Navigating Change in the Digital Age: A Practical Guide to Change Management

Read Time6 minutes

PublishedJune 19, 2024

Navigating Change in the Digital Age: A Practical Guide to Change Management

Let’s face it: most of us don’t like change. 

We get comfortable with routine and rely on the comfort of the same old, same old to get us through the day. 

But, for better or worse, things seldom stay on cruise control for long. Indeed, we live in a time of unpredictable and constant change. Just look at the last few years. We’ve experienced a global pandemic that is still shaping the way we all do business. We’re also currently seeing the rise of AI, something many of us could only imagine just a few short years ago. 

It’s a fact of life and of business: change is always coming. Professionals and organizations who are nimble enough to catch those headwinds, adapt, and evolve are the ones who typically end up on top when the dust settles. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some tips and strategies to help you navigate through major company-wide shifts. 

What is change management?

Simply put, change management is a fancy way of defining the approach you take to introduce, prepare for, and carry out company-wide changes. This can include internal processes, mergers and acquisitions, personnel or role changes, or software technology implementation, which we’ll be discussing here in depth. 

Recognizing the warning signs

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell when a change is necessary. All too often, many of us get accustomed to the way things are, even if it means dealing with workarounds and frustrations. It’s hard to see that perhaps your success is in spite of, not because of, that outdated software solution and that it may actually be holding you back. 

Technology moves fast. New efficiencies are being created every day and what worked well even a few years ago can quickly become obsolete. If your software provider is slow to add new and innovative features, it can seriously affect your ability to compete—not to mention hiring and retaining talented employees. 

Prepare your organization

Before making any major changes to your organization, it’s always smart to engage with your team and include them in the process in some way. This can go a long way toward getting buy-in on the final decision. 

With software in mind, this can come in the form of asking them about current frustrations and discovering what’s currently making their job more difficult than necessary. It’s also important to take note of what’s working well. 

This is also a great time to dream big and identify any key features you’ve been missing out on. And don’t forget to consider the future as well. If the new software system you’re considering looks old and outdated by today’s standards, just think how it’ll be a few years from now when the next big technology shift is on the horizon. 

Create a plan and assemble your leadership team

Once you have an idea of what changes need to be made, it’s always a good idea to assemble your leadership team and bring them in on the decision-making process. Together, you can create goals, identify roadblocks and potential problem areas, and perhaps shortlist a few contenders. 

Each member of the team brings their own unique perspective to the table, and involving them early in the process can help uncover nuances that you otherwise wouldn’t have been aware of. Working with them may help you not only decide on the right software partner, but also work out the implementation plan for your business.

Weigh your options

This is the fun part. You have your wish list of features and a great idea of what will best serve your company. Now, you get to shop around and kick the tires on some new solutions.

As you stack one provider against another and weigh your options, it’s important to look for solutions that will have the maximum impact on the organization—not just today or a few months down the line, but for years to come. 

That’s why it’s always a good idea to look for a reputable, end-to-end, and industry-specific solution that covers all the bases. Most software companies fall into two categories in this regard.

Proprietary and native

On the one hand, you’ll find businesses who rely on proprietary, or native, applications that can be assembled together to create a somewhat customized solution. 

This may sound tempting at first, but consider this: what if you prefer a different, third-party accounting or payroll vendor some time down the road? Is the basic operations module—the CRM that everything connects to—really comprehensive, or does it need a multitude of costly ad-ons to actually provide value? 

End-to-end with strong integrations

The other approach involves a strong, comprehensive solution that touches every aspect of your workflow. Powerful integrations provide further customization options. 

Most modern technology providers opt for a combination of the two approaches, delivering a solid, all-encompassing platform with optional modules that cover specialized areas and key integrations that provide solutions outside the scope of industry-specific operations.

This approach enables you to grow, adapt, and evolve the way you see fit rather than being forced to rely on native apps that may or may not get the job done. Aspire has taken this route for exactly those reasons.

Future-proofing your business

Most cleaning businesses, and other service providers for that matter, rely on multiple software systems to get the job done quickly and efficiently. That’s why it’s important to find an operations software system that brings these solutions together with seamless integrations. 

Doing so can make your life easier in many ways, enabling you to freely share data across multiple solutions, eliminating redundancies, and opening the door for you to seek out the solutions that will provide the most impact to your day to day. 

Communicate and implement 

Once you’ve decided on a software partner that provides everything you need, it’s time to let your team know about the planned change. Getting this right is vital, because—as mentioned in our opening line—no one ever really gets excited about unexpected changes.

That’s why it’s so important to get buy-in early and involve your team in some way during the decision-making process. The main thing to keep in mind here is to make sure you point out what’s in it for them. Get them excited about the new possibilities, and let them know that the decision was made with their best interests in mind. 

Setting expectations and being crystal clear about what is expected of your team can also help to clear the air and ensure that everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal—to make the move a success. 

Your new software provider will most likely have some sort of training or onboarding process to help your team adjust to the new system. Making sure your team attends these training sessions and understands the basics of the platform can also go a long way toward a successful software implementation. 

Getting it right

When it comes to big organizational shifts, like implementing or switching operations software, it's always important to have a game plan. The steps we outlined in this article should serve you well when the time comes to move to an end-to-end platform. 

Doing so sooner, rather than later, can position your organization for years of success as market conditions and technology evolve. This in turn can help you stay a couple steps ahead of your competitors who opted for outdated and restrictive systems—or worse, no software at all. 

When the time comes to find a new software partner, we hope you put Aspire at the top of your list. Schedule a demo today and see what our comprehensive, industry-specific solutions can do for your professional cleaning business.

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