The desire for growth and revenue requires change through technology programs. Making that growth sustainable in the long term requires meaningful change management efforts both before and after implementing a SaaS product. For government contractors, understanding and adopting the foundational elements of change affecting this process is paramount.
We have now started seeing glimmers of light at the end of the long COVID tunnel, so many people seem to be thinking about the near future as yet another opportunity for change. Perhaps they are tired of being on the proverbial sidelines due to the pandemic, or perhaps they have used the recent past to look more closely at the ways they can improve themselves and their organizations. Regardless of the reason, a lot of executives are embracing this desire for growth and change through technology programs designed to grow and improve their organizations.
Change basically occurs when something is made or becomes different. The change that organizations actively pursue tends to be about growth, expansion, and the pursuit of new opportunities. The types of changes in an organization can be categorized depending on the respective functions they focus on – they could be Operational, People-Centric, Cultural, Strategic, Directional, and so on. A lot has been written about the classic elements of managing change. Ensuring you have visible executive sponsorship to major changes, communicating clearly and frequently, implementing technology in the iterative approaches and phased rollouts, providing significant training through multiple channels, and holding your teams accountable for ongoing adoption of the change, are the core elements. This is classic stuff that goes a long way to ensuring a successful change.
Government procurement process can bring forth sudden changes for federal contractors, to efficiently manage those there is a necessity for an efficient Enterprise Work Management solution. At TechnoMile, we provide a data-rich and process-focused SaaS platform that helps government contractors grow their business, as well as the professional service’s efforts required to implement this solution. Even though we’ve done hundreds of TechnoMile implementation projects over the years, we are certainly not the only people in the world to have done this, but what makes us distinctive is that we’ve got meaningful experience. And through our keen study, research and observations, we found out what could make some customers struggle with change, while others make it look easy.
Even though it is not rocket science, but it always serves a good reminder to consider how to best manage the change that comes with a technology implementation:
- Executive Sponsorship: If you are investing meaningful resources into a technology implementation, it should go without saying that you need to have clear executive sponsorship in place, aligned with the targeted outcomes that you will achieve from this technology. This sponsorship needs to come not only from the customer organization but also from the primary vendor as well. At TechnoMile, part of the goal is to have a written matrix that maps the right individuals at our customer to the appropriate individuals within TechnoMile, so that we drive sponsorship and alignment at all levels of the organization, both during implementation and for the lifetime of our relationship.
- Clear Outcome-Based Communication: Life is busy and hectic, and finding the time to step back and think strategically can be a challenge. Because of this, putting a high premium on scheduled points of communication that focus specifically on the business outcomes at hand is essential. In the context of implementation, this could be a daily scrum meeting or a weekly project planning session. While, in the context of ongoing use of a solution, this might be a monthly call with your Customer Success Manager, or an Executive Business Review held quarterly or semi-annually. Regardless of the specific meeting, having the right people take the time to focus on the business outcomes that are being targeted or achieved makes an enormous difference in the ongoing success of a critical initiative.
- Phased or Iterative Approaches: Not letting the desire for perfection stand in the way of making progress is important. Progress comes in the form of tangible business outcomes, and so “Time to Value” becomes an important metric when thinking about change (note that the metric is not “Time to Full Value”, which will be addressed below). Accepting solutions that are, at least initially, based on demonstrated best practices and/or otherwise “out of the box” is a time-tested way to reach value quickly. Building on the results in future iterations to then tailor solutions to specific needs not only allows to begin using solution earlier, but also to learn, adjust, and likely prevent incremental challenges downstream.
- Training and Communication: Many people think of training as a highly focused task, such as watching a video tutorial on a certain software application or feature. This is reasonable and valid, but strong communication (including the need for executive sponsorship) is also a form of training, and communicating appropriate expectations around an iterative approach goes a long way to achieving rapid business outcomes.
- Adoption, Adoption, Adoption: After going live, whether it be with an initial pilot, or all of the envisioned functionality, monitoring adoption is critical to achieving planned results. Important to note though, that while monitoring adoption is important, understanding the root causes that are preventing adoption and working with your team and vendors to address this on a micro-level is important. This is where the iterative approach discussed above moves from “time to value” to “time to full value”, and the actions to support this come in many different forms. As an example, our Customer Success team provides customers with short videos to help people understand how to navigate a feature, or even to be sure they are aware that a valuable feature exists, and our Support team goes out of their way to work with customers over screen sharing session, as opposed to just responding in tickets.
In the end, there is no single thing that helps organizations implement software or manage change, but with a significant and emerging focus on companies launching change and growth-related projects, it helps to revisit some of the fundamentals and think about how we incorporate those into our quest for improved business outcomes.
We would like to know your thoughts, feedback, and stories about your own experiences as well, contact us at – firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Kevin Wilbur is the Chief Customer Officer at TechnoMile. Kevin works with the TechnoMile Professional Services, Customer Success, and Technical Support teams to drive measurable outcomes for our customers by delivering rapid time to value and helping customers achieve high levels of product adoption.