How Netpremacy & Google can help you utilise G Suite & GCP to become more digital and mobile
Register now for our 3-part webinar series, featuring guest speakers from our partners FinTech North, and Google Cloud, as we discuss:
• How to create a return to work strategy with Google technology
• Increasing collaboration and productivity in the manufacturing industry
• How to use smart analytics to stay ahead of competitors
Follow the links below to find out more and how to register for each webinar.
How ML & Smart Analytics are helping FinTechs understand their data
Date: 09/07/20 Time: 11:00-12:00
Join us, FinTech North, and Google to learn about the power of Machine Learning, and Big Query. Hear more on how FinTechs are driving their business forward thanks to Google Cloud. Understand how businesses are using data to gain a competitive advantage, and how Big Query is the tool that makes this possible.
- Alastair Lumley, Netpremay
- Tom Anderson, Netpremacy
- Julian Wells, Director, FinTech North
- Richard Ashby, Google Cloud
How businesses can use the G Suite tool-stack to return to work
Date: 22/07/20 Time: 11:00-12:00
Sign up to our webinar to understand how businesses can use tools from G Suite to create a complex and intelligent booking system, to get your teams safely back up and running in an office environment.
Hear from Google and Netpremacy on what our plans are for getting back to the office, and how we are using tools from G Suite, App Script, and Data Studio to do so.
Manufacturing with G Suite during and post-pandemic
Date: 23/07/20 Time: 11:00-12:00
Sign up for our webinar to hear how manufacturers in the industry are increasing their agility and digitizing their way of working thanks to Google Cloud.
To sustain a business we must transform digitally and culturally. G Suite has been a go-to solution for many organisations within the manufacturing and distribution market, providing that competitive edge during times of uncertainty.
If you are unable to attend these webinars, but would like to find out more, please contact us.
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To BYOD or not to BYOD—that is the question that dominates internal communication departments around the world and sparks fires of discussion all over the Internet. It has been called many things: a trend, an IT manager’s nightmare, and a revolution. However, recent data suggests that “inevitable” is the better way to describe it.
So, what is BYOD?
BYOD encourages company employees to work on the device they choose – accessing corporate email and text documents on their mobile device. The ultimate goal? Increased productivity and reduced costs.
As many IT departments struggle to keep up with yearly technology changes, employees increasingly want to use their own devices to access corporate data. This includes mobile phones, laptops, and tablets which encompasses similar Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) and Bring Your Own PC (BYOPC) initiatives. All of them have evolved to empower workforces through the so-called ‘consumerization of IT’.
Why BYOD matters
Mobile communication has been a best practice in our private lives for some time now, and the trend is flooding the corporate environment, it should be no surprise that the driving force behind BYOD is a new IT self-sufficiency among employees who already own and use personal devices.
These mobile devices are often newer and more advanced than the equipment deployed by many departments. More and more companies are establishing mobile-first internal communication channels and are asking themselves which devices serve them best.
More than 50% of UK companies have already aligned themselves with a BYOD policy, and an additional 15% plan to do so within the next 12 months.
BYOD benefits and advantages
It is easy to imagine scenarios in which both workers and their companies can benefit from BYOD – from the sales representative who has access to custom CRM solutions from his or her iPad to the marketer who has a “eureka” moment in the middle of the night and can immediately pull data from the company’s latest survey for the next advertising campaign.
However for companies with high numbers of non-desk workers, the discussion around BYOD is especially important. Allowing a remote workforce to use their own devices enables companies to bridge the communication gap between desk-bound employees and their non-desk counterparts.
There are some key advantages to operating a BYOD strategy, including increased employee satisfaction (they can work more flexibly), cost savings (reduced hardware spend, software licensing and device maintenance) plus productivity gains (employees are happier, more comfortable and often work faster with their own technology).
- Greater productivity: No need to train your employees on how to use their own technology. Studies show that BYOD can lead to increased productivity as they’re more familiar with the layout and technology. 73% of executives stated that BYOD increases efficiency in the workforce.
- Enhanced flexibility: Depending on the job role, it means that you can tap into all the benefits of remote working and ensure that your workforce has access to the solutions they need no matter their location.
