How To Manage Change In Mobile Transformation

In the business world, IT administrators – be they CIOs, Directors, et al – the only constant is change. With that comes ever-increasing responsibility and the need for flexibility and agility for decision makers. So in a growing state of flux, how do those tasked with making enterprise-shifting alterations handle the change?

The evolution of mobile transformation really took off at the beginning of the millennium, when Palm pilots and early BlackBerry phones became digital assistants and enablers of on-the-go work tasks. But in the nearly two decades since, there’s been more technological innovation than even the foremost futurists could have imagined.

In an ecosystem where change is daily, how are IT administrators managing the ebbs and flows of digital disruption, particularly in the mobile realm? How does a c-level executive safeguard against lag when implanting innovation?

For Ryan Fay, CIO of ACI Specialty Benefits, his team addresses issues from finish to start – an interesting method considering the IT team has more than 55,000 mobile devices in its charge spread across the globe. The team identifies an issue that needs to be addressed, then works in reverse after visualizing the end result first.

“This is why a proper POC and MVP is so important,” Fay said. “Getting feedback from all stakeholders helps to ensure adoption. The only way to drive innovation and digital (mobile) transformation is to give the business the tools they need to work faster, smarter, and easier world-wide.”

For Rizwan Jan, the Chief Information Security Officer at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc., the approach is somewhat similar in considering the outcome before addressing the process.

“With a strategic change management plan, our organization has the foresight for the change process which includes all milestones that need to be reached to achieve the end state,” Jan said. “The strategic change management plan allows those leading the effort – roles shared among change management and project management teams – to assess the success of the project during each critical stage ensuring that minimum disruption will occur.”

Additionally, Jan said, getting a cohesive unit of stakeholders on board makes a huge difference.

“An established Product Advisory Board consisting of business stakeholders, system owners and IT stakeholders is vital to vet out products in the evaluation process,” Jan said. “Once the product is evaluated and receives buy-in from the advisory board, we then complete a POC to confirm compatibility with our existing infrastructure and to determine if a similar product is currently in use that may meet the need of the business.”

The process doesn’t end at the implementation level, of course. Change managers must always be on the lookout for opportunities to streamline efficiencies. This also gives IT a seat at the executive table and rather than being an order taker, can now be presented as an influencer and line of business that pushes innovation rather than waits for it.

“There’s no such thing as over-communicating when an organization is going through a major change,” Jan said. “The content of the communication has to resonate and connect with audiences. Communication must contain pertinent information for employees and address the most common questions that arise (example: FAQ section).”

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation established a “digital innovations” team to guide and execute innovative solutions that achieve business objectives, solve business problems and maximize operational efficiency, Jan said.

The amount of “leadership” in an enterprise can often mimic an inverted pyramid, but not all executives or managers know how to properly handle the process. Many say it comes down to culture, and making sure the training and awareness are front of mind for employees at an equal or higher level than the product implementation itself.

A survey-based report created jointly by Forrester Research and Accenture laid out four bullets to ensure the change management guideline works seamlessly:
- Advocate digital transformation and the customer experience at an executive level
- Execute change within the context of an end vision
- Be willing to take risks and learn from mistakes
- Find partners whose capabilities complement your own

What are the best practices for executives to properly handle change management? Is it a product outline or a culture change? Or both?