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Digitization of change management

Thursday, 20 August 2015 Manolo Palao Posted in iTTi Views

McKinsey&Company has recently published a provoking article [i] on the digitization of change management. 

The article starts reminding us that “70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals”, a failure rate that has sadly been recorded at similar levels throughout the past two decades. 

The authors have found that companies (mainly B2C) have leveraged some of the IT tools they use to influence their consumer behavior (e.g.: wearable technology, adaptive interfaces, integration into social platforms, digital dashboards and personalized messages) to support more effective and lasting their own internal change. 

They identified 5 particular areas: i) providing more, better, just-in-time performance feedback to the staff; ii) personalizing the staff experience, localizing, identifying and timing data related to the specific task at hand; iii) sidestepping hierarchy, promoting horizontal communication and cooperation; iv)  building empathy, community, and shared purpose by promoting forums, shared dashboards, tasks visualizations and gamification; and v) demonstrating progress in real time, eventually showing individual contributions to the achievements.  

In our view, there is no doubt that IT tools, skillfully used, may and should assist in the difficult undertaking of change management. Accordingly, welcome the practices mentioned.

But, lacking multivariate studies, we question the relevance of said tools in projects of this nature, where —according to all mainstream schools— micro-political, sociological and psychological issues are the key factors of a successful and enduring change. Until a breakthrough takes place in dealing with those factors, there is little or nothing to write home about. 

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[i] Boris Ewenstein, B. et al. (July 2015). “Changing change management”.  Insights & Publications. 


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