Change management for technical paradigm shifts

How a Change-Management Bootcamp helps to gather the people behind the project goal during a Microsoft Office 365 implementation

// Corporate Culture, Digital Transformation, IT Technology Consulting

Major technical innovations can really upset a company. If "everything has worked well so far", the employees of companies used to success often experience the introduction of Office 365 as a collaboration platform as a general attack on "their" working environment. The rollout of such an innovation requires more than the usual project management, as the concrete work of all employees is affected. Managers and project participants should set the course for communication and commonality in a broad-based change management workshop before the technical and cultural change begins.

Changes must be recognised in their scope

In some industries, the digitisation of recent decades has created very independent and powerful structures. Technical innovations that disrupt habits that have been established over decades, redefine functional and success parameters and demand commitment, hard work and team spirit from all those involved then become more than just technical challenges. The introduction of Microsoft O365 as a communication platform is such a challenge for some companies. And yet a technical innovation may still be necessary. In the insurance industry, for example, complex in-house applications are usually in use, which have served all processes in the past like closed systems. If companies of this kind now want to use the future-oriented O365 collaboration features from Microsoft for future digital collaboration, contradiction and resistance are pre-programmed. The more people are affected by this and the more different their initial situation is, the more demanding the necessary change process will be. The decision-makers and managers of such a change process would do well to see the implications and prepare themselves well for their task.

A compact change management bootcamp for decision-makers and the project team sensitizes them to the implications of the change process and gives those responsible the tools for successful change. Together they create a motivating and effective framework for company-wide change towards digital collaboration.

Microsoft O365 Suite changes the communication structure of companies

Why should companies leave or open up their traditional technical environment and let new elements influence corporate communications? For example, O365 use can provide more flexible working practices and self-organized work arrangements in response to increasingly complex challenges. The insurance industry is also facing increasing cost pressure and international competition, and there is a growing conviction that this sector of the economy must also actively embrace change.

A changed understanding of the role of IT departments can also motivate this step: they no longer want to "keep the steamer running", they want (and should) become active as idea generators and facilitators for individual requirements from the business departments. And with the technical dependencies of a complex technical world of its own, this is often not possible without considerable effort, and is therefore often avoided. The dynamic possibilities of the O365 applications can be a way, arouse desires and are sometimes system-breaking.

The Corona stress test at the latest made it clear that companies should simply master the skills of virtual meetings, professional video conferencing and digital collaboration by 2020. A trusting, open, analogue cooperation is being continued in digital collaboration. The mere presence of Microsoft Office 365 tools such as Sharepoint, OneDrive, Teams and Planner alone is usually not enough.

Preparing change management in an intensive workshop - a scenario

noventum's change consultants have developed and tested a workshop format for this demanding situation. Decision-makers and project managers prepare for the change in a change management seminar lasting several half days. The aim of the intensive work in the workshops with the participants is

  • The empowerment of all participants to successfully design change projects.
  • The efficient generation of ideas with the entire team.
  • Focusing on the most effective action steps in change.
  • The growing together of the project team and the commitment to successful project work.
  • A cross-departmental team spirit for the project ("from YOUR to WE").

The basic workshop ("Bootcamp") Change Management opens the view on basic structure, analysis procedures and action planning in Change Management. Change processes generally follow a similar dramaturgy and with real best practice examples from the IT environment, a comparison with the conditions of your own company is quickly found. The most urgent action steps can be designed in a first draft.

In the "Deep Dive" change management workshop for the project team, the basics of communication are on the agenda and concrete questions from the project are discussed.

The harmonization workshop "Working Together" brings the key players and stakeholders of the change project to one table. The objectives, motivation, cooperation and success factors for the concrete project are worked out in mutual agreement.

"noventum consulting, with its 24 years of work as an IT management consultancy and Microsoft partner, stands for authentic excellence in thinking people and digitization together. Awarded several times as No. 1 in Germany in the GPTW® competition, technical and psychological know-how comes from one source. Our slogan PEOPLE PROJECTS QUALITY gets to the heart of it."

Uwe Rotermund

ADKAR® becomes "Dr.WaWiKS" - change management according to proven principles

The management of changes in economy and society has been the subject of scientific and empirical studies and corresponding implementation concepts for many decades. The ADKAR® Method of the ProSci® Institute is used and further developed in the USA and Europe by experts in many large organizations for structured change management. noventum's change management consultants have done the same, and with the "Dr.WaWiKS" model they have found a comprehensible and comprehensive method for preparing teams for major changes. This model focuses on questions of communication and the psychological reaction patterns of those involved and affected by a change. The common behaviour patterns of affected persons or groups range from an urgent desire for change to resistance and it is the task of the change manager to deal with them. Countless IT projects have failed in the past because they were only understood as "technical" projects.

Dr.WaWiKS" - a human-oriented perspective - counters this. The "Dr.WaWiKS" scheme describes the following steps:

  • First create a sense of urgency and a desire for change,
  • then impart knowledge and skills,
  • finally, to structurally secure results.
  • Employees and managers are systematically supported in the change process through preparation and empowerment for change.
  • Together, effective plans for dealing with resistance, multiplier alliances, training (preparation of managers / employees) and coaching (support for the FK/MA) are developed.

For the managers and project staff involved in the O365 implementation project, their joint approach results in less frictional losses, a faster implementation process is guaranteed and a common picture of where the journey is headed supports the change process.

Voices from the change practice

noventum has tested and continuously developed its change workshop approach in various projects.

A manager from the insurance IT department sums it up: "We are not only changing technology here, we are changing communication. And that presupposes that we see all those involved and try to take them with us. Thanks to the intensive workshop, we are now very well prepared, have a common view of the project and are looking forward to the change".

noventum consultant Jan Patrick Helmchen, business psychologist and facilitator in change processes, is also convinced of the lasting effect of joint workshops. "It is always remarkable to see the power and dynamism that emanates from a team that has done its homework: Addressing ambiguities, allowing uncertainty, formulating wishes and to do's, working as a team."

noventum consulting

Jan Helmchen

Management Consultant

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