MODERN CHANGE MANAGEMENT

A Research Report on Misperceptions, Trends, and Strategies for Success.

Introduction

There’s a significant discrepancy between the way IT leaders talk about handling change management and the strategies put in place to actually execute these initiatives, according to recent market research among over 330 IT Managers, Directors, Vice Presidents, and CIOs from around the world.

In an anonymous survey, these technology experts shared insights into how their organizations manage the changes associated with new software implementations—from revealing how they measure success to evaluating the level of change management support provided by today’s software vendors.

This report presents the survey’s results, which reveal a variety of interesting disconnects between IT’s perceptions of effective change management, the associated success metrics, and a vendor’s expected role throughout implementation. Based on this research, we’ve compiled specific recommendations for organizations seeking to strengthen and streamline their change management strategies.

intro-wheels

We asked IT leaders...

Has a vendor’s level of change management support ever played a role in your decision to sign an agreement?
What challenges have you experienced during a software implementation?
How do you measure the success of a software implementation?
What change management strategies have been effective when implementing new software?
In your organization, who typically leads software change management initiatives?
What are the most important factors you consider when evaluating a software vendor?

Summary of findings

Change management is a top concern for IT personnel evaluating software partners.

Three out of four respondents stated that a vendor's level of change management support has played a role in their decision to sign an agreement (or not).

87% ranked customer support resources as an "important" factor in a software vendor evaluation, including 43% who said the offering was "critical."

What are organizations currently doing, or not doing, in the realm of change management?

Organizations currently have the most success with user testing, with 95% saying it’s an effective strategy.

Insufficient user training is a common pain point, with 42% of organizations identifying it as a challenge.

A collective 37% say user training, whether led in-house (19%) or managed by a vendor (18%), was ineffective during software implementations.

The most neglected change management strategy is user adoption tracking—one in four organizations do not effectively watch this metric.

How do organizations define change management success, and what are the common pain points?

User satisfaction (71%), productivity gains (67%), and user adoption rates (57%) are the most common goals for new software implementations.

The most common challenges to face respondents are the strain on IT time and resources (67%), user resistance to change (55%), and having multiple user groups with varying needs (53%).

Nearly half of respondents feel software vendors have room to improve upon the quality of change management resources they provide.

Research Insights

The Disconnect
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Disconnect between goals and strategies

Over 50% of respondents reported user resistance to change as a main challenge of software implementations—an important hurdle to overcome, considering user satisfaction was the top success metric cited by our respondents (71%).

However, onboarding/rollout and user training—two valuable change management strategies that can improve a user’s experience with new software early on—ranked among the least important factors that respondents hold vendors accountable for during a software evaluation process.

The Tracking
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Success metrics, user adoption, and tracking

While 57% say user adoption is a key success metric to observe, fewer than one in 15 track this—and even those who do find it ineffective.

Nearly 25% of respondents said they struggle with lack of visibility into usage and adoption during a software implementation, even though CIOs ranked usage analytics as the most critical vendor offering (tied with ease of adoption at 62%) to evaluate.

The Vendor
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The role of a vendor

The most common challenge with software implementation is the strain on IT time and resources (67%), and over 75% of respondents said a vendor’s level of change management support has impacted their decision to sign an agreement.

However, only 27% of surveyed organizations rely on the software vendor to lead change management initiatives, even though the majority of respondents (55%) strongly agree that vendors understand their needs in that area. When it comes to change management resources, 14% of respondents believe vendors don’t provide enough.

The User
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User training

User training is a pain point for organizations. Forty-two percent of respondents found insufficient training to hinder the success of software implementations, with nearly one in five saying user training is ineffective overall, regardless of whether it’s managed by an internal team or by software vendors.

However, training doesn’t seem to be a top priority for some organizations—nearly 15% say a vendor’s offerings in this area are only “somewhat important” or “not important at all.” This could prove problematic for the 57% of respondents who consider user adoption a key success metric for software implementations and the 54% concerned with ROI.

The Communication
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Largest organizations struggle with communication

Thirty-five percent of respondents have been challenged by ineffective or insufficient communication to users. The largest organizations surveyed (5,000+ employees) identified communication as the most common difficulty for successful software implementations, with 26% reporting that internal communication plans proved ineffective during software implementations, making them the least effective change management strategy.

Disconnect between goals and strategies

Over 50% of respondents reported user resistance to change as a main challenge of software implementations—an important hurdle to overcome, considering user satisfaction was the top success metric cited by our respondents (71%).

However, onboarding/rollout and user training—two valuable change management strategies that can improve a user’s experience with new software early on—ranked among the least important factors that respondents hold vendors accountable for during a software evaluation process.

Success metrics, user adoption, and tracking

While 57% say user adoption is a key success metric to observe, fewer than one in 15 track this—and even those who do find it ineffective.

Nearly 25% of respondents said they struggle with lack of visibility into usage and adoption during a software implementation, even though CIOs ranked usage analytics as the most critical vendor offering (tied with ease of adoption at 62%) to evaluate.

The role of a vendor

The most common challenge with software implementation is the strain on IT time and resources (67%), and over 75% of respondents said a vendor’s level of change management support has impacted their decision to sign an agreement.

