Managing change within organisations is often considered one of the most arduous tasks for bosses, but also and ultimately one of the most necessary and rewarding.
The IT division often plays a key part in the process, as technology enables simpler, faster business and work processes. Nevertheless, when complex business tranformation happens, such as implementing an e-commerce plan, a customer relationship management system or crunching together the sometimes rough edges of companies during a merger, a very common refrain from executives is that it's much more about people and change management than technology.
For CRM, for example, specialists talk about building a change management plan. This is best achieved by actually finding out how employees are set up to deal with customers, what changes are necessary and how much training is required.
It turns out that change management scoops the pool with New Zealand IT directors. In its latest MIS MarketTrends survey, Fairfax Business Research found that as key project challenges go, change management was mentioned by 21.7% of respondents (116 projects reported), nearly double that of the next challenge, user buy-in (12%).
This was followed by integration and resource/time constraints (both mentioned by an average 9.8% of respondents, system performance (7.6%), senior management backing and training (both 6.5%).
Perhaps execs have pulled ahead of the bell curve in understanding the need to champion worthwhile IT projects. We can only hope. FBR suggests that because technical change is not as prominent as pure management issues, it is likely the IT manager is increasingly removed from the technical coal-face.
These findings mirror those recorded in Australia.
Is managing change overrated? Email Broatch.