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5 Strategies You Need to Ensure a Smooth IT Transition

November 4, 2014 All Articles, Nonprofits and Communities Tags: , 0 Comments

What you need to know to make a solid IT change management plan

When was the last time you were actually excited about a new update for your operating system? For both organizations and people change can be terrifying to face, difficult to adapt to and full of unexpected complications. This is particularly true when change involves adopting a new system or way of doing things.

But there’s a way to get ahead of the anxiety surrounding change, especially relating to new technology: create a proactive, flexible IT change management plan.

If this is your first time creating a change management plan, or you’ve never implemented a big technology change before, here are 5 steps that can make a plan more successful:

  1. Establish buy-in at all levels.

In order to make sure change happens smoothly, you must talk to people across all roles within your organization and ensure that everyone is on the same page about the impact the change might have on them. The success—or failure—of a change can hinge completely on the ability to get staff, volunteers and the people being served on board.

As a bonus, talking to everyone can yield positive surprises: you never know who can be key to minimizing resistance or championing the change to their peers.

  1. Expect the unexpected.

Every change can cause a ripple effect, leading to more, often unexpected changes. Sometimes these are positive, like the decision to start new programming for the people you served based on data from newly adopted software. Sometimes they can also be a challenge, like realizing that you need to hire additional staff because the new technology’s benefits can’t be fully realized without people dedicated specifically to using it. Considering the ‘what if’s’ when creating your plan can go a long way to ensuring you don’t run into an insurmountable brick wall along the way.

  1. Don’t be afraid of the data.

What if the data tells you something different from what you’ve been telling your funders? Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Funders today are insisting on more than just anecdotes to prove you’re having an impact—they want hard numbers, and organizations that have those numbers will gain more funding in the future than those without. The good news? Even if the numbers don’t look good at first, they give you a pathway to making further changes that lead to better programs.

  1. Communication, communication, communication.

One of the easiest ways to get a person’s support is by ensuring that they feel informed; this goes for donors as well as your staff and volunteers. Make sure that communication strategies are integrated into every step of the process. The right messaging, focused primarily on the ultimate gain they will see by adopting the change, builds trust, motivates them to stay positive and can ensure the change will “stick.”

  1. It’s more than finding the right technology provider; it’s about partnering.

Picking the right provider for you is crucial. This provider should have experience with developing a realistic framework for a rollout that takes the organization’s needs and deadlines into account. They can also help the core team set expectations with executives, funders and staff so no one is left surprised. Finally, they should have a track record of working with their clients after the fact to ensure ongoing success as needs change.

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