A modern enterprise must be able to keep up with the ever-changing markets. Crucial for this is the adaptability of IT, which has become highly relevant to the company’s success.
The change projects and therefore the IT solution delivery is in the field of tension of three factors: quality, costs and time. Changes to IT systems or the IT infrastructure must be professionally managed in order to make the best possible use of the chronically tight IT resources. Therefore, a dedicated change management process is necessary. This adaptation process essentially determines the competitiveness of the respective organization. Recent studies, for example by Forrester, underline the fact that change management makes a significant contribution to the value of the company.
All of these factors mean that the change management process is not well controlled by many companies. Above all, it is possible to identify ten mistakes that are made again and again – errors in the orientation, the operative design, and anchoring in the company.
The starting point for any successful change management is the close connection with the corporate strategy: companies that position themselves as quality leaders on the market are dependent on particularly high-quality change management. For companies that operate in volatile markets, it is important that the changes are flexible and quickly deployable. In general, change management should ensure maximum quality with maximum flexibility and low costs. This contradiction can not be solved in IT. That’s why the priorities are often set „out of the gut“ – based on existing resources and an assumed urgency.
There are systems that are fundamental to operations and that make high availability requirements. Others are merely supporting. These differences are often poorly reflected in the change management processes. Here a clustering of the IT landscape helps. It prevents too many processes from establishing itself (which would increase complexity), and it leads to extensive change management for low-priority systems.
However, changes that only affect a small group of users can still have enormous effects, for example when implementing legal requirements. In contrast, other changes are only moderately relevant despite their perceived importance. Therefore, prioritization may not go „who shouts the loudest“ or who has registered a change first. Decisive should be economic considerations. However, as studies show, less than 30 percent of the changes are backed by a reliable profitability calculation; This will be checked after implementation than at most in every tenth case.
The implementation of change management processes is in practice a complex undertaking. Depending on the respective change, different organizational units have to be integrated, the implementation planed differently, quality assurance and test measures carried out in various forms, and rollouts designed individually. This is usually insufficient for operational change processes. Thus, there is a lack of comprehensive process control and transparency, responsibilities are unclear, quality assurance and test measures are not sufficiently carried out, and the specialist areas are insufficiently included.
Already adopted changes are in competition with planned changes and day-to-day operations. In addition, the actual effort is difficult to estimate. Therefore, an overview of ongoing and planned changes including current resource planning is required. In addition to the IT resources, this also includes the departments that are responsible for commissioning, technical testing, and acceptance of the changes. In reality, there is resource planning, however, at the most at the commissioning.
After implementing a change, a post-implementation review makes sense. With such a process, the quality of the implementation can be checked. For a comprehensive consideration, all stakeholders must be interviewed. In addition to IT, these include the contracting persons including the sponsor. Otherwise, a realistic rating is hardly possible. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can also be used to check the distribution and cause of changes. Both are important sources of information for the Continuous Improvement Process.
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