Change Management paper
Managing change is one of the most important aspects of any organization in this day and age. As our fast moving society continues to evolve, change is the one constant which cannot be denied. Any company which does not manage change especially if it is a technological one or involved in such fluid products such as software has to manage change constantly or else it will definitely not survive. This case study follows a software company which attempted to introduce cloud computing into its work practices but faced resistance from some employees who saw their job under threat.
The company which was involved in the production of software faced some important challenges in its systems administration department. Servers which were quite costly to maintain were slowing down the company’s ability to maintain its customer databases so the decision was made to move to cloud computing where the servers were based in another country and everything is communicated virtually. However the company faced resistance to this change from several employees in the department who saw their jobs under threat. Cost was also an issue in this case as the total cost of maintaining cloud computing servers amounted to less than half of the physical servers.
A decision was made to switch to cloud computing due also to the fact that the products were nearing the end of their life cycle and would have to be replaced in any case. It was also decided that in order to launch new products, it made more sense for the development team to have access to virtual servers as this could increase speed and propensity for testing.
Resistance to change:
This is the most important obstacle faced by any organization in this day and age. It is important that company policy, especially if this is a dynamic one is spelt out immediately to all who work within its environs, is explained in clear detail so that there can be now misunderstandings. In this case, employees whose skills are no longer required may be offered alternative positions within the company or be made redundant with an appropriate severance package. Resistance to change has to be overcome as this both costs time and money and eventually staff morale in other departments is also affected. In this case, two employees had to be made redundant while another two remained on with the premise that they learn something about cloud computing and these eventually made quite a success of their redeployment.
However it is also crucial to note that such decisions may also affect staff morale and appropriate steps should be taken to assuage the difficulties encountered in this area. Naturally not all employees are affected in this manner but clarity on this issue is of paramount importance. In this case, some unfortunately hard decisions had to be taken but the end result was that the system was implemented with the least possible problems and that it functioned according to management’s express wishes and desires.
It is important when assessing what needs to be changed that quality is given the best possible exposure. In this case, management recommended a number of test strategies to ensure that the product chosen was compliant with what was required for the company’s advancement. A quality control department was set up to test various individual systems and their response to requirements and after much soul searching, one was eventually chosen. This was also quality tested extensively after its choice by an internal development theme who assessed its strengths and weaknesses and how these could be improved or modified. Throughout this quality control process, employees which formed part of the original team and who decided to participate in the project gave their constant input and thus felt themselves part of the whole setup. This is another interesting way of managing change and resistance to it.
Cost issues are always important when managing change. In this particular case, the servers had reached the end of their work life and they were also creating certain administrative problems which were becoming rather difficult to handle. Added to that, the cost of the cloud computing server was less than half the original cost of the old servers so it also made economic sense to change these from a cost effective point of view. Naturally, several products had to be assessed before the right cost-efficiency balance was found but at the end of the day it was important that the right product was chosen. Cost effectiveness is a crucial issue if some success is to be made out a choice which can bring about so much change to the company.
Eventually the product chosen managed to reach the critical standards expected by the company but also managed to match the quality issues which are so important to the cloud computing medium. This combination enabled the successful choice and identification of an appropriate system tailor made for the company.
Conclusion: change as a means to an end
Managing change is not always easy and when one has a software company to run, change is a constant which cannot be ignored or denied at any stage. In this case, the company handled the situation rather well as it assessed the three important factors of change, cost, life cycle and quality. Although there was initial resistance to change this was actually quite well handled with minimal job losses and reinvestment in the company’s human resources to be able to tackle change.
Large companies in the dynamic field have always to be better assessed to face the challenges of change as this is the one constant which can never go away. Naturally one always find resistance to change but with proper policies and well guided initiatives, these obstacles may easily be overcome. It is important and crucial to assess the factors influencing change and how these can be turned into advantages instead of disadvantages.
This case study is important to understanding how change can impact a dynamic business and how all can be implemented without too much bother or trouble. It shows how resistance to change can be overcome accordingly and with proper and well guided policies. The issues of cost and quality control are also given due importance as is the life cycle of any business practice throughout a company.
Luecke R (2003); Managing Change and Transition; Harvard Business Press
Bridges W (1991); Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change; Perseus Books Group