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How Digital Technology Powers Enterprise Change Management

Blog: Changefirst Blog

By David Miller, CEO, Changefirst

In my February blog, Why Leaders Need Enterprise Change Management to Become Agile, I outlined the overall case for Enterprise Change Management (or ECM for short). I now want to explore how ECM can be delivered in an organization. What is it that makes this more likely to happen than it did in the past?

Our conviction is that we are rapidly moving to a world where digital platforms supported by a cadre of internal experts can achieve ECM far more easily than in the past. About five years ago we began to envision a different type of support than we had offered to enterprises in the previous 15 years. Identifying and focusing on actual customer challenges allowed us to imagine a different way to deliver services. Some examples of what we were hearing:

These and many other change management deployment challenges led us to develop a platform that delivers an end-to-end change management solution which includes leadership and employee education, diagnostics, planning templates, reporting tools and social learning functionality. Incidentally, our learning has been that this has to be supported by processes that build leadership support and create a core team of internal experts (people that can consult, teach and coach).

Some organizations seem to be struggling with embracing new approaches to learning and tying learning to application. Deloitte’s recent 2015 Global Human Capital Trends survey reported that only 40% of organizations rated their organizations as ‘ready’ or ‘very ready’ in learning and development. In the report the authors make a very important observation:

“Faced with gaps in talent and skills, CEOs are turning to CHROs and CLOs to ask for more and better learning platforms and products. Just when the need is most urgent HR organizations face a massive digital transformation in the learning and training industry, plus new expectations by employees for on-demand learning opportunities.”

In other words, we are in the midst of a transformation and some people and organizations are struggling to keep apace.

The challenge is substantial. But what is driving this requirement? We have been developing online training and tools for almost 15 years and have never seen the level of interest that there is right now in digital learning combined with application (tools, roadmaps, help desks etc.).

I see five main drivers:

  1. The technology that powers all of this is cheaper, more reliable and simply much better. The advent of open-source platforms, mobile, video and increased computing power have all contributed to making this possible. As a layman, it just all feels much easier to develop and use.
  2. Suddenly there are online offerings everywhere. For example Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are being offered by over 400 universities. To show the potential, over $400 million was invested in providers such as Khan Academy and Coursera. Plus the learning technology market grew by over 27%.
  3. The population they call the ‘digital natives’ are moving into key management positions. Digital natives are people who were born into an age where technology was ubiquitous. They inhabit a world where personalized digital experiences are the norm. YouTube, Amazon and Netflix set their expectations, not a 10 year old LMS system. They want corporate learning to feel like this.
  4. Digital gives organizations the opportunity to support projects on a “just in time” basis. For example, when organizations launch a strategic initiative they can ensure people have had the right training and are equipped with a set of tools to help them plan, analyze and deliver change much more effectively.
  5. A ‘sea-change’ has happened in organizations in the last decade. Multiple trends are making organizations focus on digital delivery methods contributing to this. A couple of examples:
    • People believe that they are overwhelmed by work and time away from the desk will only increase the load not help with it.
    • Fierce and relentless focus on cost reduction means that organizations see the cost of people travelling to and attending workshops and meetings is no longer affordable.

All of this creates an environment where enterprises and employees believe that time is a very precious resource and the possibility of being overwhelmed by work is always just around the corner. In fact, in some cases it is here right now. Solutions that can offer convenient help when and where people need it are likely to be prized over more fixed offerings that involve travel and days away from work and family.

All of these trends are combining to bring digital solutions to the fore. Somehow there is a trade-off emerging here where digital is not only the most effective delivery method but one that meets the needs of many organizations and their employees.

A few years ago, I was talking to a senior manager at a client of ours, and she told me she had been asked to attend a leadership development program that was, for the first time being delivered solely online. It involved some upfront learning, completing a set of personal assessments and receiving both expert and peer-group coaching. She told me that she hadn’t been looking forward to it very much. She said:

“At the end of the day I learned what I needed to know. Sure I missed meeting up and socializing with my colleagues. But you know, when I thought about it I didn’t have all the hassle of travelling to the workshop. I was able to spread the learning over a few weeks to fit my schedule, I didn’t have to work in the evening while attending the program to catch up with emails and I didn’t have to be away from my young family. All in all it was the best use of my time and one that worked very well for my employer and myself”.

This senior manager’s explanation is a lot less evangelical than many of the articles you will read and the speeches you will listen to about how digital is transforming the world. But what struck me so forcibly when I listened to her was that whenever technology can simultaneously solve both personal and organizational problems then it is going to get used. That’s why digital platforms will be so important to organizations over the coming decade.

Learn more about Enterprise Change Management and download our whitepaper, Enterprise Change Management – Making Change Your Business.

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Are you going to ACMP 2015?
Come and visit us at booth 401 to experience what our revolutionary Enterprise Change Management platform has to offer.

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