New applications, platforms and versions are coming at us all the time. This is nothing new, the only constant in today’s work environment is change. Here are a few tips on how you can manage major changes to the document conversion tools your organization employs.

“The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists”―Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese

I first read Who Moved My Cheese back in 2000 when I worked for a high tech software company that was acquired by its competitor. Merging two software companies requires some major change management and the changes had impact on the customers at each company. The book was required reading for anyone helping customers through this drastic change and much of it still rings true today. Nothing creates more fear than change and yet nothing is more constant in our everyday lives.

The experience opened my eyes as to why software end users push back on adopting or changing their tools. Adopting something new is uncomfortable and requires effort, there is a fear that something will go wrong, and that the blame for that failure will fall on them. Most job satisfaction statistics show employees like to feel comfortable and secure with the tools they use to do their job.

Without user adoption, a product cannot achieve its optimum value or desired output. Fear related to automation and a new way of doing the work can be a huge obstacle to user adoption. Here are just a few great ways to overcome roadblocks and transition end users into power users and eventually into raving advocates:

  1. All leaders in the organization should be comfortable in their knowledge of the change. Leading by example is the best change management that money can’t buy. Leaders reassure users that this change is an important step forward and crucial to the success of the team’s goals. The change should be in step with the existing culture. Don’t assume that everyone knows what is happening. Over-communicate if necessary.

  2. Let people weigh in on the decisions from the start. Change is less frightening when users are involved in the selection and requirement process. It is more likely to get buy-in from the team if they have all of the data needed to do so and they are allowed to take ownership of the project in a personal way.

  3. Users are human. Address the obvious concerns upfront and immediately. For example a new UI doesn’t have to be scary if the assurances of support and training accompany it. People like to know they won’t be left to fend for themselves.

  4. Take other factors into consideration such as;
       
    • The length of the project
    • The skills of the implementation team
    • The effort required above and beyond the everyday workload
    • A plan that is realistically attainable.
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  6. Let your software vendor assist in managing the change. This will ensure the information is accurate and timely and includes all of your stakeholders. They’re familiar with assisting customers in adopting new tools on a regular basis. Adlib’s solution automates and eliminates unnecessary manual tasks which is a huge benefit. But it also represents a change in the way documents have always been converted. We’ve developed teams and programs to help customers with the tools for success in the area change and adoption.
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Fear of change is a constant but with the focused change management approach your projects can achieve their full potential.