Simple Guide to Perfect Change Management for SaaS Software
What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘change management’? For most, it may seem like an over-rated business measure which is more jazz than fact. You might be inclined to believe this as the idea of change management sounds simplistic. Why does something as obvious like ‘change’ be needed to manage? Well, it’s one of those things that is almost no jazz and all facts. Change management isn’t easy.
Tech adoption and change management go hand in hand. You may invest billions in the latest tech, but if your people aren’t using it properly and getting the most benefit out of it, you would never see the full extent of benefits. What’s worse, you won’t be introduced to significant business opportunities that might come from using this tech right. Because people used the Internet right, they could create better and better ways of using it and continually improving on it.
First, get the most innovative solutions. This will open-up immense potential for your company. But it’s still predictive and on-paper. How do you make these predicted numbers a reality?
Also, let’s assume for a moment that your competitor gets similar solutions. Does it just level the playing field, meaning, you pushed a billion dollars to just ‘stay in the game’? What makes the tech you are using more efficient for your company? Using it the right way. If the competitor used it better, they would end up with fresher business insights, apply it faster, turn around more profits and eventually edge you out. You need to get ahead. How? Change management. Train your folks in the best way of doing things.
How to go about driving proper change management?
We won’t tell you right now how to zero-in on the right software for your company. You can check our website for that. But impromptu marketing aside, since you have time spent time evaluating a software, conducted proofs-of-concept, business impact studies, and detailed return-of-investment analysis, you are well aware of what you are bringing in and how would you use it.
Now, you bring together a team with distinct and helpful skill sets to guide the implementation through, the ‘implementation team’. When you were evaluating the software, you probably had different teams test the ‘fit’ of the software for your company. Different stakeholders would have been bought in to interact with possible vendors, and the final ‘best’ solution would have been chosen. So, when you go to the actual implementation of this software, why would you go for an ad-hoc and direct approach? Bring in a team on it. This team would strategize the ideal roll-out plan with clear timelines and easily quantified deliverables.
Here are some pointers which you need to keep in mind to make change management a success.
Build a detailed business-impact report
- Identify all touch points and users influenced/engaged
- Identify all processes the software would affect
- Identify clear benefits for each of these processes/user groups (like it would save 50% of delivery planning time for the managers 30% of travel time for the delivery associates)
- Keep the KPIs neat and clear to understand
- Chart out how many people would be directly affected by the change/software and at what stage in the process.
- Identify how much would each of the stakeholders use the software for their work / Identify the level of involvement of each stakeholder at different stages of the process.
Create a robust communication plan
- Take the impact study and communicate in the simplest terms the exact benefit each user (group) would get from successful implementation of the software
- This is a very important step. Many implementations fail as the actual users don’t realize the benefit of the same and hence, don’t use it to its full potential. This means that the management doesn’t see the expected return on investment (clearly because the software is not fully used in the way it is supposed to be used).
- This compromises the benefits, prompting the management to either discontinue the software or look for a new one.
- It further adds too much pressure on the costs and frustration of the new software discovery.
- And why? Because the software wasn’t used properly the first time.
- Also, when you are not using the software properly, but your competitor is, then they are better equipped to gain key insights that would improve their business.
- Proper communication plan in change management is absolutely critical to its success.
Create a clear implementation plan
- Create a perfect training plan spread over time (part session, part on-the-job)
- Based on the impact study, identify how much training each person would need to realize the full benefit of the software
- Chart out timelines for training at least a critical number of users (minimum requirement for successful launch)
- If required extend the training through a hub and spoke method where the trained people train new people
- For this, create a detailed training program with clear guidelines.
- Follow the training process closely to ensure all the required users are educated about the software and how to use it.
Delegate ownership to the respective (implementation) team members
The skill sets of the implementation team would cover people who can drive new innovation, people who are adept and creating collaboration between teams, people who are deeply aligned with the point-of-view of the end-users and can bring their concerns back to the team before it becomes a resistance or dissent.
- There can be more specific skill sets for the implementation team depending on the company culture.
- Identify the key champion and key change agents for the software from within the team.
- The champion would have almost complete knowledge about the incoming software. The change agent would drive the implementation and adoption of the software among the user groups.
After the initial stages of implementation, track all progress reports closely
- Identify bottlenecks, if any.
- Find instances where the software isn’t used in the ideal away and re-educate the concerned people immediately.
- Don’t let confusion foster for too long.
Build on the initial momentum of implementation to guide towards total tech adoption
- Go back to the KPIs set earlier to measure successful software implementation.
- Trach each KPI to check if they are covered/fulfilled.
- Constantly track software feedback from the on-ground users to know of possibilities of customizations that would improve the user interface and drive higher adoption.
And finally, celebrate and appreciate the efforts of all the stakeholders, implementers and users alike. Acknowledge their efforts and communicate to them that with the successful implementation, the company can be more profitable and efficient.
This would go a long way in internalizing the relation between technology adoption and high business growth. It would make the company more open towards tech upgrades and changes with minimal resistance.