The Changing Nature of Change Management

The goal remains the same, but the change management game has evolved. It’s less about planning for future changes and all about becoming more agile in order to effectively handle constant change.

Businesses need to be able to innovate rapidly and continuously implement improvements. They need to seek out any advancement that lets them work smarter, move faster, and ultimately take advantage of every opportunity before the competition beats them to it. To this end, data sharing and collaboration increasingly determine just how fast an organization can move.

Change has become a constant force, but change has always been profoundly difficult. Human nature strongly resists change and the same holds true for business.   For organizations, more change can equate to more risks and more potential for business disruptions if it is not managed effectively.

Start at the top

Take time to examine the current change management programs and evaluate them in terms of their ability to promote agile, smart evolutions in the work place. A cross-functional team can be tasked with the evaluation. The questions to be asked and answered should start at the top, and then span all of the teams that implement change management.  The following questions should be addressed as part of any effective change management program evaluation:

  • Is there a high-level (i.e., executive-level) commitment to change management?
  • Does change management align with the top-priority goals of the organization?
  • Do employees and IT have the appropriate tools for managing change?
  • How is progress tracked and evaluated?
  • Are change management processes dependent on manual oversight?
  • What systems, tools and technologies enable the change management workflows?
  • What are the bottlenecks in the workflows, and are these bottlenecks encouraging unsanctioned process deviations that expose the company to risks?

Signs of weakness – Identifying areas of inefficiency and risk

During the review of current change management practices, be especially attentive to any potential red flags. These can include productivity issues – any process that is taking up a lot of time for employees, managers, or both. Errors that impact the quality of products or services should also be highlighted and quantitatively evaluated.

Within many industries, liabilities will be a top-priority consideration when evaluating change management. What aspects of change management could potentially put the organization at risk for non-compliance with regulations or place the company at significant financial, operational or legal risk?

Power play: aligning document management and change management

Equipped with a solid understanding of the current strengths and weaknesses of change management, it is time to consider new strategies and tools. Many organizations today, for example, are making major shifts in their document management software (DMS) systems as a way to boost agility.

The latest generation of DMS solutions can directly improve change management in a variety of ways. By introducing more advanced document control, an organization changes the way that digital information assets are viewed, managed and reported upon.

Improved visibility and management of documents is particularly beneficial for change management. Everyone can work from a single source of truth, with up-to-date facts and details. A modern DMS solution also equips employees with faster access to all information. Since performance positively impacts their everyday tasks, employees become proponents of the new platform and the associated changes, which drives user adoption. Agility is developed from the ground up.

An effective foundation for document management can also help departments and change management teams better integrate previously siloed information. Access to broader sources of information drive better decision-making and make it possible to get more value out of all digital information assets.

For IT, the alignment of document management with change management enables more effective management and control of infrastructure and software resources. Increased visibility, intelligent control capabilities, improved tracking and logging and many other DMS advancements allow IT to tune the information infrastructure and improve oversights to suit change management.

Beating the clock

Developing more information-centric foundations for change management inherently enhances productivity. Individual contributors waste less time looking for the right information, and teams can better collaborate when working from consistent, accurate information.

Moving forward, businesses can also build on a solid DMS foundation to introduce more automated change management. Previously email-centric review and approval cycles can be replaced with automated workflows that push documents and related content to the right people at the right time. Security controls and access permissions can also be easily controlled and automated with a document management system. For example, permissions can be set so that only reviewers can make changes once a document reaches a certain state.

So the game is changing, but with the necessary commitment to change management, agile businesses can quickly pivot to meet ever changing market conditions.