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Prepare the Organization for IT Change

Change doesn't have to be bitter medicine. Prepare the organization for a dose of positive progress.

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  • Peter Valters, General Manager, Professional Services, Empowered Networks
  • Robin Lobb, Effects-Based Analytics
  • Phillip Wardley, Director, Pitney Bowes Australia
  • 8 anonymous contributors

Your Challenge

  • Significant IT changes, while intended to benefit the entire organization, are usually conceived and delivered by a small cadre of IT, and perhaps business, specialists. Often, senior management and frontline staff who will be most impacted by the changes, are kept in the dark until implementation is nigh.
  • IT Leaders need to provide the guidance and direction to prepare the rest of the organization to navigate the treacherous waters of organizational change and gain buy-in and support. IT must show that this is what the business is asking for – that the change is in response to their needs and how it helps them reach their goals.
  • Overcoming the resistance to organizational changes, achieving senior management buy-in, and getting the users to adopt the new systems will enable full realization of the ROI associated with IT changes and minimize the stress to the organization.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Major IT change, resulting in significant impact to staff and processes in an organization, is frequently met with resistance and distress by senior management and frontline workers. This resistance impedes the uptake of new systems, increases costs due to the delay in decommissioning the legacy systems, and inhibits the savings associated with the desired changes.
  • Failure to adequately prepare the entire organization for the potential impacts to organizational structure, business process, and automated systems will result in a build up of resistance to the changes. This can delay or even halt the implementation of the changes, increase implementation costs, and delay ROI.
  • IT Leaders need to provide adequate preparation in the form of involvement, communication, feedback and training to all relevant stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition to the new state, keep resistance to a minimum, and achieve ROI.
  • Put benefits in user terms. Tell them how the changes will enable them to service customers faster and reduce the amount of data entry. Don’t tell users that the Web-based customer management system will improve backup and recovery times. They don’t care how it works, only how it helps them work.

Impact and Result

  • Increase organizational acceptance and reduce productivity loss by properly preparing the organization for IT change.
  • Develop strategies for communicating changes, build collaborative partnerships with the business, and increase user confidence and IT credibility.
  • Leverage the experiences and insights of industry peers who have been through the change battle.

Research & Tools

1. Understand the impact of inadequate preparation for IT change

Encourage organizational acceptance of IT change.

2. Identify the barriers to change acceptance

Develop specific strategies to combat change resistance.

3. Develop a communication strategy

Tell the organization what will happen, when it will happen, and how it will affect them.

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Search Code: 37191
Published: November 22, 2010
Last Revised: January 4, 2011

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