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Data Management Technology Has Always Been About Change

There has always been change in the world of marketing technology. The friction is here because human beings typically do not like change, but change is how we grow, and how organizations grow.  When you look at what’s different now, you most likely will see that chaos has developed within the chaos to control ratio. Change management calls this VUCA:

  • Volatility
  • Uncertain
  • Complexity
  • Ambiguity

Change is bigger, faster, more unknown and scarier than ever. What did VUCA do? It has made handling technology change mandatory instead of being a or lower-priority initiative.

There are hurdles when tackling change in IT. Immerse yourself into the mind of IT and walk in their shoes (probably sneakers to think about it). In the early days of tech, they were addressing requests that forced them to think about what they needed to do, how to code for that, and then execute it. When they wrote that code, it changed everything that code inherited, supported, changed, and updated. Every new project they completed changed how data was processed to support a business change.  So, then why are technology resources so resistant to change? 

Well, from IT’s perspective, the “big wow” is they actually love change. They love it when they have to learn something new or write something different. That’s the best part of their job. They feel like they know change and they know how to handle change.

The problem is that IT is not often in front of a change initiative, or even part of it. The change is coming from elsewhere, it is (U)ncertain and (A)mbigous, and today more (C)omplex, and moving at a faster pace than it used to be. And it is often coming from sources who don’t understand change as well as those that need to implement it. This is the disconnect. The problem is that other functions of the business aren’t always concerned about what change implementation entails. That is the root cause of the problem. 

The good news is that there are only four steps to change. Here is what change agents can do to move forward:

1. Volatility

You can’t control this, but you can manage it, and think about priorities before you engage.

2. Uncertainty

Same as above.

3. Complexity

Go in thinking it is more complex than you can imagine.

4. Ambiguous

Here is where you can have a big impact. Make it unambiguous.  Understand what the brand is trying to do, or how “this” fits into the brand. Know the emotion, or behavior you are trying to adjust in your customer portfolio, including those outcomes. Have a point of view on what you want to accomplish, but be open to exploring options. This is when you want to begin listening to your IT SMEs. Let them help you in the case that they have an alternative approach. Engage with them. They might know how to implement that change better than you do. Chances are this approach will save you havoc and pain the long run and ultimately improve project outcomes.   

For technology projects to overcome change resistance, the time has come for change agents to use customer and marketing data as another tool in their repertoire for organizational alignment and project success.