System conversion is after all not just tech nical

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System conversion is, after all, not just tech-nicalchange. It is also organizationalchange. Organizational change has been studied since well before information technology entered the picture. One seminal work was (Lewin 1947). It led to the popular “unfreeze-move-refreeze” model of change management elaborated by Schein (1990) and others, known today as the Lewin/Schein model. Other models have up to eight steps (e.g., Kotter 1990) or more. The ADKAR method (Hiatt 2006) sets five require-ments for successful change:Awarenessof why change is neededDesireto support and participate in the changeKnowledgeof how to changeAbilityto implement new skills and be-haviorsReinforcementto sustain the changeThe second and fifth stages must be driven by user-side management. No amount of exhortation by MIS experts can create, for example, a desire for change. Only users’ peers and managers have the requisite credibility. Knowledge and ability can come from MIS trainers. Awareness of the need for change can come from either side, though the support of users’ managers can help technical reasons carry weight. If change is to succeed, user and technical managers must coordinate their activi-ties to cover all five building blocks.As an example of doing this right, an Aus-tralian water utility used the following methods, some of which overlap, to ensure conversion success (Mandal & Gunasekaran 2003): Formulate and use a network to collect user requirements and feedback at each stage.Prepare to handle unexpected crises and deviations from plans.Provide strong leadership with concern for the welfare of people and a resource commitment.Provide a professionally stimulating work environment.Obtain top management support for the project and an adequately resourced launch.Promote consultation, with user participa-tion and approval throughout the project.Communicate proactively, tailoring com-munications to each organizational unit, to establish realistic expectations about the technology’s capabilities.Promote collaborative system development between users and developers.Use multi­functional project teams to bring complementary capabilities together dur-ing the life of the project.
50 International Journal of Enterprise Information Systems, 5(1), 44-54, January-March 2009Copyright © 2009, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Globalis prohibited.Familiarize staff with the new technology, train users involved with the system.Use intra­project teams, and intra­ and inter-industry networking, for technology transfer.Provide stakeholders with a detailed plan of the implementation process, explain how it achieves business objectives, and keep them informed about its progress.

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