IF YOU WERE WONDERING IF SOFTWARE EXISTS FOR CHANGE MANAGEMENT TEAMS, THE ANSWER IS YES.
What is Change Management?
The term Change Management describes all approaches to making organizational change not limited to the preparation, execution, support, monitoring and review of change projects. In reality, any change process demands a change to information systems, not least because change managers need to record net change improvements in performance resulting from the change. That means recording a baseline, then recording any net change. Often, when this is attempted, project leaders find the measures they need don’t currently exist.
Change Management Software
In an ideal world, you might think as a change manager that there must exist somewhere in the world software that’s expressly designed to cater to the needs of change managers responsible for managing organizational changes. Well, I’m pleased to report there is. In this document, I outline what it is, why it exists, and why so little is written about it.
What does Change Management Software do?
There are three things that change management software needs to do. It needs to:
- Record baselines and performance to evidence the impact of the change.
- Provide project management tools to gather requirements, manage the project programming, make sense of data, and produce dashboards and reports.
- Furnish the enterprise-grade applications needed to design, formalize, automate, and operate the internal business processes that are finally agreed upon.
Enterprise change is a perpetual process in the Digital Age
At one time, change was considered a once in a couple of years ‘event’ – if that. Business models once designed rarely altered. Marketers could use a Boston Matrix to compare their performance against rivals that remained the same one year after the next. In the digital age, change is a constant. It has become an organizational process just like any other. When change occurs, everything changes – people, process, systems, and data. Sometimes, it’s the systems that are hardest to change.
When I wrote the book ‘Agilization‘ back in 2004, I wanted to make the point that not all organizations were equipped to be agile because they operated inflexible and hard-coded behaviors, systems and resourcing models that were inherently inflexible.
The term ‘Agilization‘ defines the process of transforming enterprise behaviour from one form, modelled by 20th century corporations, to another that meets the competitive imperative of organizations of the 21st century to fit their most profitable markets.Source: Agilization, Ian Tomlin
Through my consulting activities and research, I encountered a number of organizational inflexibilities:
- Weaknesses in leadership, clarity of vision and purpose
- Enterprise IT architectures that place a priority on imposing common best practice back-office data processing standards over competitive advantage and agility.
- Employment contracts focused on full-time, long-term employment that placed a higher priority on job descriptions and fulfilling roles than leveraging talent and capacity in project-oriented (and more flexible operating structures).
- Inflexible organizational designs built on imaginary hierarchies.
- The lack of awareness of what makes a customer and what matters to them.
- Shortfalls in data insights to understand how the enterprise works, and how well it is performing.
This idea that change happened, then it was over, and you could go back to a state of normal always struck me as odd. Through all of my encounters, my over-riding question to change managers was this – ‘What are you trying to change into?’
To support a perpetual process of change takes a different mind-set, resourcing approach – and technology ecosystem.
The gap that exists in enterprise architecture
Technology plays a key role in making change work. Unfortunately, the specific discipline area where agile applications need to exist in an enterprise architecture is poorly understood or documented.
If it’s accepted that Systems of Record – like ERP, HR, CRM, etc. – are designed to impose best practice on business-critical processes, then it stands to reason that they offer no competitive advantage because they are largely implemented in the same way for every competitor. Competitive advantage and adaptability then exists beyond these systems.
To put the scale of the problem into perspective, most organizations will typically serve less than 60% of their application needs using Systems of Record applications, and these systems will hold less than 40% of the total volume of data that organizations depend on to deliver their promises.
Most businesses will establish a business model that determines how to achieve their strategic vision by creating customer value and translating it into shareholder returns. This business model, in a digital age, needs to be supported (and supplemented) by a digital platform, or ecosystem. One would expect if we take Amazon or LinkedIn as good examples, that the authored portal platforms should serve the informational needs of all stakeholders and focus on self-service. This is not only good for bringing more value, quality of customer experience and transparency to customers, it also reduces or removes re-keying of data by employees into back-office systems. Win: Win.
The GAP that exists between (1) technology to serve common core back-office applications and, (2) the total extent of applications and content needed to effectively discharge a business model, is the key battleground for competitive advantage and agility in enterprise IT. It’s in this area that Change Management can make the biggest impact: interpreting changing customer needs and business models, to then tune the enterprise to deliver outcomes in smarter, economic, and more customer value-generating ways.
Software that fills the gap
There is an obvious question to answer here, which is – ‘How are these operational needs met by organizations today?’
The simplest answer would be spreadsheets and SaaS applications. For decades, self-authored spreadsheet applications have been the fail-safe solution for middle-managers rushed off their feet that need to find a way to formalize a process or create a simple data workflow (a.k.a. ‘I’ll send you a spreadsheet, so you can fill it in and send it back to me’). More recently, Software-as-a-Service applications that can be purchased to a specific job (like project management, invoice processing etc.) have proliferated to solve the problems of departments.
In the early days of trying to determine what this collection of enterprise applications should be called, technology commentators came up with two terms: Situational Applications and Enterprise Data Mashups. Neither term represented the technology, or the issue, particularly well. Perhaps one of the best papers written on the subject of Situational Applications emerged in 2008 in the form of three technical papers produced by Luba Cherbakov, and her colleagues at IBM.
