Implementation Insights Blog

Implementation Management Associates help organizations around the world achieve large-scale, complex change. This blog discusses our insights into organizational change.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gaining User Adoption for Business Change Projects

One of the consistent challenges facing organizations today is how to get sustained user adoption for organizational business change projects. User adoption is directly linked to Return on Investment. If there is no behavior change (meaning adoption) there is no Return on Investment for the business change project.

We find that organizations are very focused on building a financial business case up-front for initiatives. Business and technical objectives are determined, but rarely are the human objectives for the business change project also identified. What is it that people will be doing differently as a result of this business change project? How will user adoption be measured?

There is some recent research focused specifically on IT user adoption that points out (once again) that the human elements of IT implementations are the key to accelerated user adoption for these business change projects. The research notes that while there has been improvement in user adoption rates, they still remain at about 50%-- meaning that almost half the targets of the business change project are not adopting the technology on a sustained basis.

This failure to gain full adoption is a problem for types of all business change projects-- not just technology changes.

If these human objectives aren't identified up front then it is difficult to measure whether or not they have been achieved on the back end. That's why defining the change, including defining the human objectives, is an important component of the Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM.)

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Getting Leaders Prepared for the Journey of Transformational Change

This past month we published an article on Why Transformational Change is Difficult: What Leaders Should Know Before the Journey of Transformational Change. The reason for the article was that so many clients call us asking for help on a transformational change effort, yet they really don't have the sponsorship they need to be successful!

The reality is that once the decision has been made to embark on a transformational change effort, and the strategy is designed, you are only 15% of the way there. The really long and hard work is that 85% of the work effort remains, and it bears repeating that "implementation is a ferociously resource-consuming activity."

Transformational change means doing different things differently. Too many senior leaders are unprepared to commit themselves personally to the business transformation, and don't fully understand the personal and organizational costs that must be committed to the transformational change effort. Transformational change can't be done incrementally either, because once you step into the abyss there is no way back up the cliff.

That's why you really need a structured approach to this type of enterprisewide change!

If leaders are unprepared to do the hard work of business transformation, it is better not to even begin the journey. Leaders just lose credibility and trust in the organization, and trust and speed are functional. That means future implementations are likely to stall out or even fail.

The article cites 5 reminders for leaders:
1. Be prepared for a 3 to 5 year commitment to the transformational change
2. The business transformation must be a top priority
3. The transformational change starts at the top-- leaders must express, model, and reinforce doing different things differently.
4. Know that the transformational change will be resource intensive
5. Leaders must have the requisite "managerial courage" because it won't magically appear further down the organization.

As we noted in the article, senior leaders must understand that transformational change begins with them.

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