Technology Driven Change Fails

admin/ February 5, 2011/ Business Transformation, Change Management, Debate, Transformation Tools & Techniques/ 1 comments

Telstra call centres in crisis

Have you seen this before? According to a recent video from John Kotter, on his Forbes.com blog, only 5% of transformations are successful. That means that 95% of the transformations that we are involved in, fail!

The link above sheds some insight into a transformation that is in crisis. In summary, Telstra attempted to deploy a new CRM system to transform their business (e.g. marketing, sales, customer service) and the deployment is going poorly, per the AustralianIT news outlet. Common problems with the transformation according to AustralianIT include:

  • Lower adoption than needed by the customer service teams
  • Offshoring job loss concerns
  • Insufficient training

This implementation sounds like a “build it and they will come” philosophy, or another project to add to Kotter’s 95% bucket. In particular, reading between the lines of this article, this sounds like a technology driven transformation. In other words, “Lets create the system and give it to the business.” When the users impacted by your transformation use words like “bully”, you have not created an environment where change is embraced.

In the interest of supporting Kotter’s 5% success bucket, we propose the following questions to tease Kotter’s 8 Steps out:

  • Are you positioning your business to drive your transformation, or are you building a solution and planning to thrust it onto the users.
  • Do you take an ownership view of your company to drive your transformation or are your pursuing technology for technology sake.
  • Have you fast-forwarded your reality to assess the business impact of your transformation or will you figure it our later?
  • Have you put yourself in the shoes of the impacted users of your transformation, employees & customers, or are you infinitely convinced that you know the business so well that you do not need their insight?

So, for the 95% of the transformations that fail, per Kotter, what are we doing to learn from them? The prolonged lack of improvement in the 5% suggest that we are not learning from our failures. Thus, we are reminded that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome.

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1 Comment

  1. I think the second point “Do you take an ownership view of your company to drive your transformation or are your pursuing technology for technology sake.” is interesting…

    I agree with this point and feel that “the business” looks at existing technologies in hope that one of them is the holy grail. Try a few technologies, possibly “mimic competitors”, and hope something works.

    The business (defined as though who are accountable for the success of something generating revenue) needs to work closer with their technology peers and together work out a solution. This is why large technical projects that involve agencies succeed in that businesses hire professionals and work out a collective solution – often first given to the agency to propose solutions.

    Looking forward to seeing the comments from this post – good find Joe

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