change aheadLike many of us, I attend a lot of conferences. At one of them I moderate an annual CIO roundtable full of bright folks that get together and share ideas and experiences. As part of our regular practice, we collect topics from the group for discussion. Topics with the most interest percolate to the top of the list for discussion and idea sharing. In a typical year, the most popular topics might have 3 or 4 mentions. But surprisingly, this year there was a single topic that drew more common interest than any topic in my memory. Change Management. Seemingly everyone in the room was experiencing pain in driving user adoption and gaining acceptance for delivered solutions.

There is no shortage of information available on Change Management. According to its excellent entry on Wikipedia, “Change management is an approach to transitioning individuals, teams, Companies, and organizations to a desired future state.”  The Wiki definition goes on to summarize what appears to me to be an excellent approach to addressing organizational change by talking about the reasons for change, choosing what changes to implement, and managing the change process itself.

Addressing Change Management is no cottage industry either. The likes of IBM and Accenture have large, dedicated practices, and boutique dedicated practices abound. University curriculum now includes degreed options for Change Management in some cases. Addressing Change is obviously difficult and continues to be a prevalent problem, despite a plethora of resources to draw from and complete focus from industry.

Because our tool is often accompanied by changes in business process, the experience of those of us at GreatVines is not much different than this group of executives. We support clients through change in every implementation. Fortunately, at GreatVines we started our very existence focused on simple-to-use tools that users can readily comprehend and embrace. Our desktop and mobile apps both drive these ideals. Certainly as our app has gotten wider and more complex, it’s been a challenge to keep things simple, but from the user perspective we have succeeded. Taking a survey as a user is very simple. Segmenting a huge account universe and designing segment specific Surveys and corresponding goals is complex, and requires a sophisticated Client Administrator. That Client Admin needs a fair bit of training to come up to speed on the tool, end users typically only need a few hours, and many folks can figure it out on their own.

This is no secret. Ideally to the end user, software should be like Amazon or Facebook. You can figure it out on your own.