Is the Digital Era Here to Stay?

Posted by Audra Proctor

By Audra Proctor, Head of Learning & Development, Changefirst and co-author of Enterprise Change Management

Towards the end of last year I wrote a piece for the Nov-Dec European Business Review on the impact of Digital on how we implement Change. At Changefirst we’ve been developing online training and tools for almost 15 years now, but have never seen the level of interest that there is right now in digital learning, combined with practical application tools, road maps, virtual help and social learning.

Digital is not only the most cost effective delivery method, when considering the sheer volume of staff that are now able to train, but also one that meets the needs of many organisations and their employees. I would go on to say that “Digital” is the new differentiator in the Change Management landscape.

Here are some of the dynamics I’ve seen over the last few years.

1. In 2015 Changefirst were able to help a client slash a £400,000 organizational training expense to a £50,000 one—and train four times more people—with an e-learning program.

2. In the last 2-3 years the majority of organizations we have worked with have been very clear about their need to be faster and more comprehensive in the way they manage business transformation, if they are to survive, let alone prosper in the market place.

3. Organizations are still struggling to build capability fast enough to be competent and consistent in their change practice at the point of need, such that the investment in OCM, Organisational Change Management, on major change initiatives is probably still less that what is required to execute changes successfully and sustainably.

Point 3 is truly highlighted in a survey that Changefirst conducted at the end of 2015, when we reached out to our over 4,000 practitioner community with 4 simple questions regarding their organisational change activities and general investment in OCM.

Here are the highlights of what we found:

Question: 1. What percentage of your total transformational program budget is currently being directed to organizational change activities?

Answer: 42% of respondents said that <=10% of the total transformation program budget was currently being directed to OCM.

Question 2: What percentage of your total OCM budget is being directed, specifically, to help people embrace change and transition to new ways of working?

Answer: 42% of respondents said that <=10% of their OCM budget is directed to help people embrace change and transition to new ways of working.

Question 3: What additional skills do portfolio and program managers need to be effective in their role?

Answer: The top 3 additional skills were:

  • Communicating with and Engaging people;
  • Change management processes and skills for 1) coaching and developing strong sponsorship, 2) assessing and planning for changes to people, 3) knowledge about organizational culture and behaviours
  • Aligning project and change activities rather than treating them as separate

Question 4: Is there sufficient Enterprise Change Management (ECM) capability among business leaders, key individuals and groups, to complement and support the current skills and practices of portfolio and program managers?

Answer: 67% of respondents said that there was insufficient ECM capability to complement and support portfolio and program manager skills.

Taking these results you can clearly see that businesses are not only facing gaps in talent and skills for ECM but also a lack of allocated budget to bridge this gap.

I see this as one of the over whelming reasons why there has been a push in recent years to digital solutions and why the increasing trend for CEOs to turn to their L&OD professionals for faster, on-demand learning and support solutions. Digital is more cost effective and more time efficient.

Note, I am not saying that for an organization to be agile it only needs ECM.  Just simply that without ECM, agility will be extremely difficult especially when faced with gaps in talent and skills.

Should this article ring true to you, these are a few dates for your diary…

PCI® On-Demand – Changefirst is launching a new on demand e-learning program for change managers, project managers and program managers. Participants will be able to learn and apply our PCI Practitioner methodology completely online. Read an outline of the PCI Course .You may also register your interest here

Enterprise Change Management – Changefirst’s second book, and my first, co-authored with David Miller, CEO and Founder, is due out on the 3 April 2016. In this book we explore "How to Prepare your Organization for Continuous Change". Find out more.

Tags: change management, Change Management, Change management tools, Change Management Training, Changefirst News, digital learning, Enterprise Change Management, Leadership, online training, Organisational Change, Organisational Change management

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