Recently I attended a session at Microsoft on "how to drive the adoption and consumption of Office 365" using Change Management techniques.
During Q&A one of the participants asked: "This is all great, but how do you sell this to clients? How do you make sure clients want to spend budget on Change Management?"
Not an easy task, as most clients think: "That extra effort to reach adoption will cost too much time and money which we don´t have". Other clients might say: "Oh that part, we will do it ourselves". In some cases they even believe driving adoption is not necessary as the new solution will sell itself.
Sounds familiar? Well Mr. and Mrs. Client, you might want to consider the 3 points below which could win you over to invest in Change Management.
Mr. Client, to what extent have you thought about Return on Investment? And how you will reach this?
Imagine, you, as a client, invest a great amount of money in a new technological solution that will move your company forward. The solution is implemented, technically everything is working great, but then in practice… nobody is really using it! That´s like buying the latest gadget at home which ends up in the corner collecting dust, or buying a smartphone and not using the full capacity such as the available apps.
Sounds like a waste of money and I guess, as a client, you are not investing in new technology for the purpose of nobody using it. No change management adoption plan = uncertain ROI.
2. Mrs. Client, how fast do you want your employees to use the new solution?
So, it is clear you need an adoption plan to achieve ROI. However, what timeframe are we actually talking about here? With the right efforts, it takes on average 3 months before people get used to a new tool or a new way of working. Yet, thinking that people will someday use it without any extra effort is wishful thinking, in reality it might take them years! What an extra cost will that be, buying a new system, and maybe, just maybe in a few years finally everybody gets the full hang of it. And the persons who actually use the new tool in their daily job or work in the new way are most likely the new guys in the office, not knowing any different.
I guess that would not be the vision a client has. It is in their benefit to keep this adoption period for their current employees as short as possible before they revert to their old way of working. No tactics for technology change = no fast adoption.
3. Mr. And Mrs. Client, how do you plan to gain support for the new solution and deal with potential resistance?
It´s not rocket science, we all understand where the real ROI in projects is coming from and that we all want to secure this ROI fast. Let´s talk about a potential jeopardy luring around looking to throw a spanner in the works: resistance.
With resistance in the game, the first two objectives are in real danger; it can have a long lasting and devastating impact on a quick ROI. So what clients really need to keep in mind is to make sure someone detects and mitigates resistance in different levels of the organization.
What if no one pays attention to this part? What do you think what the effects of resistance might be on a project? Indeed, project delays, a bunch of unmotivated people walking around creating a negative atmosphere, lower productivity, polarization between different levels of the organization…Yes, even fear turnover of valued employees when resistance is not being addressed. No resistance plan = unhappy people.
So as a client? Where do I start with making sure ROI, fast adoption and mitigation of resistance is realized?
Well, there are special Change Management techniques to realize all 3 of them, and there are specialized Change Managers on the market to advize you on this ;-).