Technological innovation is a necessity for enterprises to remain competitive and grow.
Rapidly changing business landscapes mean businesses must be able to adapt to change quickly and efficiently. This is why organizations must master the art of change management, including changes in enterprise software.However, adapting to software changes is easier said than done—even if it's just a small change—due to the sheer complexity of enterprise IT systems. What can enterprises do to prepare and adapt to software changes more effectively?
Why Do Enterprises Need Software Changes?
Businesses often fall into the trap of asking, “Why should we change our systems when we’ve already invested so much?”
Upgrading or maintaining software seems unnecessary on the surface, but it’s one of the major reasons why companies fail (and succeed). A study by Accenture discovered that 84% of executives believe IT innovation is the biggest contributor to organizational success while 43% of industry leaders say innovation is a “complete necessity” in their organizations.
Proactive CIOs and CTOs should always look for improvements to increase business agility and efficiency while cutting down software failure. This is achieved through consistent software upgrades, maintenance, and support—three important drivers of high-performing enterprise IT systems.
What Are the Effects of Not Adapting to Technology Challenges Properly?
Businesses need to evolve. A fine piece of software today is not guaranteed to work as well four or five years down the line, explaining why regular upgrades and updates are indispensable for optimal business growth. Customers are becoming more tech-savvy, leading to an increase in demand for the latest features and functionalities. If enterprises cannot adapt to tech innovation, then it is very likely that customers will set their sights on competitors who can meet their demands. Consider a business tool your organization uses daily. If the developer stops releasing updates for the tool, would your team still use it to manage critical business operations? Obviously, the tool will be ditched for a superior alternative.
Competitive innovation is not the only reason why businesses should strive to adapt well to change, however. Outdated software could already be buggy and might fail at any moment for a myriad of reasons, such as bad code, or incompatibilities with updated operating systems or databases. Software failure is (and will always be) a huge concern, costing businesses a whopping $1.7 trillion per year in damages.
How can enterprises adapt to software changes better?
1. Conduct a Software Change Impact Analysis
A software change impact analysis is the most important step in software change management.
With impact analysis, organizations get a thorough overview of the effects of a proposed software change, which helps developers in greenlighting impactful changes in enterprise IT environments.
The phases of a complete software change assessment. (Image Source)
The two main goals of a change impact analysis are:
- Identifying the impact of a change on other applications and assets in enterprise IT environments
- Assessing the resources required to implement the change
Is impact analysis 100% necessary? No, but not doing one makes software changes riskier, as there is no guarantee the change will go smoothly. This can affect IT teams negatively, with software errors appearing out of the blue, hindering productivity and work efficiency.
For best results, organizations should perform impact analysis for every proposed change regardless of the scale of the project. This ensures no faulty changes make it through to production environments, which can result in costly outcomes for enterprises.
2. Gather Feedback and Insights from Key Stakeholders
Change is collaborative. Regardless of whether the change is major or minor, businesses have to ensure that all key stakeholders are involved in the process. This includes customers, employees, and other relevant stakeholders (e.g. board members or contractors). Ideally, the product manager (or team) should understand what customers are saying to help them identify what needs to be changed. Customer challenges, industry trends, and upcoming technology are all factors that must be considered when adding new functionality or products.
Without any one of these, organizations might implement unwanted and unnecessary changes in IT environments—a common practice as proven by the abundance of software update failures over the past few years.Employee feedback also plays an important role in tech changes. Resistance to change is a serious problem faced by many organizations when implementing new systems or products, especially in IT. When you involve employees in the process, you create an environment that welcomes and embraces change instead of creating resistance to it.
At the very least, employees should know:
- Why the change is necessary
- How the change will benefit them
- How they can provide feedback to make the change more impactful
As a bonus, employees who are involved in the loop become more eager to see positive changes implemented immediately, leading to faster software transitions, which ultimately saves a significant amount of time and money.
3. Run a Cost-Benefit Analysis
The number one reason why software projects fail is due to poor resource management. A study by The Standish Group discovered 31% of all software projects fail, with 52.7% of completed projects costing twice the original budgets. This is why cost-benefit analysis is a critical component of successful software changes. Assessing the costs and expected benefits of a software change is necessary to identify whether it is viable for the organization.
For starters, any proposed change should be evaluated against other projects that are awaiting approval and funding. Changes that allow businesses to stay competitive and stimulate revenue growth must be prioritized over less impactful changes. Bear in mind that costs and benefits do not always present themselves in hard dollars. Many times, organizations see improvements in work productivity or employee engagement when making software changes, both of which cannot be quantified easily.
How Panoptics Helps Enterprises Adapt to Rapid Software Changes
Impact analyses can be done manually, but when the average IT environment consists of thousands of assets, the process takes too much time and effort, not to mention the possibility of human error from performing repetitive work.Ideally, businesses should invest in an automated code dependency mapping tool like Panoptics that includes features for impact analysis.
With Panoptics, enterprises have an intuitive, complete view of their application architecture as well as the ability to observe every dependency between applications and database assets in detail. This allows enterprises to see how a proposed change will affect other applications and resources in the ecosystem to stop risky software changes from being implemented—before a single line of code is written.
Panoptics also assesses the complexity of tasks by identifying how dependencies will be impacted by a change. This allows enterprises to come up with extremely accurate estimates of the time and cost it takes to make a software change.
The platform is fully automated so developers don’t have to waste time manually collecting data to run effective impact analysis and risk assessments. With Panoptics, your development team gets the freedom it needs to work more efficiently, leading to higher quality software, faster project cycles, and happier customers.
Ready to make innovative software changes easier in your enterprise IT environments?
Try Panoptics for free today to see how we can help your business adapt to rapid software changes.
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