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The importance of people change management in ITSM

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Many companies invest in extensive research and analysis before selecting and implementing any IT Service Management (ITSM) solution, writes Edward Carbutt, executive director at Marval Africa. This includes stipulating the important criteria, researching testimonials from existing users at the selection phase, to carefully planning the implementation of the service to cause minimum disruption at the deployment phase. There are a number of considerations to take into account to ensure the solution is the best fit for an organisation.
One area that is often neglected, though, is how to manage the change that a new solution brings, and its effect on the organisation and its people.
Effective change management is a ‘make or break’ consideration when introducing a new solution. Obtaining ‘buy in’ from the staff is an important component and is often the hardest part of implementing change. Lack of buy in, or user adoption, from staff can hinder a solution’s success to the point of total failure. User adoption of a new solution not only ensures the capability of the solution is fully realised through use, but also provides other fundamental benefits that enable organisations to improve their service, expand their market share and increase their profits.
The main imperative for an organisation implementing change is to be proactive. A key part of effective change management is having a good communication strategy. Early communication to internal stakeholders can prepare them for the transition and even encourage them to look forward to the new change. However, highlighting the benefits to the individual specifically brings about the best success.
People who know how the change best serves them, such as by making their own job easier, or enabling more profit which translates to better salary increases, are more likely to embrace the change and even promote it internally.
Organisations that effectively market the change to their staff, creating an awareness of the benefits that it brings, while being realistic about the possible transitional difficulties, avoid the possibility of concept being rejected at the first hurdle.
IT departments are usually responsible for implementing new solutions, however, they should not be driving organisational change management. Having a role such as Service Management Officer (SMO) to oversee change management would aid in a smoother transition from the old solution to the new. Change management is about effective communication and proper processes, and an SMO can ensure these are in place and followed.
Part of change management should cover training and knowledge of the new solution. When people know how to use a new solution or technology, and how to extract the best value from it for their own purposes, they are more likely to continue using it. Proper training ensures that people are au fait with a solution and will use it properly to the benefit of the organisation once implemented.
Underpinning the training and implementation of a new solution are effective and efficient processes. Processes outline the way something is supposed to work, and the way people fit into that equation. When processes are properly in place, integration of a new solution can be seamless, as these processes will provide the “how to” component of the implementation. Processes that are easily communicated and followed will arm the workforce with the knowledge and ensure the success of the new solution.
Buy in can also be encouraged by involving staff to be part of the implementation process. When people feel that they are considered an important component of the solution, they feel valued. People who are consulted about their challenges and asked for their opinion – within reason – even before a solution is chosen are more likely to embrace a new solution if they know that it may address their specific challenges, and that they have been involved – no matter how much – in the solution selection.
People can ensure a solution’s successful outcome or its downfall. It is up to the organisation to create a mindset of service quality within its workforce, through communication, processes and effective change management.