Managing internal resistance to SaaS
Andrew Flanagan, National Vice President, SME North America
Change is hard. We all run into customers or employees who are afraid to take a chance or do things differently. It stems from fear and inertia – a fear of venturing into uncharted territory, and a desire to remain cocooned ‘safely’ in your comfort zone. In an OnDemand world, this can be a true barrier for many companies ever taking this step so must be dealt with effectively and directly.
The reality is that we live in a rapidly changing world, and you constantly remain on your toes to stay in the game. A single missed opportunity, and you could find yourself staring ‘lost market share’ directly in the eye. Far too often, organizations or individuals resist new ideas or technology until it becomes a question of do or die. The New Norm of OnDemand applications make this a story of Have and Have Nots.
A newly introduced technology has to run its course from introduction to acceptance to adoption to assimilation. Individuals and companies have differing appetites for change – some are quick to embrace it, while others prefer to maintain the status quo. Within every organization, you will find people with an aversion to taking risk, slow to embrace new ways of conducting business. But risk aversion is a risk in itself. Companies late on the adoption scale risk losing market share to early adopters and find themselves in a continual game of catch up. New technologies, like SaaS, often face ‘roadblocks’ from customers (or departments within the customer organization). Proposals to operate in the cloud can make some people uncomfortable and hesitant to step out of their comfort zone.
What then, are some strategies to help your organization (or customer organization) overcome internal resistance to on demand technology?
- Leadership Communication! It is crucial for management to communicate their vision of where the organization is headed, as well as to communicate their commitment to innovation. This empowers the risk takers to stand up to the risk averse in workgroup and departments.
- Demonstrate that the shift toward the new technology is real: Offer up real life examples, case studies, customer stories in bite sized, digestable components. SAP, as an example, has many case studies surrounding OnDemand success stories. The web is alive with similar stories featuring successes broad applications from Classrooms to Construction sites
- Recognize success: Develop recognition programs and websites to showcase live, visible examples. Tap into social media – good news has a way of going viral!
- Include and support all layers of the organization: The most successful implementation strategy is inclusive. It is important for people tasked with adopting the changes to feel included and supported through the process.
- Make the new technology roll out a significant company event. It generates excitement and is a way to showcase to your employees your commitment to innovation. A small work effort with a big impact!
Ultimately, change management agenda is a statement about leadership. Communication and inclusion make all the difference in an organization’s ability to nimbly navigate a market place where the only thing you can count on is change.