Effective communication with staff and between groups of staff and those running the program is essential for this type of iterative development to succeed. A good way to establish and encourage good communication is by mastering blogs, forums, and other online channels.
4. Treat Change as a Core Capability
With Cloud/SaaS, the old project mindset is no longer relevant, and business leaders must learn to manage change as an ongoing process. The business must develop the ability to maintain a consistently high and successful pace of change. You can accomplish this by creating a change function in the organization—one that establishes the roles, processes, and tools needed by each part of the business to work through the change cycle. For example, there are five fundamental change roles:
With Cloud/SaaS, the old project mindset is no longer relevant, and business leaders must learn to manage change as an ongoing process.
- The Change Visionary who understands the end state and helps staff understand the impact and rationale
- The Agile Lead who is responsible for establishing the agile development cycle providing a solution through a number of iterations
- The Change Champion, who is responsible for readiness and adoption of the solution for that area of the business
- The Change Agents who act as the communications channel to user groups
- The Product (or Subject Matter) Experts who can provide guidance on resolving issues in which the business requirements aren’t matched by the standard SaaS configuration
While these roles aren’t new, they must be embedded in the organization centrally and at the local level to align the business with the ongoing upgrade and development program. Filling and sustaining these roles may pose a resource challenge for many organizations, so working with an external partner who can provide the appropriate tools and resources can provide a long-term solution.
5. Encourage Collaboration to Maintain Alignment and Make Change Stick
The rapid pace of change, freedom from traditional central IT constraints, and local business ownership can cause initiatives to overlap or be poorly aligned across the enterprise. To avoid this, decision processes are needed during and after the deployment to balance local opportunities with central benefits.
Traditionally this balance is achieved through a project management office with rules, standards, and compliance reviews. In this new agile environment, harmonization and alignment are realized through collaboration rather than a single decision authority (although central decision-making and coordination roles are still essential). There are three ways you can support collaboration: through forums that quickly spread best practices and better ways of working across business areas; through knowledge management systems that make it easy to publish and share resources; and by developing a culture that seeks collaboration and alignment rather than independence.
Agile Change as the Underpinning of Success
Cloud/SaaS is facilitating a new approach to using and upgrading software and applications. The rapid pace of development and implementation and its constant iteration have significant implications for business. It can reduce costs and increase innovation and, thus, competitiveness. But if your business isn’t prepared for the speed of this new environment, you won’t capture the value.
Agile Change can help ensure the viability of Cloud/SaaS by creating a transitional path and instilling a culture of constant confident adaptation to change. By adopting the five sustainable levers of Agile Change, any organization can enjoy a greater return on investment
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