- Better employee retention: Not only does BYOD help companies to attract millennial talent to the workforce, but it also ensures that they’re more likely to stick around too, thanks to the promise of better wellbeing. A Samsung study found that 78% of workers feel using a single device helps them to maintain better work/life balance.
- Minimal investment: Instead of investing in endless new agile technology, you simply upgrade your software on the cloud.
BYOD can be easily integrated into the lives of your employees. This enables greater work-life balance and leads directly to higher productivity. This, of course, means that employees face a certain trade-off with BYOD: they get better and more information to help them do their jobs, and it’s available via the most familiar channel, but their private lives will sometimes be invaded by work. This is a compromise which many workers will gladly accept, especially if clear guidelines have been established that aim to minimize any discontent.
Planning a successful BYOD policy
The advent of BYOD is forcing IT departments and IT managers to develop and implement policies that govern the management of unsupported devices. Network security is paramount and once you have decided that employees are allowed to bring their own devices to work there are questions that need answering.
Acceptable use: How is personal use handled? Should any websites be blocked? Should the camera and video function be disabled? Are there areas in which the WiFi has to be deactivated? Do you need to determine a list of forbidden apps? Should there be a specific policy for texting? These are the questions that need to be addressed.
Security: Measures must be taken in order to avoid unnecessary security risks. Ask your IT department and set guidelines for password protection, user session times, and rules for downloading content. Also, consider limiting access to company data and consider the content you make available.
Risks and liabilities: Make it clear from the start that employees are expected to use their devices ethically, and that disciplinary actions can be taken for noncompliance with company policies.
Devices and support: BYOD covers a large array of devices, it might be helpful to determine which ones are allowed. There must be at least one contact person and the exact level of support should be clearly defined.
Once the various policies have been agreed upon, maintaining these depends on an organisation’s ability to educate its employees on best practices, implement effective device management and support, and ability to enforce them. Creating a sound BYOD program must be a collaborative effort between an organisation’s employees, IT and security teams, and management
Why Consider BYOD at all?
The rise of BYOD is inevitable. We’re beginning to face an era where people are ready to adopt this form of working. Ubiquitous operating systems, devices, and server-side processing architecture make adoption of BYOD much easier. Cloud storage and SaaS models mean that it’s also much cheaper to ensure internal governance. From a business point of view, BYOD is quicker and more cost-effective. Many industries have started to realise that the generation of tomorrow requires the latest technology, and delivering that on a Capex basis could be very expensive.
Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by the end of 2025, and Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day. The trend of catering to Gen Y’s preferences is set to increase, and BYOD could be the most cost-effective way to embrace changes in an OPEX fashion. While the cost of BYOD has always been cheaper than launching enterprise-owned device networks, 2018 has launched a new era for cost-efficiency. Providers are more frequently offering BYOD services and support through the cloud, delivering scalable solutions customers need instantaneously. The cloud also ensures that better data storage is available for both in-office and remote workers, allowing everyone to have access to the same software and space regardless of what their individual devices might allow.
Ultimately, BYOD isn’t going anywhere and in fact, is being adopted at an incredible rate. Today’s businesses simply need to devise how to implement it in a way that suits their needs. With the right support, a strong set of software solutions, and a secure BYOD policy, businesses are able to access the benefits of a modern BYOD plan, without any of the potential negatives.
Find out more about what Netpremacy can provide here.
Disaster recovery and business have continuously become hot topics, however much of the focus is on protecting data and the systems surrounding it. The IT industry tends to fixate on things like phishing scams, cryptolockers, and data leaks; and as a business, you want to protect your staff and systems.
What about the phones?
In this blog, I will discuss the importance and best practice of disaster recovery in relation to your telephony system. As a telecoms consultant, the most prominent feature that I get asked about is the ability to have a reliable and effective disaster recovery solution in place, to which I always recommend moving to a fully hosted VoIP system. For those not familiar with this, VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol – also referred to as broadband phone service, IP telephony, or voice over broadband – and offers telephone communications delivered over the Internet. It’s a unified communication package, which combines phone calls, faxes, email, voicemail, and Web and video conferences.
