In the IT sector there are a variety of forces both internal and external that drive the need for change. First and foremost the speed of technological change such as new product innovations and advancements in existing technologies, creates new opportunities as well as threats to organizations. Opportunities for higher productivity and lower costs, and threats such as security breaches on outdated systems. Another driving force for change is the impact of competition. Organizations are continually looking to enhance and improve there systems to offer a better experience, service, or product for their customers to increase market share and bolster retention efforts. Another example of these driving forces would be local and global economic conditions. As local economics ebb and flow technology is typically used to increase human productivity. In a declining market, technology may be used more and more as workers are displaced and organizations look for ways to compensate. An example might be introducing a financial application that can be managed by one individual rather than a system requiring three. These same principles apply in booming market as well where production needs to increase to meet ever increasing demand. On a global front we find that organizations begin altering internal operations to take advantage of outsourced work. Organizations may shift from internal technology development and management to an offshore model, thus reducing headcount and cost.
These changes are threatened by most of Kotter’s eight factors, however the two most significant factors would be under communicating the vision and allowing obstacles to block the vision. The previous two factors are closely related and a third factor worth noting is the failure to create short term wins. In the case of in internal technical changes quite frequently the actual work needed to be done is blocked either by individuals in management or even by the workers themselves. Not understanding the overall vision and how your work factors into that vision can leave workers without the desire to make the necessary change. While lack of communication is a large factor, bureaucracy, process and old mind sets tend to block advancement in technological change. Finally technological changes many times can take quite a long time to implement especially in large organizations that have acquired smaller ones. Long term technological change needs to show the short term wins. Without showing these short-term wins the vision and drive can be lost and the value of the overall objective may be questioned.
While these challenges pose significant threats to change in the IT sector, understanding these threats and addressing them early can improve the chance for success on your next change initiative.