In the absence of top-down leadership and technical understanding, almost all initiatives to supplement Systems of Record with more agile systems – and the proliferation of self-service and quick fix tools, etc. – have been bottom-up and fragmented. Solutions in the past lacked integrity, and generally failed to deliver sufficient applications performance, resilience, data management, security or governance to make them worthy of consideration as a neat go-forward remedy to the malaise of app technologies peppering the offices of corporations.
IT reticence towards ‘the change management software problem’
IT leaders have been reluctant to accept that a problem exists in the ability of incumbent Systems of Record to do all that’s needed to support business model change and (more generally) change management initiatives. This comes down to a number of factors:
- IT leaders have feared a loss in authority and influence.
- IT teams are already busy investing over 70% of their time and money to ‘keep the lights on’ supporting costly proprietary Systems of Record and have not wished to open up a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of new projects.
- No obvious solutions represented a total ‘fix’ for the business issue.
- It suited a large number of enterprise software vendors to maintain the status quo and continue to sell products and services across a broader gamut of very niche departmental issues, even when many of these solutions resulted in major overlaps in functionality, data management, etc.
- Visibility of the business challenge and how to fix it has been poorly interpreted by industry watchers and analysts, often painting a distorted picture of the issues, tools, and options.
How Organizational Change Has Changed
At one time, an organizational change was a rare thing. Business models rarely altered and the structure of organizations – i.e. how organizational structures were designed and resourced – had no need to change. Once people were assigned roles in the organization, they rarely moved beyond their role or department. Not today. The business models organizations operate are changing frequently and rapidly.
This is because, in a digital age, the structure of markets and the nature of competition. Many new forms of competition emerge from beyond the traditional players in any given market. We are seeing retailers selling holidays, telecoms contracts and financial services products, utilities and automotive manufacturers selling data and online retailers selling everything! In such a tumultuous market for products and services, suppliers have to respond to change faster. This means organizations are facing near constant organizational restructuring.
It’s not just people and processes, but technology too is having to adapt faster and more often to change. This means traditional IT platforms are being displaced by Low Code or Codeless enterprise software application platforms that are designed to adapt to change constantly, and offer productivity enabling tooling to serve the needs of change managers orchestrating change.
How modern Change Management Software supports digital transformation and change
Organizational change in the digital age is characterized by business model re-design, impacting on organizational design. Change management teams are becoming integral to competitive advantage and growth. In this more permanent role, change managers require tooling to facilitate and implement change.
Change Management Software like Encanvas equips business analysts and change professionals with the means to be citizen developers and to design turnkey applications to support change, but also to fashion the enterprise operating systems and platforms that will enable processes to evolve and sustain. All of this happens without the need for programing or deep IT skills. This is made possible because the Encanvas platform cleverly separates the privileges afforded to designers from the enterprise-grade deployment, governance and support tooling that rests behind it. As a result, applications are designed without the need for coding skills in workshops, with users and stakeholders who possess a deep appreciation of what needs to be authored and why.
Encanvas is an enterprise software company that specializes in change management software and helping businesses to create above and beyond customer experiences.
From Low Code to Codeless
Better than code-lite and low-code, we created the first no code (codeless) enterprise application platform to release creative minds from the torture of having to code or script applications.
Use Encanvas in your software development lifecycle to remove the barrier between IT and the business. Coding and scripting is the biggest reason why software development has been traditionally unpredictable, costly and unable to produce best-fit software results. Encanvas uniquely automates coding and scripting. Our live wireframing approach means that business analysts can create the apps you need in workshops, working across the desk with users and stakeholders.
When it comes to creating apps to create a data culture and orchestrate your business model, there’s no simpler way to instal and operate your enterprise software platform than AppFabric. Every application you create on AppFabric adds yet more data to your single-version-of-the-truth data insights. That’s because, we’ve designed AppFabric to create awesome enterprise apps that use a common data management substrate, so you can architect and implement an enterprise master data management plan.
Encanvas supplies a private-cloud Customer Data Platform that equips businesses with the means to harvest their customer and commercial data from all sources, cleanse and organize it, and provide tooling to leverage its fullest value in a secure, regulated way. We provide a retrofittable solution that bridges across existing data repositories and cleanses and organizes data to present a useful data source. Then it goes on to make data available 24×7 in a regulated way to authorized internal stakeholders and third parties to ensure adherence to data protection and FCA regulatory standards.
Encanvas Secure and Live (‘Secure&Live’) is a High-Productivity application Platform-as-a-Service. It’s an enterprise applications software platform that equips businesses with the tools they need to design, deploy applications at low cost. It achieves this by removing coding and scripting tasks and the overheads of programming applications. Unlike its rivals, Encanvas Secure&Live is completely codeless (not just Low-Code), so it removes the barriers between IT and the business. Today, you just need to know that it’s the fastest (and safest) way to design, deploy and operate enterprise applications.
Learn more by visiting www.encanvas.com.
Ian Tomlin is a management consultant and strategist specializing in helping organizational leadership teams to grow by telling their story, designing and orchestrating their business models, and making conversation with customers and communities. He serves on the management team of Encanvas and works as a virtual CMO and board adviser for tech companies in Europe, America, and Canada. He can be contacted via his LinkedIn profile.
Article on Top 10 change management software applications.
Wikipedia article on Change Management
Wikipedia article on Situational Applications
Academic paper on Situational Applications