With this in mind, the aim of this blog is to highlight why I would recommend a hosted telephony system over a traditional on-premise, and to discuss the many ways that companies can ensure that they protect themselves and their customers.
Hosted Cloud Telephony vs Traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange)
Businesses often do not realise the importance of a disaster recovery plan until it is too late as such it’s not hard to understand why businesses forget about their telephony. Traditionally, the phone company was in charge of business phones, as long as the ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) lines were functioning, you had service. If the lines went down you were left with nothing; the most you could do was request a forward to an external number that usually took between 1 – 2 hours to set up. However, in today’s modern workplace, with ever-increasing demands, that’s not good enough. This is where Hosted telephony really shines through.
By moving the PBX to the cloud, you are removing the operational risk associated with on-premise equipment and physical ISDN lines. Here are some of the advantages a cloud-based PBX has over legacy ISDN connections:
- The disaster recovery functionality ensures that employee productivity will not become stagnant due to a lack of access to information,
- Communication is made easy in the recovery process thanks to features like advanced call routing,
- Voicemail, Contacts, Fax and Call Information are all safe when the VoIP system is using the Cloud,
- Recovering your information can be done with ease from any device,
- Employees will be able to take advantage of seamless mobile working.
If the worst should happen…
We all know that a business can be affected by a variety of disasters such as fire, network failure, weather-related incidents or malware attacks. When companies purchase a hosted phone system they are taking a step in the right direction by having a fully redundant solution. Features like call routing, video and web conferencing and configuration are always available. No matter the circumstance a Hosted system keeps your employees in-touch and ready to work from anywhere.
How cloud can help to protect you in a disaster:
- In the event of a disaster, a traditional PBX system doesn’t allow employees to access their phones and information the way a Hosted VoIP system does.
- A traditional PBX system may not have a dial tone in the event of a large storm or power outage, while a Hosted VoIP system will be operating to its full capabilities.
- During a catastrophe, a Hosted VoIP system gives the option to employees to work from where they are safe.
- The abilities of Hosted VoIP systems are possible by the diverse locations of servers, allowing for the system to always be operational, no matter where a disruption may occur.
Of course, no system is 100% bulletproof and the same goes for hosted VoIP. The best disaster recovery solution is to take a proactive approach. As a business, you may have taken the biggest step you can by moving to the cloud; but there are other factors to consider when looking at the entire DR picture. These additional layers are optional and considered best practice; they focus on prevention and monitoring and will add protection and redundancy to your existing systems.
Backup Internet Connectivity
VoIP phones require the Internet to work so any DR plan should account for the loss of connectivity. Do you have a second line to switch over if the primary one fails? What happens if your ISP goes down? Some organisations prefer to have a second line from a different provider for this exact scenario. Your business should be able to carry on working if your primary Internet went down.
VoIP Monitoring Systems
One of the crucial elements of disaster recovery is notification. How do you know when to kick your backup plans into action? VoIP monitoring systems help with that. This is something not offered by traditional PBX platforms, that will actively monitor and report on the state and quality of the calls within the platform and report directly back to the user. Even a few minutes of downtime can be costly to a business and being forward-thinking will help you recover faster.
Reputed VoIP service providers will offer automatic failover protection. This means if calls cannot be completed, the system will roll over to an alternate solution. If you don’t use hosted services, you might need to create your own failsafe systems.
Do you automatically forward calls to your employees’ mobile devices? Not everyone likes to get business calls on their personal phones. Will you allow your staff to use their personal VoIP services instead? If yes, you will have to reimburse them for business calls. You may have to create DR plans in conjunction with other policies such as BYOD (bring your own device), corporate expense reimbursement, and storm evacuation.
What DR Plans does your Provider have?
Just because you use cloud VoIP services doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to disaster recovery planning. You should talk to your vendor and see what plans they have to recover from a disaster. After all, you’re depending on their ability to provide phone services to get you through a crisis. Suppose your vendor has 4 data centers. Are they all in the same location/region? Some disasters can strike a large area, so this might actually be a risk.
What happens if one of the data centers loses power? Are calls automatically re-routed? How quickly can they notify you when something goes wrong? Not all vendors know how to manage disaster recovery properly and you need to make sure your provider is prepared as well as you are!
