Change Management When Pivoting to Digital

Many of the things your team typically did at your location or in person now need to be done online. Doing business at a distance is part of the new normal.

While it’s natural to be apprehensive about making changes to your IT environment, change is easier when you follow a proven plan and partner with professionals who have experience working the plan — there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Established digital transformation playbooks already exist, as do digital transformation partners. Here’s how to leverage them both to pivot as quickly and smoothly as possible: 

1. Follow a framework

The hardest part of digital transformation is often writing the change management playbook. It takes time and dedication. While many internal IT departments are capable of developing playbooks for their organizations, they don’t have the time, given their other responsibilities. Skipping the playbook development part of the process, however, is not wise because it’s critical for a smooth, systematic, and ultimately successful digital transformation — especially if the team is doing this kind of project for the first time or is in a hurry or under pressure.

Most mature IT departments and IT partners use ITIL, the most widely recognized IT service management framework. The goal of the ITIL set of practices is to focus IT capabilities on creating specific business value.

The change management process within ITIL Service Transition provides detailed guidance for transitioning new or different IT services into operation. These standardized best practices control risk and minimize disruption, two of the most important challenges to overcome. Thousands of organizations worldwide have needed to make the same changes you need to make and have followed ITIL successfully.

2. Bring in an experienced team

Your digital transformation project may be new to your organization but it’s not new to hybrid-IT environment experts. They know what to do, how to do it efficiently, and how to avoid the things that can go wrong.

When choosing a partner for your digital transformation projects, look for one that that has:

  • At least ten years of experience managing projects that of the same or similar complexity as yours
  • A dedicated onboarding staff
  • A track record of positive post-transition reviews, including process implementation and business-system improvements
  • The ability to condense timelines, such as completing assessments in four-to-six days instead of four-to-six weeks and onboarding your team in 30 days instead of 90 days
  • A set of pandemic protocols to protect their own company and employees
  • A support team that’s available for your employees around the clock

3. Focus on the why

Your IT environment and operations are more important than ever in the new normal. Like it or not, we’ve been catapulted into a new business reality — working digitally is now simply “working.”

In Ready, set, go: Reinventing the organization for speed in the post-COVID-19 era, McKinsey & Company talks about the importance of seizing the moment, and in The Digital Path to Business Resilience, the Boston Consulting Group discusses the importance of using digital technologies to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

When you think about transforming to thrive in the new normal, try focusing on why you need to make changes rather than sweating the details of your IT infrastructure. Your IT director and IT partner are tasked with translating your business goals into a seamless hybrid IT environment that meets the moment. Tell them the results you’re looking for — for example:

  • Delivering more services electronically
  • Enabling better and more transparent collaboration
  • Responding more quickly to customers and stakeholders
  • Strengthening cybersecurity at every level
  • Streamlining human resources processes
  • Pursuing new business opportunities quickly
  • Empowering your team’s ability to generate more revenue

Your clearly stated business goals combined with a proven change management framework and the help of digital-transformation experts is your best strategy for pivoting to digital. Once the process is complete, you’ll probably wonder why you waited so long in the first place.

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