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Why Should You Care about Change Management in 2020?

01/08/2020 by: Jaime Spector

Group of colleagues sitting at a table discussing a document.

A new decade is upon us! Are you ready to take advantage of all of the new opportunities available? Part of being ready to change means being able to manage change.

As we venture into 2020, change management will take on new importance. The right technological tools help you implement change management best practices in four ways: staying compliant with regulations, improving communication, making change management more efficient, and saving money because the change management process is smoother and shorter.

What Are Change Management Best Practices?

To understand how to implement change management best practices, you have to understand what’s involved in effective change management. It’s a process with several moving parts:

  • Planning
  • Testing
  • Communicating
  • Scheduling
  • Implementation
  • Documentation
  • Assessment

Bringing these moving parts under one umbrella can be challenging. Keeping track of all of these things manually is almost impossible; these processes must be automated to be effective. 

Why Does Change Management Matter So Much?

Why will change management matter going into 2020? That’s a trick question; it matters right now. However, before a new year (let alone a new decade), many organizations look for an initiative that adds value as well as inspires employees to achieve goals.

There are four reasons change management matters:

  • Regulatory compliance
  • Improved communication
  • Making the change management process more efficient
  • Saving money

Change Management and Regulatory Compliance 

Time may pass, but one thing stays the same: regulations abound. They will most likely increase in the coming years, so you have to be prepared to deal with their impact on your business. 

We’ll use GDPR as an example. This sweeping privacy legislation came into effect toward the end of May 2018. GDPR affects the way companies handle data, although some experts would argue the legislation is more about change management processes. 

“Between May 25th, 2018, and March 25th, 2019, there were 89,271 notifications of data breach notifications in Europe.”

Here’s why experts make that claim. GDPR requires companies to implement a number of sweeping changes in their data handling practices. To implement those changes properly, you need to put change management best practices in place. 

That’s where ITSM tools come into play. They automate the change management process. For a start, ITSM software with a change management module creates a centralized repository of changes. You can see changes across the entire company recorded in a single place. 

“GDPR fines totaled €56 million in the first year after the legislation’s enactment.”

Additionally, ITSM tools automate the process of collecting critical risk documentation and change record history. Employees no longer have to hunt for those documents, which saves time and money. Undergoing an audit is also easier as a result; auditors have everything they need at their fingertips. 

With ITSM software that contains a change management module, you’re far less likely to be the subject of fines or other penalties because you have more control over your changes. You’ll be able to see quickly whether those changes are compliant with regulations. 

Improving Communication with ITSM Software

One crucial aspect of change management is communication. Let’s say you put a new mobile device policy in place – employees can’t download apps to corporately-owned devices from now on. You neglected to tell the entire company, though; only certain people were informed. 

When everyone else finds out, you’ll have a mutiny on your hands. People will be upset, and rightfully so, that the higher-ups made a decision that affected everyone without properly communicating it. There’s a good chance that employees will find a workaround to your rules, which isn’t good for security or morale. 

“According to European management expert Torben Rick, 70 percent of change initiatives fail.”

Communication doesn’t guarantee buy-in from every member of your organization, or even the majority. It does, however, make buy-in more likely. When you understand what changes are going to take place, and how they’re going to affect you, you’re less likely to resist them. 

ITSM software helps companies better communicate changes. The software informs everyone at the organization about changes through automated emails. In addition, all scheduled changes appear on a calendar, so there’s no confusion about what will take place when. Change Approval Boards, the corporate bodies responsible for approving changes, can use ITSM tools to support their in-person meetings or hold virtual meetings, so everyone will be aware of the changes that have been approved or denied. 

“Kinsey researchers state that when people are invested in change, it’s 30 percent more likely to stick.”

Communicating changes becomes much easier and more effective with ITSM tools. The automated notifications ensure that everyone is in the loop. Moreover, ITSM software brings an end to confusion about changes; information about changes isn’t stored in silos, so there’s no guessing about what changes might be coming or not.

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Making the Change Management Process More Efficient with ITSM Software

Think about how long it takes to launch changes at your firm. If you’re using manual change management processes, it’s probably quite lengthy. Committees or teams responsible for changes wind up going back and forth for days or even longer, arguing about which change is supposed to come next, what the impact will be, whether the change complies with regulations, and how to notify everyone about the change. 

You might be reading this and thinking, “Well, hasty change can lead to problems.” Yet, there’s a corollary to that statement: hasty change can lead to problems if it’s not properly planned and executed. Lengthy change implementation actually poses a risk to firms. 

“A 2018 Gallup poll showed that only 22 percent of American workers thought their bosses had a clear direction for their organization.”

In today’s business environment, the speed of business is lightning-fast. If you wait too long to make a change, you’ll lose ground to your competitors. Recent history is littered with examples of companies from the last century who simply couldn’t pivot quickly enough to satisfy customers. Now, they’ll be the subject of history books. 

ITSM software with a change management module facilitates faster change management. There are a few reasons behind this: it can optimize changes by the team and you can automate the change management process.

Seventy-five percent of respondents to a 2018 Prosci survey reported the integration of change management and project management.”

Optimizing change management for teams makes the change management process go faster because no one feels as though they have to adapt to a process that doesn’t work for them. Cutting-edge ITSM tools tailor changes for ITIL, DevOps, and line-of-business units, so everyone implements changes in a way that’s in line with current processes.

Automating change management is another way to speed up the change management process. With market-leading ITSM software, you can establish business rules for change processing, so if something meets certain requirements, it can be approved. Additionally, SLA management keeps changes on track; a change can’t take longer than SLA standards.  

Saving Money with ITSM Tools

Change can be expensive. It’s even more expensive when it’s not managed properly. Every aspect of change management can cost a company money if it’s done poorly.

We’ll revisit the previous example of the company that waited too long to put a change into effect. The firm didn’t seize an opportunity, and as a result, its competitors were able to capture an entirely new market segment. 

Eighty-one percent of projects with effective change management came in on or under budget, according to Prosci research.”

Earlier, we cited the example of the company that didn’t inform its employees about blocking access to downloading apps on corporate devices. That, too, was an expensive mistake. Employees wasted time trying to figure out why they couldn’t download the apps, then complained to HR, their managers, and each other about the unfairness of the decision. Little work got done that day. 

ITSM tools that feature a change management module make the change management process less expensive for firms. Automation is a significant cost saver; because ITSM software creates a repository of changes, employees no longer squander time and effort tracking those changes in spreadsheets, Word documents, and emails. 

“A 2016 report from Prosci showed that when effective change management principles were applied, 94 percent of projects met or exceeded objectives.”

 In addition, SLA management ensures that changes don’t take too long to enact. Changes can be approved automatically if they fulfill certain rules. 

ITSM software can also save you money if it makes the change management process easy to implement. Software that doesn’t require coding means that you don’t need specialists to customize it. You’re ready to go, out of the box, so you can start seeing returns on your investment faster. 

Eighty-six percent of leaders expected the number of change initiatives at their organizations to increase over the next two years.”

This year might be the year you undertake a major change. Don’t you want it to be successful? ITSM tools help you achieve success by assuring regulatory compliance, improving communication, making change management faster, and saving money.

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