The age of the on-premise ISDN based PBX is drawing to a close. This is confirmed by BTs’ decision to begin the staged phase-out of all ISDN lines starting in 2020, essentially speeding up cloud telephony adoptions for business.*
Traditional telephony is unable to provide an adequate solution to this demand and as such we are seeing the adoption of cloud telephony become more popular. Cloud-based telephony is no longer the domain of SMBs and early adopters, it has now matured to the point that it is adopted by some of the largest global brands. They recognise the advantages it brings from a piece of mind point of view when it comes to redundancy and recovery, and that it offers unparalleled flexibility. Now all that remains is for other companies to take the next step for themselves.
If your interested in finding out more about cloud telephony please contact us for more information.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Netpremacy”
Pressure Technologies is a specialist engineering group with businesses in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barton on Humber, Glasgow, Cardiff and overseas in Vancouver, Canada, Germany and Pittsburgh, USA.
The company was introduced to Pressure Technologies at a Sheffield Chamber of Commerce event where CEO, John Hayward was impressed by the presentation Netpremacy gave on the benefits to a business that G Suite could offer.
G Suite had two core appeals for Pressure Technologies, cybersecurity with trusted Cloud-based servers and the ability to collaborate. With geographically diverse businesses, Google’s G Suite and cloud storage gave Pressure Technologies added security and a common operating platform across the entire Group. The Cloud encouraged and enabled collaborative and mobile working, with access to data from any device, anywhere.
The project kicked off with Netpremacy being invited to present to Pressure Technologies senior management team and business leaders, who were as equally impressed as John had been at the event in Leeds.
To ensure a smooth transition of the overall G Suite Deployment, Netpremacy broke it down into 2 projects, so each project had its own statement of work.
The first project began in July 2017 and included all the manufacturing divisions. Given the scale of this first project, consisting of 6 businesses, a decision was made to break up the project into two phases: Drop 1 and Drop 2.
Project 1 was concluded by December, and the second project for the Alternative Energy Division was delivered early 2018. Even though this second project was smaller than the former it still came with its challenges. With Pressure Technologies being dispersed between the UK and Canada, it meant the project team had to plan meticulously to avoid issues arising from the time difference, time constraints and international training both in person and remote.
Each of the projects began with a period of discovery, an important aspect to ensure a smooth transition. The aim of this was to find out what processes could be improved upon, where time was being wasted and more importantly, where G Suite could be used to improve efficiency and the everyday practices of teams and individuals. The information collected was used to form the training sessions, training resources and post-training support that users received.
Before the transition to G Suite and the training that was provided, Pressure Technologies were using Outlook. When the transition began, Netpremacy used a tried and tested approach for migrating the data. After the training sessions were over, the teams returned to their desks and all of their data had been seamlessly migrated across into G Suite. This then led to a successful transition for Pressure Technologies.
Training and communications were provided by Netpremacy as a part of managing the end user’s reaction to the change in the business. Moving platforms can often be stressful without the right communication to educate end users, leading to lower adoption levels if not managed correctly.
In this particular project, training played a very important role. Pressure Technologies encompassed most age groups and generations, as a result, there was a broad mix of confidence levels in using new tools. Taking this into consideration, Netpremacy took people from every sector of the business to be Google Guides, giving them access to G Suite before everyone else. This meant they were confident and in turn able to help their colleagues with the transition after the training and go-live had finished.
A programme of ongoing communications in the weeks following go-live ensured further support. A “Tip of the Week” programme was created and sent out weekly to provide small pieces of information and improve knowledge on how to use different aspects of G Suite. This series of tips have been very successful so far with some users being known to print them out or store them in some way to create their own ‘Google Handbooks’.
“I have been heavily involved in IT projects during my 35 year career, and none of them have ever gone this smoothly. It’s been a pleasure working with Netpremacy. We highly rate the team for technical and project management ability. G Suite is transforming the way we work,encouraging much wider collaboration then we had dared to imagine.”
– John Hayward – CEO, Pressure Technologies
Although the migration to G Suite is complete, Pressure Technologies decided to continue with the CSS programme that Netpremacy provides. They felt this was essential to the continued success for the transition to Google and did not want to leave people with the project without ongoing support to ensure G suite is successfully embedded into the whole Group.
