October 31, 2011, 2:59 PM — Scenario: Managing change across a newly information-based company
Christian Anschuetz, CIO, Underwriters Laboratories
We are a storied nonprofit brand. Our seal is on more than 26 billion products in more than 100 countries, and the culture that enables the processes behind this service is entrenched. But now we are moving into a new era as a for-profit company that will be driven by focusing on both customers and products, and on providing valuable information. We need all of our 9,000-plus employees to become information workers who know how to work with the vast amounts of data we hold and who are comfortable with having the discretion to use it. That requires fundamental changes.
The company brought me in to modernize not just the technology but also how we use it and think about it. Many people are attached to their paper, even when they are active users of smartphones and laptops. Earlier this year, I gave the board iPads and took away their paper. Within months, they were using the tablets to share information and create value in ways they couldn't before. The employee base is much larger, and I can't focus one-on-one there. So I've instituted a policy that says digital literacy must be part of promotion requirements companywide. I've also started explaining that technology's role is to amplify individuals' abilities. But this is going to be a long road.
Advice: Understand the Effect on the Individual
Wayne Shurts, CIO, Supervalu
I distinguish the traditional change management we use for new enterprise applications such as ERP from the type we use for new technologies, where how to use them in daily operations is far less clear. When we implement a new enterprise system, we take great care to document every single change--big or small--resulting from the new system: a gap analysis of the as-is and to-be business process for each end user. I am surprised by how many people overlook that step. Not all users are equal, so it makes no sense to stick them in a room with an instructor for a day when a simple laminated user guide would suffice (or vice versa). Understanding the extent and degree of change for each employee and tailoring our rollout plans accordingly is the whole ball game.