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Navigating Change: Mastering Process and Technology Transformations with Effective Change Management

Imran Tahir, Head of Digital Transformation, Royal Cyber Inc

Imran is a well-rounded professional with 15 years of experience in Data & Analytics, Customer Experience, Sales Operations, and Building & Testing Solutions across several industry domains including Banking, Insurance, Financial Services, Real Estate, Retail, Commerce and Healthcare. Although Imran has an accounting and financial educational background, his true passion has always been in Technology where he has continued to upskill himself enabling him to holistically understand organizations' technology landscape

In a conversation with Keerthana H K, Correspondent, CIO Insider Magazine, Imran Tahir, Head of Digital Transformation at Royal Cyber Inc., shared his views and thoughts on how professionals balance the need for innovation with the potential disruptions that come with introducing new technologies, as well as what role effective communication plays in managing change, especially when introducing new technologies.

How should we approach risk management while implementing new technologies, and what steps should be taken to mitigate potential risks?
Conducting a thorough risk assessment of the new technology before its implementation is the first step in mitigating the risk. This involves understanding technical documentation, cost involved, early discussions with key stakeholders and evaluating the impact of the new technology across the entire organization. Usually, organizations have a risk governance framework that defines the roles and responsibilities of the new technology. It is worth mentioning that the governance framework should be aligned with the organization’s objectives and values. For example, if an organization’s immediate goal is to migrate its mainframes to a new source-code management, a robust risk assessment framework should help evaluate the key accountable parties and potential risks involved, and an early assessment should clearly outline the objectives and requirements.

In your opinion, what role does effective communication play in managing change, especially when introducing new processes or technologies?
Effective communication is paramount in managing changes related to new systems, processes, and technologies. Change is the only constant, especially in this digitally native ecosystem. In my experience of working with IT leadership, there have been a few strategies that were common across the board.

• Clearly explain the benefits of the new change to employees and key stakeholders. This helps the leadership committee to increase employees buy-in, and overall commitment to the upcoming change. Depending on the new process or

technology being changed, communication with customers should also be considered.

• If applicable, the owners or change enablers of the new process or technology should provide clear guidance on how to implement a change. For example, if it’s a new document processing bot being introduced, the enablers should provide instructions on how to utilize it effectively and who to reach out to, if the bot doesn’t work as intended.

• Set up regular check-ins with employees to solicit their feedback. Prepare for resistance and answer their questions adequately.

• Listen to feedback. Have a framework in place where employees and/or customers can provide quality feedback and discuss that feedback in board meetings or whichever medium an organization chooses. The feedback loop is incredibly important in effectively navigating the change and fine-tuning it.

How should professionals execute innovations while dealing with potential disruptions that come with introducing new technologies?
Let’s think of the time when hard copies were digitalized and eventually transformed into audiobooks, or when Blockbuster, the DVD rental store, was shut down because it failed to transform its business. This opportunity ultimately gave birth to Netflix, a ~$200 billion market cap company. There is no doubt that there always will be disruptions when digitally transforming an organization, including allocating an IT budget, change management, processes, vendor management, and the list goes on. Organizations must continue to transform to elevate their customer experience, reduce IT spending and introduce new AI solutions. Major risk is involved in not having a successful digital strategy, and employees of all levels in an organization must be encouraged to innovate regularly with mitigating disruptions at all levels. A few organizations have innovation hackathons, while some rely on traditional forms to submit their ideas. Either way, professionals should be recognized for their contributions towards innovations while ensuring disruptions are managed effectively. Finally, Leadership plays a huge role in reducing potential disruptions as they realize innovations positively impact an organization's top line.

An alignment of organizational goals and objectives is necessary across all IT leaders which helps with building a strong governance mechanism.

In the context of change management, how can we ensure that IT initiatives align with overall business goals and objectives?
Each organization has (or should have) a digital transformation strategy also called digital acceleration roadmap. New IT initiatives are ultimately scoped to improve an IT department’s capabilities, and overall performance of an organization. An alignment of organizational goals and objectives is necessary across all IT leaders to help build a strong governance mechanism. This includes communicating a clear vision and strategy for a year (or years to come), the purpose of each initiative/project, aligning business and functional leaders who will affected by the IT initiative, and a framework for evaluating the impact both from an ROI perspective and business indicators. In my view, organizations that consistently communicate their objectives mapped with IT projects are likely to have a better alignment in the long-term.

What is your anticipation about the 2024 IT services outlook and IT spending among organizations?
The outlook for the 2024 IT services marketplace is quite positive! As per a recent Gartner’s report, the worldwide IT spending is projected to total $5.1 trillion in 2024 – which is an increase of eight percent from 2023. Among this $5.1 trillion estimated value, a large portion of it will be allocated to IT services, communication services, and purchasing of new software. Cybersecurity investments remains as the top technology category as CIOs and CISOs continue to prioritize protecting their organization’s data from cyber-threats. AI and GenAI materialized more formally in 2023 but organizations are still experimenting with multiple use-cases and developing a deep understanding of benefits and risks associated with AI. There is no doubt, AI is here to stay and will become a large portion of IT spending in the coming years.

The primary drivers for 2024 spending growth are cybersecurity, AI, and cloud computing.

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