If you have any questions regarding G Suite and how it can enhance your company’s performance, please contact us.
Managing Resistance to Change
In this blog post, I would like to underline how to go about managing resistance to change. As a trainer and therefore, the person on the ground during a change initiative, I am usually a prime target for directing resistance. Having experienced this in the past, I aim to highlight the methods and approaches Netpremacy use when dealing with resistance in a project.
It is important to have a plan of action for managing resistance. This will help to mitigate the impact of resistance on a business change and ensure a smooth transition between the old and new processes. Resistance is a natural human reaction that stems from the fear of moving into an unknown future state. It is, therefore, the role of a change manager to identify and address resistance, as well as get the right people involved in managing this on a personal and individual level. Poor change management can directly influence resistance, so in order to avoid these change management activities need to be at the heart of a project.
Resistance management and change management come hand-in-hand
Proactive change management is key to dealing with resistance. Training and communications activities are essential for many reasons:
To communicate the need for change, the effect it may have on people and the benefits it will bring in the future.
To expect certain obstacles and tackle them head-on in advance of the switch (for example, by creating MythBusters, FAQ’s, custom use cases, and many more).
To ensure people have all the knowledge they need to feel comfortable and confident with the new way of working.
Motivating and engaging employees through visible executive sponsorship and general support from management serves to create a burning platform and encourage positive emotion towards the change (see blog post on the importance of executive sponsorship). This can then be captured and leveraged to further spread the excitement and purpose.
Another aspect of change management is to expect resistance and empathise with the difficulty to adapt to new ways of working. There will always be a strong tendency to revert back to old ways, especially with deadlines and time constraints. It is normal for people to “quickly do something the old way” because it’s easier and they don’t have to think about it. Making yourself do something alien or unnatural and sticking to it is very hard so it is up to the change manager to facilitate the new processes and communicate the short and long-term advantages.
There are 3 steps to formally addressing resistance:
1. Identifying the resistors
2. Give them a part to play
3. Understand why they resist
The types of resistors that you frequently encounter are people who either have a strict routine for certain processes, are the ones who put the old processes in place, or already have heavy workloads and anticipate even more work as a result of the change. For example, in a typical G Suite deployment, those who are usually resistant to the transition are typically heavy spreadsheet users such as the finance department and PA’s because they have a unique way of working (with mail and calendar delegation).
Initial communications, such as a scoping survey that gauges how people currently work and what attitudes they have towards the project, are normally the first means of targeting resistance. In the first instance, you should pick out the people who are in favour of the change as these will help to spread excitement and positive energy around the organisation. Then, identify those who raise concerns about the change and get them involved in the project. Doing this will make them feel more in-control of the change and therefore, it will seem less scary because they are driving it. Taking this proactive (rather than reactive) approach to resistance management will help to reduce risks to the project rollout.
There is also a trend in the root causes of resistance that should be taken into consideration when understanding certain user groups objections.
Firstly, a common reason for resistance would be the lack of awareness. This is where clear and concise communications are vital to ensure complete transparency of why the change is happening, how it will be rolled out and when each stage is going to take place (see blog post on impactful communications).
Secondly, people are often afraid of the effects to their current and future job role. Employees sometimes feel that they may become less efficient at their work after the change, leading to the fear of job loss. Effective and engaging training gives these people the knowledge and ability to continue with daily operations, and floor walking allows trainers to provide one-on-one support to those still struggling (see blog post on effective and engaging training).
Lastly, another reason for resistance could be bad experiences in the past. As mentioned above, implementing change into an organisation requires visible support and commitment from managers. Without this, there are no apparent advocates of the change and so no-one pushing the project on the inside.
Assign resistance managers
Getting the right people involved from the start to combat resistance will facilitate the change management process. These people will be well respected to help push positivity and influence innovation.
Senior leaders are in the perfect position to enforce the need for change. If they devote time to the project to demonstrate their commitment, employees will value their input and opinion.
Middle managers represent leadership within the organisation already and are the closest figures of authority to employees. Being openly supportive and advocating for the change will motivate employees to follow suit.
