How to manage change in the implementation of an ITSM software?

Blog
April 20 2015

You are about to plan the installation of a new ITSM tool (IT Service Management). You have planned setup, installation, testing, training. You have made presentations to employees letting them know that a new solution will be implemented. However, you hear rumors that some employees do not want to work on the new system, some employees are even afraid of losing their jobs or not being proficient with the new software solution. This reaction is quite normal. At any location, it is advisable to accompany the implementation of your new solution with a change management approach.

When we talk of implementing a new solution for IT service management, the manager will focus on operational tasks to make this project implementation a success, but sometimes it's easy to miss the human side of a change. Indeed, facing a change, everyone doesn't responds the same way. Studies indicate that only 20% to 30% of change initiatives produce the desired results, and the main reason for this poor performance would be related to the control of human factors (Ruff, 2010). Resistance to change is one of the major causes of changes failure (Bareil, 2008). There are several causes (insecurity, fear, apprehension) that explain the resistance to change. The goal here is not to talk about its causes or to encourage you to reconsider your potential changes, but to identify some avenues to help you turn this resistance in organizational success.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when planning a new ITSM implementation.

# 1 Ensure that Executive Management Endorse the Project

The management team must ensure a clear communication of this change to the relevant departments. When management is involved, employees are more likely to feel that the change is significant. In fact, the commitment of the management team in the project is considered the most significant success condition (Rondeau, 1999).

# 2 Mobilizing Managers

In addition to senior management, change management involves managers. Since they create the conditions for mobilizing employees, their own motivation becomes crucial. IT managers are usually the bridge between senior management and employees. It is necessary that they have a good idea of the upcoming ​​change and they should endorse it. Afterwards, itt will be easier to answer employee questions and demonstrate a positive attitude if managers are involved in the new software implementation project.

# 3 Communicate Details of Change

It is very important that senior management detail the vision of the project; the why, the what, the how, the roles and the impact that change can have. The organization must remain transparent to a certain extent so that confidence remains undivided.

The best means of communication in this kind of change is the meeting in person, not the mass emailing. The organization should also prioritize the meetings between management and employees, so they can respond to the uncertainties of their employees.

# 4 Identify the Champions 

A champion is a credible, experienced or skilled employee, who will communicate important information to their colleagues. For a service management software implementation, the champion is either a senior coordinator, a system adminitrator or a help desk power user. The message could be better accepted if it comes from a colleague that it is either an external trainer, or even senior management.
The more positive employees engaged in a change process, the greater the chances that these people can influence more resistant employees.

# 5 Engaging Employees Proving Resistance

One last important point during the implementation of a new ITSM solution is to identify employees who resist the most, and try to involve them as much as possible, either at the early stage of the software configuration, in the decision-making process (if possible), and/or in testing and piloting the application. The resistance is often related to employees that do not have the required information : Per example, if we implement a new solution, this can automate some of our current processes, will I still have a job afterwards? To answer this question, you can involve your employees in the first steps of the process and they will perhaps realize that yes, they will always have a job, but they will also change slightly the task list in order to provide better, more efficient actions.

As you can see, resistance related to a change process is very complex to manage, but you will see many benefits by taking the time to plan scenarios and options. If you do not schedule time to manage these resistant employees, you risk that these employees influence other staff members and you will end up with more resistance.

If you make a good change plan, and you give the time required for your employees to integrate these new features, your service desk software change will be a success and you will have a buy-in from your internal teams.