period of time.
Stage 4 – This is the stage that the change really takes off. The workers are fully committed and embrace the new systems. Here one is assured that the IT change management tools have worked.
2. Planning Change
In this category of IT management tools, impact analysis is the most widely used. It is made to identify potential negative and positive effects that may arise with IT related change on an organization. It usually follows the following steps.
i. Preparation – Here you assemble a team of experts and have the right facts and information. Ensure that the proposed change is clearly defined and everyone is briefed about it.
ii. Brainstorming of major areas affected – Here you brainstorm all possible areas that can be affected due to implementation of IT systems. Invest a lot of time in this step so as to identify all major areas.
iii. Identify all areas – After identifying the major areas, access every area in detail to determine different elements that could be affected in the individual areas.
iv. Evaluate impacts – By now you will have identified all major areas that are going to be affected. Go over this list stating the negative and positive effects. This will give a rough estimate of the impact and effects of the decision.
v. Manage consequences – After evaluation, one would have separated the good effects from the bad. Find various ways to neutralize the bad effects. If they ways seem logical, it is time to start implementing the change.
3. Implementing Change
Another set of important IT change management tools fall in this category. The Kotter’s 8-step change model is quite a popular tool in this category. The steps include:
a) Creating urgency – Here you make an organization think they really need change fast. This could be done in various ways but the point is to make the intended change urgent. This ultimately makes the organization more receptive and open to change.
b) Form a strong rapport – Convince as many people as possible that change is necessary. It may require strong leadership skills but once you have the numbers on your side; it will be easier to push for change.
c) Create a vision for change – If you want to implement change, there are usually ideas driving it. Combine these ideas with the peoples overall vision to give them a clear target. This helps them figure out how change will affect their personal motives thus making more sense to them.
d) Communicate your vision – Communicate frequently and incorporate the message of change in everything you do. This will remind people constantly about change and they are bound to respond sooner or later.
e) Remove obstacles – Put certain people, structures and processes that resist or hinder change in their place. This will empower people to follow your vision and help implement change.
f) Create short-term wins – The best way to stay motivated is to actually have some success. Make sure the company is successful in a relatively short time due to the implemented change. This ensures an organization maintains it confidence in the change process and upholds it.
g) Build on change – Short-term wins are important but success can only be measured in the long-term. It is thus important to build on success every time and this will ensure continuity of good fortunes.
h) Incorporate change in corporate structure – This is the last step and it seeks to make the change last. Making it become core in the business operations will ensure it sticks. This will require great effort but it is worthwhile to make the change permanent.
As it can be seen, implementing IT related change could be a very challenging process without using IT change management tools. It does not only include implementing new systems but also changing the entire ideology and perception of people. Luckily, the IT change management tools help a great deal and go a long way in implementing change.
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