Appointing these resistance manager roles can not only reduce negativity towards the project but also minimise ongoing resistance once the project has come to an end.
Having a plan for managing resistance is an important aspect of the change management process. From the early stages of a project, there are many factors to consider for managing resistant user groups in a proactive manner.
First of all, standard change management activities should be as strong as ever, especially if there are already high signs of resistance.
Then, an understanding of who is resisting and why is required to address resistance upfront by making them a part of the change.
Lastly, resistance managers from inside the organisation drive the positive need for change during the project and the increasing desire for innovation in the future.
Click here, for more information on how Netpremacy can help with change management for your business.
Training and Change Coordinator
Jellyfish are a global boutique agency located in offices in the UK, Europe, US and South Africa. Jellyfish pride themselves on being accountable, autonomous, flexible and personal.
About This Project
In 2017, Jellyfish approached Netpremacy as they wanted to achieve a more flexible and collaborative way of working. Over the course of several months, Netpremacy facilitated the transition to G Suite for all Jellyfish offices around the globe.
The project was kicked off with teams from Jellyfish and Netpremacy to outline the approach for the project. Initially, the Core IT staff at Jellyfish were the first team to go live.
The G Suite Ninjas were next. G Suite Ninjas were a select group of Google enthusiasts, tech-savvy individuals who would help support other end users through the transition. Jellyfish created a series of fantastic illustrations to accompany their Ninja theme, and brought fun and creativity to their go live!
“Jellyfish decided to Go Google in 2017 to further enable us to work in a more collaborative and secure environment. Netpremacy were incredibly helpful throughout the project, and ensured that our transition to Google was a smooth one”
– Daniel Paget, Group Operations Director
For the final phase of the project, to make all other users live, Jellyfish and Netpremacy took a ‘big bang’ approach. This meant everyone went live on the same day. G Suite branded bottles, T-Shirts and stickers were handed out, along with bunting, balloons, and cake to decorate the offices during this time. This made Go Live week a more engaging and exciting event for everyone in the business.
In addition to this, Netpremacy built a social intranet for Jellyfish to display content and create a central place for internal communications. This intranet was accessible for all staff members which integrates with G Suite where people’s emails, calendars, and files can be displayed for a more personalised feel. The intranet allowed for easier access to information, news, and files and formed an online social community for Jellyfish. This was also launched at the same time as users went live on Google making for a whole new exciting user experience!
Communicate change, celebrate success: How communication can impact attitudes towards change.
A little about me
Firstly, I will introduce myself. My name is Francesca Clarke, I am a Training and Change Co-ordinator for Netpremacy Ltd, a Premier Partner of Google. I started this role after leaving the corporate banking world where I witnessed first hand the blunders that are often made during a change in a business.
In my previous role, I was heavily involved with training new starters and managing change projects. I found keeping the attitudes of others positive was an uphill struggle as systems were constantly changing with inadequate change management. This encouraged my passion for helping companies and individuals to understand the importance of managing change.
During my time at Netpremacy Ltd I have led numerous change initiatives and been part of too many to list all by name. Last year I had the pleasure of working with a particular customer whose goal was to implement Google Drive across the organisation within the space of two weeks. This was a challenging piece as time was of the essence, but by not sacrificing communication we had an undeniable success. We had great support from the customer as they understood the importance of communication in overcoming negative attitudes towards change. With great executive sponsorship and a willingness to be open, honest and empathetic to different skill levels the project was a triumph.
Understanding human reaction
Change management can and should be acknowledged and implemented through all aspects of life. ‘The change curve’ is a useful tool in understanding the human reaction to change of any kind; showing the different stages that people go through when faced with a change in any aspect of their life, it can also be used to understand why we act the way we do in both personal and business change scenarios.
The important thing to remember is that this is not a linear process. Whilst going through the curve, setbacks can happen and you may find that individuals or even entire companies can move back and forth through the different stages.
The following scenario is one that can easily be avoided when a company ‘Goes Google’: John works in a finance department that has always used Microsoft Excel, they have just been told that from now on they are to use Google Sheets. John has never used Google Sheets before and has not received comprehensive training or floor walking to help him through this change. John still has to meet his deadlines and has been left to struggle to meet these deadlines whilst using an unfamiliar product. John will probably have very strong negative feelings towards the new tools as a result of a lack of change management, therefore heavily impacting his productivity.
