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Adoption & Change Management Are Mission Critical In Digital Transformation

As more and more small and medium businesses (SMBs) replace legacy on-premise systems with cloud-based SaaS solutions – as part of a drive to up their digital transformation game – it’s easy to think that the battle’s won as soon as the switch is made.

It’s not. In order to ensure SMBs get the most out of the technology they’ve invested in, they need their operations, business processes, and (most importantly) their users to be aligned. That’s why Adoption and Change Management (ACM) are fast becoming crucial parts of any IT migration.

Strategy? Check. Implementation? Check. Rollout? Umm…

Before any firm begins to shake up its IT solutions, it’s vital that the company’s management team understands its digital journey. In addition to knowing what the business’ aims and objectives are, and what results they’re looking for, they also need to have a clear understanding of their company culture, and how users will respond to the upcoming changes.

However, all too often the implementation phase is seen as the biggest challenge – the downtime, the inconvenience etc. If handled by the right IT services team, disruption should be minimal. User adoption is often the biggest hurdle of all.

Let’s be honest: a tech-focused startup staffed by millennials is going to have an easier time adjusting to a new software service than a medical device sales team with an average age of 50. But adoption isn’t purely an age issue. A more thorough approach to change management is needed when a particular set of tools or apps are deeply embedded in users’ day-to-day operations.

Say Microsoft Teams is being introduced to a company that’s relied primarily on phone and email – to foster collaboration between its two different offices. Rolling out a real-time communication platform like this is going to take some adjustment in order for it to be adopted by users.

What’s needed is a pragmatic approach – a framework and methodology – to support SMBs as they adjust to a new way of working. This is precisely why adoption and change management is needed.

Developing The ACM Partner Network

Microsoft relies on a partner network to deliver a variety of services to SMBs – from digital strategy and technical implementation; to independent software sales. Many offer a combination of solutions – often specialising in IT services for a particular industry or sector. Other work in a certain niche, such as security or mobile workplace.

increasingly, however, we’re seeing more partners join us as ACM specialists. Working closely with other types of partners, their job is to offer support to SMBs as they get to grips with new systems and processes.

Their approach is to work consultatively with clients to discuss the need for change management. This basically means proactively helping customers adopt new technology and processes in a way that works for their companies – and for their users.

Education and training is a core part of our partners’ ACM service. But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Part of our partners’ challenge is finding engaging and innovative ways to deliver lasting change – using a range of resources: from gamification, videos, and chatbots; to online classes, FAQs, and app-based guides.

There are many different ways to approach ACM, and lots of opportunities for new and existing Microsoft partners to grow their service offerings in this burgeoning area.

But this isn’t just a Microsoft initiative. ACM reflects a broader, user-centric way of thinking about IT. So it’s vital that, as digital transformation gathers pace, the software companies buy into is used in the right way. This relies on giving those who use it, the confidence to do more with what’s made available to them.

Interested in finding out about becoming an Adoption and Change Management Microsoft Partner? Take a look at our dedicated ACM web page for more information, or join our webinar by clicking on your country below.

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