That may sound counter intuitive, or just plain contradictory, but it’s worth thinking through. Delivering business change through IT is what I do, and over the last few years I’ve realised that one key reason for a business to need my services is not that they’re about to change what they do, or even how they do it; they need to implement change because their current IT systems no longer meet the needs of the organisation as it stands.
Let’s take a manufacturing business as an example. Their product may not have changed significantly in some time, apart from perhaps some minor updates and upgrades to address competition, or some modifications to reduce costs. But, those updates and modifications were well judged, and as a result sales have increased significantly.
Now, to meet delivery dates, track shipment of sold goods and internal inventories, the IT they installed some years ago simply won’t handle it.
Another good example would be a retailer who, already successful, has entered the world of online sales. Their systems, efficient enough, were installed while they were still firmly high street only. The infrastructure designed to handle payroll and purchasing won’t cut it when it comes to online retailing.
Or, we could look at a business in the service sector. Having shifted its marketing approach to one that drives traffic to its website, because that’s now its shop window, and point of enquiry, it will struggle to maintain a reliable customer management system with its existing software.
The point here is that none of these hypothetical businesses has changed in itself, other than in improving its performance, sales and to some extent methodology. But, because of those improvements they now find that their existing IT will not meet their current requirements.
These are examples of the need for changes in the infrastructure, not the product or management. They are though equally important as change management tasks. The right systems need to be designed and implemented, the staff need to be engaged with, and enthused by, the new methods and the management need to see the benefits outweigh the costs.
Don’t put your success in peril. If your business is succeeding, but needs changes to its systems to accommodate that growth, address the issue seriously and promptly. It will pay dividends, and not in small change!