Increasing ROI through the management of change
By Ruth MacEachern, Sylvia Laale and Henry Hornstein, PhD
October, 2006

Ruth MacEachern and her coauthors are Senior Management Consultants at CGI, a Canadian firm specializing in systems implementation and applications development.

Ruth has Masters degrees in Library Science (Dalhousie University), and Public Management (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand). She has over 20 years experience in information management strategy, business needs analysis, and IM solutions planning and implementation.

Photo by Marilyn Rennick

This article discusses six principles used to reduce the cost and risk of introducing new information practices or technology. Collectively called “management of change” (or "change management") in the computer industry, these principles act as an antidote to budget overruns and low adoption rates created when IT managers limit end user involvement until new systems are actually selected and installed.  Users are then often required to change the way they do things to achieve the desired results. If the expected return is not forthcoming, users and/or IT get much of the blame. The authors suggest that early, proactive end-user involvement can minimize the problem.

The concept “management of change” takes on a different character when end users or business unit managers initiate development and drive the adoption process. There’s less need to invest in getting employee “buy-in,” educating users, and changing work practices. On the other hand, there’s a greater need at the enterprise level for cross-functional communication, creation of a common intellectual infrastructure, and enforcement of information policies. For more on these other perspectives, see “Get ready for end user development” and “Manage services, not content or technology.”
— The Editors


Information technology often promises benefits such as efficiency, data integrity and security of information assets. However, when new information management (IM) tools are introduced, the implementation often suffers due to staff adoption issues. Research shows that most IT projects are cancelled, significantly late, or seriously over budget, and that user involvement ranked the most important of ten critical success factors. To obtain user involvement, it is critical to recognize and address the changes that accompany new technology.

This article outlines why proactive management of change is necessary for IM projects to succeed, and describes six change management techniques we use with our clients.

The need for proactive management of change

Effective IM relies on a common understanding that information is a corporate asset. However, translating this understanding into cost-effective information systems can be difficult due to:

  • local business unit priorities;
  • information “silos”;
  • information hoarding;
  • the tendency of end users to create their own unique approaches to handling information.

To get a higher return on their information assets, organizations provide a common set of IM storage locations and tools for everyone. But this technology-driven approach is not always fully effective. For example:

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Created on October 28, 2006 l Updated on August 13, 2012