A study of senior ANZ executives’ attitudes, expectations and plans for enterprise software has found that satisfaction levels with enterprise solutions remains low, but that adoption of ‘as-a-service’ software is changing this.

The IBRS report paints a picture of the complex struggle between management and their staff when it comes to the adoption of software, and a serious inability to deal with change management in organisations.

Eighty five per cent of executives across all industries reported that getting staff to adopt new processes and ways of working as a result of implementing new enterprise solutions is a challenge.

This isn’t surprising as poor user satisfaction is an issue that has plagued the enterprise software market for the last two decades. But it is a serious problem at a time when change is every increasing as business transformation is widespread for those looking to move forward from their old legacy ways of working.

Significantly though, the Software as a Service (SaaS) model bucked the overall trend. Organisations with a preference for SaaS reported less challenge with getting people to adopt new solutions (35 per cent as opposed to the afore-mentioned 40 per cent). In-depth interviews indicated that this is because once organisations eliminate technical infrastructure concerns as a result of moving to SaaS, their attention instead turns to finding new ways to work and compete.

“Many organisations only have enough IT resources to focus and deliver on their core business areas and challenges. This can leave smaller parts of the business at the bottom of the priority list,” says TechnologyOne SaaS Transition Specialist Julie Ember.

“However, smaller parts of organisations that perform niche business functions are often extremely important to achieving a competitive edge, delivering the finer details to their customers or reducing overall corporate risk.

“Freeing up resources from worrying about running the applications, via SaaS, allows IT to take a step back and consider the broader business and the level of service they need, including those smaller niche functions. It also frees up their time to start looking for innovative solutions to a wide range of real business challenges.

“Imagine a world where IT starts to bring innovative solutions to the business, rather than simply reacting to business-driven IT requirements.”

Shifting your organisation’s mindset

Where organisations report the most dissatisfaction is getting staff to adopt new processes and the user experience.

It’s not the software itself that’s impacting satisfaction the most – it’s the human factors like people and change management.

Many senior executives declared that their organisations lacked the maturity in both strategy and process for change management.

They also said there was confusion regarding who should own change management, although there was some agreement that the IT group could guide, but not lead, any change programs.

The bottom line is that the training of staff on the use of new enterprise solutions (that is, the user interface) is insufficient. They need to be educated into thinking about how these solutions will fundamentally alter customer (or citizen) engagement and change how work is done. This often demands a shift in mindset and vision.

According to TechnologyOne’s Group Director People & Culture Jane Coe, creating a “possibility mindset” is the key to enabling this mindset shift and ultimately, aiding change management.

“When you’re delivering a change agenda, you’re asking people to unlearn a learned behaviour – and that is bound to be met with resistance,” Coe says.

“The best way to mitigate that resistance is to create a ‘possibility mindset’, and shift the conversation to be about what’s possible and how you can make your initiatives successful, rather than focusing on what could go wrong and what could fail.

“And celebrating success of projects, even small wins, is important to keep people invested and interested in the work they are doing. People like to feel part of something.”

Coe adds that clear, frequent and open communication from a trusted source is essential to effective change management.

“When there are changes which affect the way people work, leaders need to be able to clearly communicate the reasons for the changes and why it will deliver both improved work methods and longer-term business strategy,” Coe says.

“If you can answer the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question from the outset, your staff will be more open to – and even excited about – regular and relevant change.”

About this author

Mike Gee is a writer of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which TechnologyOne is a corporate member. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefits of our readers. Membership fees apply.

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