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Change management required for decade of technology

Craig Manson
September 20, 2011

A Canon Australia study entitled, ‘Change or Be Left Behind’ has highlighted the crucial role that technology plays as Australian organisations go through changes in their business.

When asked what will be the single biggest change their organisation will go through in the next 10 years, 43% of business leaders overwhelmingly said that technological advancements were top of the list. This was over and above other areas such as general company changes (19%), people changes (18%) and wider economic/legislative changes (18%).

The two part Canon-sponsored research study sought to understand attitudes and trends in how Australian businesses view change, pinpoint key barriers to change, the role that technology plays in the process and what the formula for good change is.

Split via two audiences, the first survey spoke with 300 senior Australian executives responsible for change, while the second questioned 700 general business workers, not responsible for change in Australian organisations.

The overriding theme from the study was that despite agreeing change was important (86%) and that their business will be left behind if they don’t address it (73%), just 39% of Australian organisations embrace it and under half (49%) take a pro-active stance on change.

A healthy proportion of respondents didn’t believe their business had the right tools to deliver change (40%), but agreed that technology played a very important role within the change process (95%) and increased their competitive nature.

The study shows that if we look at everything that’s ‘changing’ within Australian business, technology change is by far and away the biggest thing that organisations will go through in the next 10 years. But this is not about implementing technology for technology’s sake. Organisations need to take the time to look at how their business is evolving and growing, working out how technology can align with the business, changing it for the better and making it more competitive.

The force behind change

Not only will technology be the biggest change organisations go through, it was also ranked highly among both sets of respondents as the main reason behind why change occurred in Australian businesses in the first place.

Each survey group was asked to rank three of their top driving forces behind change. Fifty-nine per cent of business leaders ranked technological advancements as the biggest driving force behind change, with financial (54%) and people considerations (44% placed second and third respectively. Employees allocated technology in fourth place (44%), behind reasons such as increased competition (56%), financial considerations (55%) and the need to work smarter and increase productivity (51%).

Technology also plays a massive role towards increasing the pace of change, with 84% of respondents in agreement.

Of those who voted technological advancements across both surveys as their top reason for driving change, the following were cited as reasons:

  • The business gains better efficiencies and is more competitive (47%)
  • Market forces dictate that technology is a crucial element of driving change (30%)
  • The speed at which it can drive change for good (23%)

Owen Coppage, the CIO of AGL Energy, a Canon customer that has implemented a major change project, said the human element beat financial savings.

“Change is disruptive, but if you manage the people aspect it can be seen as a positive. Hard dollar savings are great, but it’s productivity and efficiency improvements that really add the value to our business. One of our key requirements when undertaking projects at AGL is having a change manager as part of the implementation team,” he remarked.

For more information on the research study, or to download the study’s whitepaper, please see: Canon Australia > Change or be Left Behind

Craig Manson
Craig Manson is the director of Canon Business Imaging at Canon Australia.
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