Is business change done to you or with you?

Jodie | 07 Feb 2023 | News | People

Not to drag up the past but we all remember Lorenzo, right?… The 2002 abandoned NHS patient record system has so far cost UK taxpayers nearly £10bn, yes, billion!

It would have been the world’s largest civilian computer system likely to be hundreds of millions of pounds more – had it succeeded. Richard bacon, a Conservative member describes it as “One of the worst and most expensive contracting fiascos in the history of the public sector.” – Ouch.

The NHS system (Lorenzo) was supposed to store data for 220 trusts in the UK but the project was riddled with technical challenges and disputes with suppliers which left it years behind schedule and over budget. 6 years on, all that remains are legal disputes between suppliers who want compensation and angry people.

So, what went wrong?

The people who would be using the system, receptionists, GPs and nurses, rejected the change.

Communication with third party sponsors and suppliers was extremely strained.

It’s not the systems fault, the key takeaway here is that the people aspect wasn’t considered in the master plans.

Which is actually where we start our plans – let’s look at our communication strategy and approach to people. Starting with the hard facts; 70% of digital transformation efforts do not meet their targets and the total cost of operational failures caused by poor quality software is estimated at $1.56 TRILLION.

By putting the people first, it increases the success rate of change projects sticking, you start by telling people why it’s being done, how it’s being done, and when. The feedback on a ‘bad’ change project is often when people feel like it’s just being done to them, rather than being done with them, which just isn’t going to work.

Another aspect in terms of ‘people first’ is when we’re looking at a sort of complex change project e.g. system implementation, our approach immediately is understanding what are the resistances ahead of time so that we can mitigate those and manage them. That may be resistance or fear.

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The fear of the change

Fear is a very real feeling that people experience when something is disrupting what they know… How do we minimise that fear as much as possible? Providing training guides, coaching sessions, communicate the reasons for the change, be transparent and clear, include them in the plans and support the entire journey. That creates a much smoother transition.

So many business’ will plan a project and after its gone live they’ll tell people that ‘this is the new process – do it’. What would your reaction be? People reject the change and it all goes back to the old way. A waste of money, time and effort.

Truth is, 66% of technology projects end in partial or total failure, even the smallest software projects fail one in ten times.

Large projects are successful less than 10% of the time and 17% of large IT projects go so badly, they threaten the very existence of the company.

Scary right?

We know the risks involved which is exactly why we map and support the change with extreme caution, clarity and precision.

Article | The world of change and our industry tips
Sustaining change

We equip people with the tools and knowledge needed to sustain business change long after we’ve stepped away from the project. A key part of what we do is to make sure that we have the people on board and supporting the change from day 1.  Any resistance will affect the speed, quality and efficiency of the project.

Imagine being 50% through the project and someone created friction due to lack of communication or transparency, that’s a people barrier that could cost a fortune and possibly the whole project.

Our motto: People First Change.

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