How to plan for continual business IT change

Once upon a time, major changes to business IT systems would happen once every three or four years. You had time to plan and prepare your change strategy. You had weeks or even months to get employees ready for the new technology. And you were in control; it was down to you to decide when new updates would be rolled out.

But not anymore.

Today, corporate IT is continually evolving. Take the cloud-based Microsoft 365 platform. Depending on the plan you use, there were upwards of 13 significant updates in 2020 alone!

Planning for this constant change is therefore essential. Let’s learn how you can prepare.

Why do you need to plan for continual change in the cloud?

With cloud platforms continually introducing new features and updates, keeping your users informed of what is going on is incredibly important:

  • Lets them prepare mentally for an upcoming change
  • Ensures you benefit from new features and improvements
  • Helps reduce the risk that people reject the technology

Failing to inform and educate people about change means they will feel continually surprised and confused by new features when they log in. They will soon feel overwhelmed, stressed and even angry that things are changing around them, that they cannot control, and without any explanation.

So, how should you plan for change and get people ready for it?

Avoid the traditional training method

Before exploring how to adapt to continual change in the cloud, it is first useful to know what not to do.

In the past, when the pace of change was relatively slow, IT and HR could find time to provide in-person training to employees – even if it was relatively expensive. However, relying on traditional training programs no longer makes sense today:

  • You would need to continually create training material that was relevant and accurate, yet with almost no time to do so
  • Many of the major changes in Microsoft 365 or Salesforce are incremental and fairly small, which makes running an entire training course unnecessary
  • It is harder than ever to offer in-person training now that more people are working remotely
  • Traditional IT training has serious limitations (as we have noted before) – in many cases a digital alternative is more effective

Digital adoption is the way forward

If you need to train employees every time there is a new feature launched in the cloud, traditional training would take an inordinate amount of time out of employees’ days. In a program like Microsoft Teams, for instance, new solutions and improvements are added every couple of weeks. It just makes no sense to take people out of their daily work and make them attend a training session for each new update.

And this is where digital adoption tools help:

  • Whenever a new update is announced by Microsoft, Salesforce or another cloud company, training about the new feature is created by digital adoption and training businesses
  • Once the new feature is rolled out, you immediately get a new training module to accompany the update
  • Staff can quickly learn about the new feature and understand what it is for, how it works and receive guidance on how to use it

This kind of contextual help system means that users do not have to endure hours of classroom training each time there is an update in the cloud. Instead, all they need is follow a walk-thru generated by the help system, watch a video or consume some other content as appropriate. They can be ‘tested’ on their comprehension of how to use the new feature, and then get on with their day.

What is more, help items are available on any page a user navigates to, whichever feature they are trying to use. This help content can be delivered in a wide variety of formats:

  • A screen capture video
  • A pdf tip-sheet
  • An annotated screenshot
  • A step-by-step walk-thru

If the user always has access to the correct help, it becomes easier and more intuitive to use any new feature of your preferred cloud platforms. There is no need to interrupt work and search for tutorials or request help – information on new features is always available as and when staff need it.

Be ready for ongoing digital transformation

For digital workplaces, being prepared for continual digital transformation is a business imperative. Your staff need to know what their new tools are, how they work and how they will benefit from them. Failing to keep them ready and prepared for this change risks low adoption rates, user frustration and even rejection of the technology.

To achieve a high level of adoption, leveraging the power of contextual help systems can be very beneficial. Employees receive training on updates right away and can quickly absorb and assimilate the information.

By allowing people to continually learn, you ensure that you are ready for a world of continual IT updates.


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