If John had been kept informed through communications, training sessions and post training support, this could have been avoided.
Taking these small steps could help someone feel confident and comfortable with change and eventually lead to this new product being integral into how the company works to achieve the goals of the project.
Working in change management, it is my role to orchestrate a plan that will guide people through these stages, prevent these setbacks and most importantly provide the correct guidance and support.
Keeping the change curve at the front of our mind, communication should be a present and persistent concern throughout every stage of a project or change. However, if you are thinking about executing a project without proper communication… This is a dangerous game to play.
How communications can make a difference
Communications are the lifeline of any project, they have the power to maintain the levels of positivity needed, stop incorrect information making the rounds and encourage individuals to be proactive in their own learning. It has been well documented that 70% of change initiatives fail. To measure how successful a change initiative is we examine the goals of the project and see if the change has achieved these goals. These goals should be explained and emphasised through communications to raise awareness of the desire for this change and how to achieve them to ensure success.
Ensure to choose the correct Executive Sponsor to deliver these communications. For example, if you are running an IT project the communications should not be coming from someone in IT, instead they should be coming from a well known face of the company. C-level management work best to stop the all involved from believing ‘it’s just another IT project… nothing to do with me’. (To find out more on the importance of Executive Sponsorship click here).
Another big faux pas is underestimating who needs to know about a change in the business or organisation, a change in the company. Everyone needs to know about any change – even if it will have a seemingly insignificant effect on their role, as even the smallest effect on someone can lead to negativity and this may have a domino effect throughout the company, leading to a failed change initiative.
Getting the word out
We are fortunate that in this day and age we have more available channels of communications than any generation that has come before. We should not limit our information distribution to merely emails and monthly newsletters, as you will find most people within a company can ignore these or at most skim read them not absorbing the important information often contained within them.
Today businesses have multiple internal communication channels at their disposal…emails, texts, letters, leaflets, posters, table stands, banners, internal communication platforms, public websites, videos and animations are just a few of the methods for little cost or none at all. So long as what you’re putting forward is eye catching and transparent in it’s content you can use any and every channel available. As part of Netpremacy our change team have delivered weekly broadcasts direct to users to brush up on useful hints, we have created corporate and fun animated videos to spread the goals of projects, used products at the customers disposal to create an open forum for sharing useful information, celebrating success and congratulating colleagues on achievements… but we can’t give away all our secrets!
As a customer facing trainer I have seen first hand the issues that arise from a lack of communication, for this reason when we take on a project the Change Management team and I will always ask which communication channels the company uses. If I am given more than two channels to use from the customer I am about ready to jump for joy, and let’s not even get onto how happy I become when I am told by a customer…“We have a great in house communications team.” This is the dream of anyone who specialises in change management, as from the start the customer already understands the importance of change management in any project and communications in general.
The need for a customer-driven focus on communication is essential in tackling opposition to change in the workplace. You will find that the strongest resistance can come from the most unsuspecting places, for the smallest of reasons. So facing this early in a change project is an absolute must!
One last thing…Empathy
Try to put yourself in the users shoes and explain in simple language. Never assume that anyone has any previous experience with what will be introducing. If you use jargon you run the risk of excluding people and this will cause a lot of issues that communications are designed to prevent. The idea is to remove boundaries and hierarchies and instead give those who would usually shy away from change a reason to embrace it and become an evangelist.
If you have any questions on the topic of this blog post or a general question contact us.
Blog post written by Francesca Clarke, Training and Change Co-ordinator, Netpremacy
The Secret Ingredient in Change: Executive Sponsorship
My name is Fraja Hodges and I work in the Training and Change Team at Netpremacy, a Google Cloud Premier Partner. Having seen first-hand how important the role of an Executive Sponsor is during a time of change, I was inspired to write a post on this specific topic:
We recently worked with a company who were looking to implement a social collaboration platform in order to “connect the unconnected”. Their extremely proactive CEO, who acted as Executive Sponsor in the G Suite deployment, strongly contributed to the overall success of the project. His general enthusiasm and eagerness for the transition motivated his employees, especially upon seeing that he ‘practiced what he preached’, communicating via Hangouts and Google+, rather than email. Working with us as a partner meant they had all the advice they needed on-hand. We were able to identify exactly what needed to happen and how, namely analysing key use cases and broadcasting a unified, focused message.
