Changing the Culture

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-02-09 Print this article Print


In many businesses, the process of adopting change management software is the event that moves organizational efficiency forward. "It can really clean up your act as a company," Duggan says. "Companies that are notorious for bad IT systems are companies that have poor change systems or practices."

Making change management work

In some companies change management needs a cultural shift to work. Such companies often reward "IT heroes" who make their reputations by fighting fires and overcoming disaster rather than those who avert disaster by planning ahead and managing the process. Change management systems can't help these companies unless they commit to changing that part of their culture.

Sometimes the cultural shift happens after a realization that the company has been rescued a few too many times to continue on in the same way. Or the shift takes place because the board or the CEO decides that change management is necessary and issues a directive. But in whatever case, everyone in charge of the process must agree.

Once the stakeholders agree to the necessity of change, then they have to agree on the process. The process does not have to be a companywide solution. In fact, it should be a limited solution that can be clearly identified, the process of change needs to be well understood and the results should be immediately measurable. Once the first step is taken and is successful then the next steps can be taken, and more of the organization can benefit from change management.

In the case of Uponor, for example, change management came first to the IT department where the person in charge had a limited goal and a clear path and directive, and where improvements were easy to measure. Then other departments joined in, and eventually the company expanded change management to its manufacturing division and its European head office.

The existence of an international standard for change management has helped make it easier to spread the adoption of change management. The ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) includes a set of best practices for change management. Notably, this is not a software standard, but rather a set of procedures, practices and concepts. Change management software can use those practices to define how it handles change within an organization.

But the critical thing to realize is that change management software is only a tool that helps organizations manage change. Without a commitment to change and a process that works, the tool is useless.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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