Managing technological change
Continuous implementation of new technologies, integrating
with existing systems, and ensuring cost-effectiveness, places a never-ending
stream of challenges before a CIO. Vinita Gupta examines the role of
a CIO as a change manager
organizations today realize the criticality of managing technology changes.
They understand that by merely investing in new technology, without careful
planning and on-going assessment, need not necessarily result in improved business
Consequently, before implementing a technology its
crucial for the CIO/IT manager to first find out how it is going to affect the
business process that is already in place and benefit the company. Another area
is the cost involved for making these changes. Hence, the CIO should look into
all areas which will be affected, and also what type of improvement it will
Steps for change management
Change may occur in the internal process, business model, scale of business
and technology. It can also occur due to the external environment, i.e. new
opportunities, competition, regulations, mergers and acquisitions, etc. Change
management is a big question which all institutions face whenever they go for
a technological change; proper planning of the change process is required.
The process begins from the moment the need for change arises
and continues even after it has been fully introduced in the organization. The
specific problem must be analyzed and an effective solution should be implemented
have to scan for new technologies as they become available and in some
cases experiment with them with proof of concept to assess suitability
within the enterprise. Current technologies are typically managed by IT
teams under the guidance of the CIO"
- Arun Gupta
Customer Care Associate and Group CTO of Shoppers Stop
dedicated team of employees is necessary during the implementation stage.
Involvement of all, especially the top management, is essential, followed
by education and training
(actual operational matters)
on a continuous basis"
- Babu Venkitchalam
EX-DGM IT, Bank of India
Its important to note that change management is a completely people-driven
process and consists of three important factorsinvolvement, communication
and education. It is an art which is not easy for everyone to master. Convincing
people to shift from existing routines to something new is always painful. In
some organizations, with more tech-savvy people, it is easier.
Once the members of an organization are convinced of the need for change, half
the battle is won. What follow next arerelentless follow-ups, monitoring
and execution as per schedule. These factors decide the progress and ultimate
success of a project.
- Learning, understanding, and managing
new and different technologies
- Managing and retaining talent
- Managing expectations of the business
- Review the fit to current enterprise architecture
- Analyzing the cost to benefit of the change
- Ensure that there is complete collaboration
of the IT team with the business leaders in the organization.
- At times convincing the management about
Babu Venkitchalam, EX-DGM IT, Bank of India said, A dedicated team of
employees is necessary during the implementation stage. Involvement of all,
especially the top management, is essential, followed by education and training
(actual operational matters) on a continuous basis.
Bank of Indias major initiative was shifting from a total branch automation
(TBA) environment to a core banking system (CBS) scenario. Venkitchalam revealed
that most PSU banks faced these problems while shifting to CBS. There is no
short-cut for change management. Everybody in an organization wants to know
why the change is required and what would be the benefits that the company is
going to derive from the same. The essential factors are giving proper feedback
to staff members, and ensuring continuous training.
During the last two-three years, Shoppers Stop has implemented many new
technologies, including blades, virtualized storage and servers, upgraded many
software systems and deployed new solutions. Arun Gupta, Customer Care Associate
and Group CTO of Shoppers Stop asserted that a step-by-step approach with
clear explicit communication ensures that technology change has higher acceptance
within the company. The downside to this approach is that sometimes it can take
a bit longer to execute. This is where the maturity of a CIO and his understanding
of the enterprise plays a role. He added, CIOs have to scan for new technologies
as they become available and in some cases experiment with them with proof of
concept to assess suitability within the enterprise. Current technologies are
typically managed by IT teams under the guidance of the CIO.
There must be policies and incentives that drive desired behavior. It is important
to see transformation as an ongoing process rather than as a one-time initiative.
Therefore, metrics created to help stimulate an organization toward change and
to measure progress toward that objective must be continually reviewed for relevancy.
- Update knowledge in terms of the latest
- Team-building capabilities
- Develop leadership skills in members
- Clarity of what is required
- Assess cost of change
- Defining the process of and the expectations
from the project
- Understanding the technology
- Realizing the core functionality
- User expectation management
- Realistic estimate of targets and timelines
Challenges faced by CIOs
During this process of change, CIOs face different challenges based on the industry
that they work for, the organizations IT maturity and the environment
in which they operate. The common challenges faced by them are managing and
retaining talent, and managing expectations of business folk.
A CIO is just a facilitator. He needs to put in place different technologies
to meet the business requirements and ensure that they are appropriately adopted.
He also needs to ensure that there is complete collaboration of the IT team
with the organizations business leaders.
Venkitchalam felt that generally people are not interested and find it difficult
to change from the routine that they are used to. He added, Suppose you
are used to getting up at 7 am in the morning and one day you have to get up
at 5 am, you will start thinking about getting up at 5 am from the previous
Also, according to him, learning, understanding, and managing new and different
technologies are part of any IT managers job, but new technologies are
not learned in the timeframes usually requested by others in the organization.
Convincing the management about the change is the most difficult task
if it involves any cost, pointed out Venkitchalam.
Gupta evinced an alternative viewpoint, If the CIO is looking to create
change within the enterprise, if he embarks on any such journey without commitment
from the management, then there is a high propensity to fail.
He added, An IT manager has to be ahead of the learning curve to be effective
by exploring the market and experimenting with new technologies even if there
is no visible need within the company. The fit can only be ascertained if you
understand the technology. So I would recommend a proactive approach versus
a reactive mode of operation.
Managing technological change is nothing but using human psychology to convince
people to accept change and CIOs must have these skills. A CIO has to review
the fit to the current enterprise architecture and an analysis of cost vis-a-vis
benefits accrued from the change. If the new technology does not make a difference
as compared to the results obtained with existing systems, then change is not