However, only 27% of surveyed organizations rely on the software vendor to lead change management initiatives, even though the majority of respondents (55%) strongly agree that vendors understand their needs in that area. When it comes to change management resources, 14% of respondents believe vendors don’t provide enough.

User training

User training is a pain point for organizations. Forty-two percent of respondents found insufficient training to hinder the success of software implementations, with nearly one in five saying user training is ineffective overall, regardless of whether it’s managed by an internal team or by software vendors.

However, training doesn’t seem to be a top priority for some organizations—nearly 15% say a vendor’s offerings in this area are only “somewhat important” or “not important at all.” This could prove problematic for the 57% of respondents who consider user adoption a key success metric for software implementations and the 54% concerned with ROI.

Largest organizations struggle with communication

Thirty-five percent of respondents have been challenged by ineffective or insufficient communication to users. The largest organizations surveyed (5,000+ employees) identified communication as the most common difficulty for successful software implementation, with 26% reporting that internal communication plans proved ineffective during software implementations, making them the least effective change management strategy.

Recommendations

1. Focus on your goals

Clearly establish the success metrics for your software implementation. These metrics will serve as reference points for making future decisions and keep each contributor's focus on the right objectives.

Example goal: User satisfaction, ranked the top performance indicator for software implementations

Step 1:

Determine which policies or processes could help ensure users are happy with their new tool. Making strategic choices at the outset of your implementation will play a crucial role in achieving high user satisfaction.

Step 2:

Since backtracking is difficult, it’s imperative to give users a positive experience from the start. Implement a rollout and onboarding plan that does not disrupt users' daily work.

Step 3:

Provide adequate training resources to onboard users quickly and effectively.

2. Combine forces with your vendors

You know your users’ workflows, temperaments, and technology needs. A software vendor knows their product and its ability to help the end user.

"The first thing that stood out for me during the evaluation process was the engagement by the Nitro team, including Product and Customer Success."

Aiden Curran

IT Service Delivery Manager

Maximize you and your vendor's collective knowledge in two ways:

Tailored implementation plans

Over 50% of respondents find it difficult to address multiple user groups—and their varying needs—across the organization. Rather than take a blanket approach to implementation, your vendor should partner with you to create a comprehensive change management strategy that tailors the software's benefits to your users' unique pain points.

Greater change management support

The majority (55%) of respondents feel that vendors understand their change management needs, but only 27% actually hold vendors responsible for leading change management initiatives. Instead, IT teams should demand that vendors assume a larger change management role. Leveraging a vendor's product expertise can help you organization achieve its implementation goals.

3. Prioritize communication.

In our study, 53% of respondents had faced user resistance to change during a software implementation. It’s not hard to understand users’ unwillingness to adopt a new tool—especially when they are already comfortable with something that works for them. To overcome these obstacles, try these two communication strategies:

1. Clearly outline the software's benefits

Develop messaging around why you are implementing the new software and how it will uniquely benefit the company. Use these questions as a guide:

  • How does this software uniquely benefit the organization?
  • Is there a significant cost-savings aspect that enables the company to redirect funds to a different initiative?
  • Will the new solution help the company scale better and faster?

2. Tailor your communication to individual user groups

Various groups of users will adopt the software in different ways. Rather than sending out one mass email, show users that you understand their needs by mapping out the unique benefits the tool offers each department. Use these questions as a guide:

  • Will finance benefit from streamlined processes?
  • Will HR's new-hire process become simpler?
Conclusion

Though there are many possible approaches to change management, the ultimate goal for most organizations is a common one: Get users to adopt the new tool, and make sure they’re happy with it in the long run.

Vetting vendors based on their ability to be a true change management partner, as well as the quality of their product offering, should both be vital components of any software evaluation process. If held accountable, your chosen vendors can play a valuable role in managing the changes associated with new software implementations—from accelerating adoption, and driving satisfaction across your user base.

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Appendix
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Nitro commissioned a third-party research firm to survey IT leaders from around the world working in organizations with 1,000 or more employees. The survey was conducted in November 2016, and responses were collected using a web-based tool.

Survey demographics
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Geography:

  • United States - 78%
  • UK - 15%
  • Australia - 7%

Job Role:

All respondents work in their organization's IT department and/or in a software buying role.

  • C-Level / Executive: 24.04%
  • VP / Senior VP: 14.84%
  • Director / Senior Director: 26.71%
  • Manager / Senior Manager: 34.42%

Company Size:

  • 1001-2500: 27%
  • 2501-5000: 35%
  • 5000+: 38%

Industry:

  • Banking / Financial Services: 8.01%
  • Computer Software: 2.97%
  • Construction / Engineering: 3.26%
  • Energy / Utilities: 3.26%
  • Health Insurance / Insurance: 2.97%
  • Hospitals / Healthcare / Pharmaceuticals 3.86%
  • IT Services: 36.2%
  • Logistics / Transportation: 2.08%
  • Manufacturing: 13.94%
  • Professional Services: 4.74%
  • Retail / Wholesale: 8.01%
  • Telcom / Comms Services: 3.86%
  • Other: 6.23%