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Exploring the IT industry’s problematic relationship with change management, understanding why effective user adoption is more important than ever in a cloud-ready world, and looking at some methods and techniques available to those enlightened souls who wish to deliberately and positively deliver change and user adoption.
Bananarama and The Fun Boy Three were definitely onto something back in 1982, when they joined forces to record their version of Sy Oliver and Trummy Young’s 1930s classic ditty. What they probably didn’t realise was that almost 40 years later, the song’s central message would be used as a lighthearted device to illustrate effective ways of managing change in the IT industry.
Build it and they will come?
You see, the IT industry has always had a bit of a problem with change management. “Build it and they will come!” has been the prevailing attitude of IT departments through the years.
It’s been fuelled by a misguided belief that users will simply use the solution put in front of them. And all the evidence points to the fact that, unless they simply have to use it, they won’t. Instead, they’ll seek out an alternative route as the ‘path of least resistance’ – and you’ll have a failed implementation on your hands, thanks to poorly-managed user adoption.
Erm, no they won’t
The ‘build it and they will come’ adage betrays a fundamental arrogance which has been prevalent in the industry for decades. It fails to recognise that IT exists to provide a service to the business; that the business contains users of technology, and that users are very adept at knowing what they need, and what they don’t need. IT departments simply haven’t been providing the tools and technologies their user bases demand; if you need any further evidence, witness the rapid growth of ‘shadow IT’.
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Just over 20 years ago, the World Wide Web as we know it was just emerging. The dotcom bubble had yet to burst; Yahoo and eBay were barely a year old, and Google was just a twinkle in the eye of Page and Brin.
It was into this climate that CompanyNet was born. When we were founded in 1996, there were immediately lots of exciting new business opportunities to service – particularly building websites and portals, often based on Microsoft technologies.
Bespoke software development was the name of the game, and we enjoyed the challenges and satisfaction of coding custom systems.
Ten years later, inspired by a Microsoft Partner Conference, the business articulated a bold new strategic direction – platform-based development. Custom code was becoming relatively expensive to build and maintain, and new options were becoming available to customers, challenging the established business model. Platform-based development would become the basis of our future success.
Our Lync server caused us months of pain. So we took it out to a yard and smashed it up.
Watching the video above, you might be left scratching your head. What would drive the mild-mannered employees of a successful IT business to commit an act of wanton destruction against an innocent server?
Look again. That server is anything but innocent. It’s the Sangoma Lync Express, and we hate it.
If you’ve ever tried to set up and use your own Lync server for voice communications, you might be nodding your head rather than scratching it. The destruction was a moment of pure catharsis – the purging of two years of pent-up frustration at an infuriating piece of technology that caused our business hours of pain and grief and cost.
How did it all start? What happened to let it get this far? And did it really catch fire? (No.)
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