Change Management reimagined: creating lasting success for your technology initiatives
By Mpumi Nhlapo, Sales & Service Management Head: Demand Management at T-Systems SA.
A mere decade ago, the world’s biggest companies were the likes of General Electric, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil and CitiGroup. Today, that list is dominated by technology players such as Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and China Mobile.
Wowed by the astonishing growth of technology-led companies over recent years, firms in every industry are rushing to digitise and transform. They are scrambling to build new apps, move systems to the Cloud, and automate parts of their operations. Companies are rolling out the latest and greatest technology offerings, as the ICT landscape comes alive with rapid, relentless innovation.
In this surge to digitise, however, we often see many organisations losing their way. New technology projects create additional layers of complexity, billowing costs, new security risks and confusion among teams. The impact of the new technology is quelled and we’re left asking what went wrong?
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Through T-Systems’ and Intervate’s experience in handling some of the biggest and most ambitious technology programmes for large clients, we believe the problem can frequently be distilled down into one essential root cause: change management simply hasn’t kept pace with the new digital era.
Walking in lock-step with users
While traditional change management may have been focused on the internal awareness, enablement and upskilling of staff - in the digital era we need to broaden our focus to cater not only for internal staff, but also for the external customer.
Furthermore, this process doesn’t only kick-in at the end of your software development cycle, when you are ready to launch a product. In the digital world, the process of change management occurs at the very beginning of the ideation and creation phases.
Design Thinking processes help us to hone in on what the customer really needs and what they feel about a particular feature, product or service. In times of escalating complexity, Design Thinking cuts through the clutter, getting to the heart of what’s important to our external users. This process of engaging, co-creating and assisting them to get acquainted with a new product then continues all the way to launch and beyond.
In today’s world that is saturated by new digital services at every turn, simply throwing a new app into the store won’t work. Instead, we need to walk in lock-step with our users, helping them to see the value of a service, designing change management and marketing strategies to stimulate adoption.
In some cases, the need to nurture external adoption is even more obvious. Imagine the large, lumbering corporate that has taken some time to begin its digital transformation journey: it would come as quite a shock to users if they were suddenly presented with a range of digital services boasting leading-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud, virtual reality, geolocation or similar technologies.
Making things ‘Sticki’
Our approach - which we’ve packaged as our ‘Sticki’ consulting and user adoption offering - harnesses Intervate’s decade-long streak of award-winning IT deployments for local firms, as well as the depth of its parent company, T-Systems’, global resources and capabilities.
Our focus is to help organisations, their staff and their customers, see the true value of a given technology or digital service - to situate it in the context of each of our individual lives, and articulate the value that it adds.
While in bygone industrial eras we may have all been forced to accept ‘one size fits all’ products (as organisations focused on efficiency, scale, distribution and cost-effectiveness) – this is no longer necessarily the case.
Today, the game has fundamentally changed. As customers we expect highly personalised, tailored solutions that are crafted for our individual needs. We expect our voices to be heard as we type out our product reviews on eCommerce sites, and contribute to company forums and beta trials.
Against this backdrop, the approach to change management needs to become far more dynamic, reaching out to staff and customers alike and evoking our emotions and our imaginations. It’s only by getting this right that one can hope for successful digitisation initiatives and lasting results.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.