Change Enablement and The Modern Data Culture

In a previous blog post, we discussed the how an organization can foster a modern data culture that is focused, fast, flexible and fun. But building the bridge to engender that culture is easier said than done. Resistance to change is commonplace among organizations both large and small. According to a recent Gartner survey, only 20% of analytics insights will deliver business outcomes. This is not necessarily due to technical shortcomings, but rather cultural ones: lack of data literacy, siloed data processes and workflows, inadequate training, and most often, fundamental communication gaps. All of these barriers can be addressed through a systematic approach to modern data culture implementation. However, traditional “change management” may be inadequate to meet these needs, since it is often characterized by top-down messaging from a small number of people who are directly responsible for change. What is needed is holistic approach to cultural change defined by these qualities:

  • Everyone shares mutual responsibility of change

  • Transparent, organization-wide communication about why change is happening and why it’s exciting

  • Focus on accelerating adoption

Thus, we have change enablement: employee-focused and business success-driven to ensure adoption and usage performance.

The steps to implementing a change enablement program are not dissimilar to any other kind of implementation, technical or otherwise. In the end, stakeholders are identified, an assessment is conducted, and an enablement plan is engineered and reinforced:

Step One: Establish a Change Enablement Team: This team consists of an executive sponsor, a change enablement lead, and communications lead, training lead, and a change champion.

Step Two: Conduct a Change Readiness Assessment: Identify the strengths and weaknesses within all departments and teams that will be affected by a transformative data culture. Where are the pain points? What are the shortcomings and barriers?

Step Three: Create a Baseline Plan: This is where change leadership is identified and engaged and the organization is aligned with point-by-point change milestones. The details of next two steps (communication and training) are also fleshed out and applied.

Step Four: Determine Communications: Build awareness, understanding, adoption and reinforcement through regular leadership reach-out, one-on-one conversation and open team sharing.

Step Five: Build a Training Strategy: Including self-study resources, LMS modules, in-person instruction and virtual education.

As you continue your organization’s digital transformation journey, remember that organizational transformation is as important (if not more so) than technical transformation. Often IT departments are tasked with implementing new technologies and practices without consideration of the impact on the enterprise as a whole. This is where a change enablement program can maximize the organization’s ability to leverage its “return on data” and help create a modern data culture.