Lessons for Today’s CIO: Debunking Change Management Challenges

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A modern workforce demands modern solutions—from the mission statement to hiring practices to motion-activated hand dryers in the bathroom—and your document management system is no exception.

Your organization has likely been working with the same PDF software for the last decade, if not longer. Making the shift to a next-level document productivity solution requires thoughtful change management. Even if there is basic consensus that the current system is broken, the logistical hurdles to making this switch may still seem overwhelming.

Barriers to Change

For many CIOs and IT teams, the roadblocks to change are a combination of three factors:

  1. Limited resources. Change takes time and effort, both of which always seem to be in short supply. Who has time to step back and evaluate your document management best practices when you’re already stretched thin?
  2. Unclear benefits. Software changes affect teams differently, and not all may see the bigger picture for the company when their lives are disrupted by a new tool.
  3. Fear of the unknown. Change is almost always hard and scary. Without a clear picture of how their lives will benefit, employees may dig in their heels and cling to the familiar.

These potential obstacles to progress are far less likely to negatively impact your goals with effective change management, which can provide benefits to your staff and customers.

The New Change Management Landscape

Enterprise organizations face a completely new paradigm when changing vendors compared to five or 10 years ago. Updates to software that once came annually can now arrive weekly, hourly, or on a developer’s whim. Most organizations of size will likely need to run old and new products concurrently for a period of time as contracts are negotiated, systems tested, and staff trained—a process known as the surround strategy.

The first step in any type of transformation should be to make a plan, and its main focus should be change management, the golden thread running through the entire project.

Transparency and Communication

More often than not, major software rollouts happen with the flip of a switch and little advance notice or context provided to the staff who will be most affected in the day-to-day. Your employee experience fuels the customer experience, so include them in your process and provide them with training to ensure a smooth rollout.

Once you know your “go live” date, work backward and allow time to properly communicate the strategy and logistics of the change. Leave time for feedback and in-person or digital opportunities for people to comment. If necessary, push back the launch date. A small delay up front that allows all teams to get on board will pay off down the road with greater buy-in and fewer hiccups.

Proactively Prepare for Resistance

Even the most well-planned communication strategy won’t satisfy all the naysayers. Resistance to change is inevitable. How you plan for it means the difference between a software solution that’s seen as an invaluable tool and one that’s actively despised and avoided.

Communicate the benefits to each user, and the messaging may need to vary across departments. The product team might be motivated by the ease of collaboration, sales might be jazzed by how eSign speeds up contracts, and finance will probably sleep better knowing that purchase order processes are far more predictable.

Choose a Vendor with a Roadmap

Modernizing your PDF solution may be an ideal first step toward digitization. An efficient, flexible document management system has the potential to have an impact on every employee’s productivity and, as a result, the customer experience. Your technology partner must understand these priorities and have a proven roadmap to successful digital transformation.

Case Study: Howden

World-class engineering firm Howden needed a reliable document productivity partner to provide scalable document solutions. Nitro’s training and educational resources proved essential to a smooth transition and increased adoption among the staff. Howden’s standardized PDF solution reduces the risk of noncompliance, improves security, and accelerates productivity across the organization.

Case Study: Zebra Technologies

When business strategy innovator Zebra Technologies made a major acquisition in 2014, it needed a document solution that could be easily and quickly integrated across the staffs of both organizations. Nitro helped craft educational materials and communications that minimized user pushback and increased adoption. In addition, Nitro’s Microsoft-inspired interface made the transition painless and allowed workflows to continue with minimal disruption.

Get Started

When executed correctly, change management increases worker productivity (and ROI); saves money; and, most importantly, creates happy employees and enthusiastic customers. Read more on how to guide your company through these crucial transitions.

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