When a company decides to make a change – whether this is a deployment of G Suite, Zendesk, LumApps, RingCentral, etc. – the ‘why, what, when, how and who’s must be relayed to the end-user so that the project is completely pellucid for everyone to understand and trust in. These include why this is happening, what exactly it will entail when it will take place, how it will be rolled-out, and lastly who they can contact for further information and support. This should help to prevent resistance, anxiety, and confusion from the offset. As per the Netpremacy Change Management Methodology, at the start of any project, we ensure that an Executive Sponsor is nominated to act as the face of change. This blog post explores the part played by an Executive Sponsor in a change initiative and their significance to the project.
So, what does being an Executive Sponsor actually mean?
The role of an Executive Sponsor is best untaken by a senior member of the project board, often the CEO of the company. The reason for this is that they are a respected, authoritative person who can aid in promoting change management and supporting the project from the perspective of the organisation’s strategic goals. They are a key decision-maker in the deployment, with the control over people and resource needed to finalise the best approaches and practices for their company; as well as a catalyst for change to get the ball rolling. It’s important for them to have a vision of what the change will bring to be able to identify objectives, outcomes, and measures. This, in turn, will create and emphasise a ”burning platform” – or absolute need – for the transition.
Executive Sponsorship usually involves a number of responsibilities when it comes to organisation-wide announcements and communications (see more about the importance of communications here). The elected sponsor is the one from whom end-users should receive any information and updates to do with the project, and is the internal presence that provides a sense of familiarity during such times of change. They are usually a big (if not sole) focus in the elevator pitch – this is the initial announcement and a direct message to all employees from the Executive Sponsor on the reasons and benefits of going Google. It typically includes the end goal and vision for the future, as well as the project roll-out plan and impacts on users that the move may entail. Their named sign-off on communications and senior position build the initial sense of urgency for this transition on an individual, personal level, as well as an organisational one.
What else makes for good sponsorship?
One of the top contributors to success for change management initiatives is active and visible Executive Sponsorship. All organisations look to their leaders in times of difficulty or uncertainty to be strong supporters and lead the way – this is no different when it comes to times of change. Senior leadership provides the credibility to maintain and articulate a clear and attractive vision for why the change is necessary and therefore, increase the impact of the messages received by the end-user. Likewise, their overall line authority gives them the ability to directly confront resistance in order to clear a path to success.
The Executive Sponsor will align the organisation’s infrastructure, environment and reward systems with the change, allowing for performance to be measured and managed accordingly. Having somebody well-known and influential celebrate project successes is meaningful to the end-user and encourages innovation long after the deployment has come to an end. This also emphasises that this is not just an IT project, but a complete cultural transformation (see here for a great blog post on how G Suite deployments underpin the journey of cultural transformation within businesses).
What are the risks of poor sponsorship?
Using an influential, senior person in the company for communications, means end-users are more likely to open (and actually read) the information they include around the project. Let’s face it, you’d pay more attention to an email from your CEO, than you would from someone in IT that you may not know! Additionally, when you see an email from your CEO, you immediately assume it’s content is important – otherwise, why would they spend their valuable time writing it?
As established beforehand, an Executive Sponsor should have authority and credibility. Without this, there is less of an incentive for people to co-operate and little sense of urgency for the transition. Visible senior involvement helps to avoid push-backs and delays of the project, as well as portray the change as a “burning platform” because their internal position brings value, urgency, and priority to the project.
I hope that this post has highlighted the roles and reasons for an active and visible Executive Sponsor in any form of change initiative. Not only do they boost employee engagement and promote the importance of change management, but they also have a direct effect on the success of the deployment as a whole. Having the right people involved and providing transparency throughout the project creates a purpose and a visual plan for the transition.
If you have any questions on this topic or for Netpremacy in general, please feel free to contact us here.
Blog post written by Fraja Hodges, Training and Change Co-ordinator, Netpremacy