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How to construct an effective case for IT change?

How to construct an effective case for IT change?

Change doesn't happen overnight. In any larger organisation, there are a million and one different hurdles you are required to overcome before your proposed change can be rolled out. Inevitably, that first hurdle will be the construction and presentation of a case for change.  

This might seem straight forward, especially if it is a problem you and your team are encountering daily. But, how do you present your rationale to your stakeholders in a way that will convince them to get on board with your proposed case for change project too, even if they are not affected by the issue in the same way that you are? 

To construct an effective case for change, you need to make sure that you have considered the following four things… 

1. What does your digital landscape look like currently? 

Jumping into a huge change project without considering how the business is currently functioning is a really common mistake we encounter, particularly in larger organisations. When you have multiple departments using the same software's in lots of different ways, understanding the reality of your end user's experience is essential to getting them on board with your change.  

  • Who is currently using this system and what do they use it for? How does it fulfil their needs?  
  • What can’t we/they do currently that we want to be able to do? 
  • What will happen if things don’t change? Will the business continue to operate as it currently does or will there be repercussions further down the line? 

The answers to these questions can’t always be found within the data you have, so if you’re struggling to get the answers you need, go and talk to the teams who could potentially be affected by this IT change. A good place to start is often your own team.  

2. Who is involved in the decision-making process? 

As well as identifying the people and departments that will be directly affected by your proposed change, you should also compile a list of everyone who will be involved in the decision-making process. Often, these people will not even use the technology you are looking to replace or software you want to implement (they might not even be inside the business like a shareholder or your customers) but they will have the power to stop your project dead in its tracks, so making sure there is something which jumps off the page and persuades them that this is the project they should support is pivotal.  

3. What is the real reason why each stakeholder should get onboard with your proposed change? What do they want to see? 

A case for change is not a one size fits all strategy. Every stakeholder affected by your proposed change will have a different ‘why’ and want to see something different to convince them to get on board with your proposal. Your Finance Director (FD), for example, probably won’t care that this new system will automatically record and save each call you have with a client, but this could be a real influencer for the Customer Services team. If you can demonstrate to the FD how this change will save the company money by reducing the number of applications with different software vendors, reduce supplier support overhead, and ultimately reduce what the organisation is paying each month with a cost benefit analysis – then bingo, the hook has happened! 

Other stakeholders might want to see a roadmap for change to understand the steps and departments involved at each stage of the process. Or, an implementation timeline to see how much effort in terms of hours this change might involve. Identifying why each stakeholder should get onboard with your proposal and what they want to see will demonstrate that this to them is key to the success for this case for change.  

What are the next steps? 

Before presenting any case for change, it is also important to have a very clear understanding of exactly what the next steps look like. What specific action do you need them to make in order to get the ball rolling? Commonly, these actions include; 

  • A commitment from your stakeholder to implement this change within their team/ department/ organisation when it goes live 
  • Confirmation of budget or workforce allocation  
  • The sharing of any data or information that will be pivotal to beginning the transformation  

Making this next step clear when presenting your case for change you will help guide your stakeholders through their decision-making process and will present their ‘getting on board’ as the next and most logical step.  

If you would like some help getting started creating an effective case for change, get in touch with the team today to find out how we can help. 

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