Partying with the devil dampens end user goodwill

Go live! Go party! Now that's my kinda software implementation. In this issue of Computerworld we talk to readers about the methods they use to overcome end user resistance to new technology. And while a successful IT project is good reason for celebration, this method of winning user support is incredibly revealing. It demonstrates just how far tech professionals have really come in recent years.

The isolated work ethic that was typical of most IT shops has long gone. There are no more geek boys locked away with their tech toys, the face of IT is a professional one. This is a department that supports every single member of staff. And today it is even setting the social agenda by staging 'go live' parties for end users. And this is really how it should be. IT is one of the few departments in any enterprise that gets to spread its wings and have a degree of influence right across the organization. IT is everywhere and everyone is familiar with those working in IT.

Regardless of how widespread your branches offices are, there is likely to be some kind of contact with those in the IT shop. And you don't have to be an office worker either. In the transport industry for example, drivers are being introduced to wireless systems to replace paper-based order forms.

It's little wonder then that IT is forced to deal with some level of end user resistance. Most of us hate change and we all find ourselves getting cosy with our trusty and familiar desktops. Imagine what it would be like for a truck driver who hasn't even surfed the Net?

This is where IT needs patience and understanding. Don't forget those working in the tech profession adapt to change easily.

It is an industry that demands a lot of flexibility. There are new languages, new systems and new technologies; it's all part of the job. But for end users, it means breaking habits that have been part of their daily working lives for many years.

If there isn't the right level of training and support, users get confused and then they are likely to just get downright cranky.

One bad experience for a user and it soon becomes a trust-building exercise to get that person back on board or you can count it as one soul lost to the devil. And I'm not exaggerating here: try managing this user's scepticism when the next big IT project comes around.

This will be the very same user that grows horns and a tail after a few beers at your next 'go live' party, destroying any goodwill that exists with software horror stories. Now there's one nasty piece of work you don't want on your 'go live' invite list.

What change management methods work for you? E-mail sandra_rossi@idg.com.au

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