Managing Change Within A Digital Transformation Software Implementation – Part One

by | Sep 21, 2020

Digital transformation for an enterprise usually means the company is onboarding some form of web-based software. This could be a CRM, new ERP, CPQ or any other kind of digital solution. But this often is a bigger challenge than most realize and requires the organization to manage the change. Whenever the subject comes up, I like to refer to one of my favorite books – Who Moved My Cheese?

Like the book, digital transformation involves change management. I experienced this myself while working in the Yellow Pages industry. We used to manage our leads through business cards, excel spreadsheets and Outlook. Then we rolled out a CRM system for 4,000 reps. It didn’t go well.

The salespeople were not involved in the decision. The extra administrative duties increased their workload. But it didn’t necessarily increase their sales. Overall, it made their work more demanding. 

Most didn’t use the software as was expected, and the company did not get the return on investment they hoped for. This is the exact opposite of what you want to happen.

The challenge to digital transformation is there’s more to it than buying the right software. Like in the book, Who Moved My Cheese, implementing software takes a lot of change management.

Who Moved My Cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese uses an allegory to describe the process we all go through when change happens. It’s a fictional story of two mice, and two entrepreneurs. Both wake up each day to search for cheese. 

Times are good while the cheese supply lasts. But when it runs out, the entrepreneurs struggle. They can’t come to grips with the fact their cheese has moved. They must adapt, but don’t know how. On the other hand, the mice instinctively look for more cheese.  

The mice find more cheese and start enjoying the good times again. But the entrepreneurs are stuck. Only one of them is able to finally change. And he discovers even more cheese than before. The other continues to suffer. So how does this apply to digital transformation?

Your Plan for Managing Change

Your employees shouldn’t be left left wondering where their cheese went when you add new software. You must help them find their way. This begins by first recognizing that change happens.

Further, there is nothing anyone can do to stop change. You must anticipate it, prepare for it and adapt when necessary. Implementing software can be quite disruptive, so you need a process. 

While enterprise software can be extremely beneficial, implementations rarely go exactly as planned. You must monitor change to keep it on track. It would be wise to recognize and reward your team’s success. 

As I explained in my earlier story about a CRM implementation in the yellow pages industry, a software implementation gone wrong can be costly. Wouldn’t it be great if you could master the art of change management in advance? Let’s imagine a software implementation scenario and how to manage change the right way.

Learn More About Who Moved My Cheese in the Video Version

Digital Transformation for Acme Widgets Inc.

Imagine a manufacturing firm called Acme Widgets. They are about to go through a major digital transformation. This will be a big change for them. In a sense, the cheese is moving for them, whether they want it to or not.

Acme Widgets has an annual revenue of 70 million and headcount of 150 employees. They have thirty-five rep firms who represent their brand. To avoid losing business, they realize they need a new sales quoting software solution. 

Different people will be using the program, including those at their rep firms. Some of these people will have competing interests. You can see how such an implementation would represent a huge challenge for a company like Acme Widgets.

Part 2 – What Your Employees Need to Succeed with New Software

In Part 2 you will meet the people who work at Acme Widgets. You’ll learn about their fears and how change management can help them succeed.

About the Author

About the Author

Wes Marsh

Wes is the Director of Marketing at BCA Technologies, and brings over 15 years of sales, marketing, and technology expertise. He has successfully completed major CRM, CPQ, ERP and CMS projects and is a seasoned expert in how technology can positively impact user experience and drive business value. Outside of work, he is a loving father and husband and a huge fan of the Tennessee Titans.