So many organisations make the same mistake when they’re choosing new technology. They focus on software features, cost savings and potential productivity improvements. While all these things are important, they miss the key point:

you need to think about people first.

Getting your employees onboard with what you are doing is by far the biggest factor to consider when making a change to the business. Forgetting to consider your people means a project may fail to meet its objectives, be delivered late, go over budget and fail to offer a return on investment.

Why is it so important to put people first in a business change, and how should you do it?

Why are people the key to business change?

Managing the people side of change, whether you are implementing a new MRP or updating your O365 toolset, is just as important as having the best technical and project team.

Let’s face it, an organization has a plethora of characters, all with different agendas, ideas, emotions and opinions on business technology. So, introducing a change without considering this and looking seriously at change management and adoption, will likely be difficult – if not impossible.

Having attended several change management courses, the one thing that sticks with me is the notion that organisations don’t change – individuals do. The actual quote from Prosci is “organisations don’t change, people change, one person at a time. Understanding how to achieve individual change is critical for achieving organisational change”.

Whatever your choice of change methodology is, this is worth bearing in mind.

The FITTS change management eBook

3 crucial concepts to understand when changing business technology


There are countless techniques for managing business change, but in my experience the following three concepts can be applied in practically any scenario.

  1. Consider WIIFM

Whenever you make a change to business technology, users want to know WIIFM – What’s in it for me. What is the benefit to them because, ultimately, their own needs and activities are their focus (and certainly not the benefits to the organisation!). You therefore need to fine turn your messaging so that it answers the WIIFM question.

The other thing to mention here is that when an organisation considers their users and change management/adoption they think it is just about email communications and training – but it is really about so much more.

Sending out a bundle of emails to users or posting articles on the intranet stating what the change is and when it is occurring will not cut the mustard – and will probably be ignored. You therefore need to develop a communications strategy that is eye-catching, relevant and cuts through the noise.

  1. Find out what people really want

But how do you talk about WIIFM if you don’t know what is important to your users?

It is essential to find out about users’ current ways of working and what their ‘pain points’ are. This research involves interviewing carefully selected users from a broad spectrum of roles/locations. Research does take time, but once completed you can quickly pick out the pain points and trends and use this to support your adoption activities. If one of the tools you are implementing in your change project takes away or improves on a pain point identified, then it’s a win-win for the project.

Also, from an organisation perspective, research means you can create personas that represent the various ‘types’ of user at your business. By asking specific questions you can help the organisation understand more about what affects their users the most, have insight into location distribution, collaboration focus, time distribution and what are considered as high value activities.

  1. We all need a bit of fun!

Change is only painful if it’s not fun. So, making sure you have ‘fun’ activities as part of your adoption strategy is essential. Remember, users are already under pressure in their daily work, so asking them to change and learn something new is a big ask. Therefore, offering a reason to smile makes the difference and maybe even instils confidence.

From my experience, I have been involved in projects where the change team made the activity fun by:

  • Running sessions for users with lots of cake on offer
  • Having ‘open houses’ where new tech was demonstrated and gamification was the main focus with fun prizes for winners
  • Suspending huge fluffy clouds from ceilings throughout a building advertising the new cloud technology
  • Taking the ‘sand pit’ demo area to a new level by emulating a production line on a new MRP installation where every single part of business was involved

Last but not least – don’t forget that if the user doesn’t see the change as a benefit then it might be considered a threat – so don’t forget to have a resistance plan in place.

Putting people at the heart of your business change

At FITTS, we know just how important people are to business change – which is why we always emphasise our people-first approach whenever we deploy new technology. If you have found that your organisation’s new technology isn’t ‘catching on’ as you’d expect, it could be time to put people first.

For help creating a people-first change strategy, contact FITTS today.