IT change management is essentially what it says on the label: a methodical approach to dealing with changes to IT infrastructure on the organizational and the individual levels. It involves planning for and controlling change, implementing change, and helping everyone adapt to it. Ultimately, good change management helps organizations profit from new opportunities and efficiencies.
Many organizations, however, don’t recognize the importance of end user training as part of change management. After investing resources in a new product or technology that is supposed to boost productivity or otherwise benefit the organization, the company neglects to take a major step toward encouraging and facilitating adoption of the new technology. Including end user training as part of the process helps organizations get the most from change management.
How Lack of End User Training Can Unravel Change Management
Your organization can have most of the elements of a great change management system, but if end user training isn’t part of it, you could be in for frustration, and even perceptions that IT doesn’t know what it’s doing. This could all come about simply because once a new technology is implemented, nobody has bothered to show end users how to use it. All the planning and work that led to the change can amount to little if change isn’t readily adopted in the organization.
Planning End User Training By the Service Desk
The IT service desk is integral to planning end user training in a change management situation and should plan carefully to make it easier to stay on track. Planning should include the following steps:
- Setting training goals, such as the goal of minimizing productivity losses from the change
- Evaluating end-user skill levels and training needs
- Selecting effective training delivery, whether one-on-one, web-based, seminar style, or workbooks, for example
- Creating the training program and materials required to carry it out
Avoiding Mistakes with End User Training
Knowing what to avoid with end user training is equally as important to the IT service desk as implementing training related to change management. Mistakes in the training process can end up alienating end users and making training far less effective and negating some of the positive effects of the change that is being rolled out. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
- Making change all about the company rather than emphasizing how individuals’ work will be more productive and efficient due to the training
- Providing one-size-fits-all training. You may need different training techniques with the engineering department than with the finance department, for example.
- Using incentives unwisely. Studies have shown that providing incentives up front that are the recipient’s to lose works better than withholding incentives until the end of training.
- Choosing poor communicators. Sometimes subject matter experts aren’t the best at communicating their expertise. IT workers may want to partner with HR personnel, for example, to ensure optimum communication of the subject matter.
How Your ITSM Software Can Help
ITSM software can assist with or detract from effective change management. Great ITSM software helps you plan, execute, and implement changes and track every step, so you can avoid repeat incidents that disrupt and needlessly prolong the change process. When your software includes features like change approval tools, you can make changes methodically, ensuring at every step that procedures are in line with the overall change strategy while resolving incidents as they arise rather than discovering processes later, when back-tracking may be required. Look for a software solution that helps you:
- Plan – and formalize procedures for recording, categorizing, and resolving problems
- Implement – change steps upon authorization, which is recorded as part of the change process
- Collaborate – to document workarounds and solutions during the change process
- Enforce – schedule steps and tracking of change implementation throughout
Effective change management should ensure that end users are trained in how to handle new technologies once they’re implemented. As with change management overall, planning is critical for ensuring end users know what to do once a change has been rolled out. Your ITSM software can help you if it includes features that help you plan change steps, document them, and document issue resolutions that arise during the change process.