Implementing Change at IBM Organization

Subject: Management
Pages: 5
Words: 1446
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: PhD

Introduction

Implementing change is an essential organizational procedure that plays a major role in ensuring organizational efficiency. Implementing change is not an easy task and requires well-laid procedures and a strategic planning approach. One of the significant driving factors that could compel business enterprises to implement change processes is the need to keep up with the dynamic nature of the market and generally foster an organizational culture that matches the present management trends. Presently, the working environment is experiencing dynamism associated with globalization, advancements in technology, and increasing organizational mergers; this forms part of the need to implement change in an organization (IBM, 2009). Business enterprises can no longer rely on the traditional predictable pattern of business operations. The new organizational trend is unpredictable and continuous change. The change process is usually a result of innovation at the organizational level, this, therefore, implies that an organization that is stagnant in terms of execution of the organizational processes is in dire need of implementation of change (William, 2003). This paper attempts to outline how a change process can be implemented at the organization by providing a current overview of the IBM organization, an analysis of the need to implement change at the organization, and finally the change process implementation methodology.

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Overview of the IBM

Presently, IBM is a leading business research organization around the globe. It prides itself in the procession of eight laboratories with a total of 3200 researchers distributed in six nations. Its progress is reviewed annually by its chairman (IBM, 2009). The IBM strategy and change practices integrate the business processes of an organization with technology in an attempt facilitate the realization of the business goals and objectives. Its key strategy dimensions include business, operational, organizational change, and technological strategies that are tailored to foster organizational innovation and growth. In the context of the IBM, change is required regularly due to the dynamic nature of the market and the ever changing technological advances that compels the organization to match its organizational processes with changing times and the increasing business requirements (Kotler, 1996).

The IBM significantly relies on three conditions that are currently aimed at making business enterprises effectively execute their business operations. The IBM is of the view that the global arena is developing in terms of instruments that are technologically advanced, which in turn enhances global communication. The IBM perceives the business environment as becoming intelligent, facilitated by sophisticated end user devices and complex communication systems. In attempt to implement change process, an organization must put into consideration the above factors since the efficiency in the execution of business processes considerably depends on them. The result of the integration of the above three concepts is a combination of the physical and digital infrastructures globally resulting what the IBM terms as smart systems that are based on information technology infrastructures. As the globe continues to become smaller, the business systems continue to become smarter.

Change management in current business environment is a challenging task that business enterprises are faced with. Implementation of the change strategy also comes with its challenges. The study by IBM during 2008, known as Making Change Work reported that most change implementation processes fail due to lack of well laid objectives which represented approximately 80 per cent of the business enterprises. The most successful change projects accounted for only 20 per cent and were strict change objectives, planned budget and other associated constraints (IBM, 2009).

The need to implement change within the IBM

Organizational change is a critical success factor for any organization. The past business environments of yesterday are in no way similar to the present business environments, and so will be the future. This implies that IBM and other organizations are faced with the challenge of ensuring that their change strategies are effective according to the current business requirements and the nature of the business environment. Organizational change can be driven by factors such as the need to have changes in terms of the organizational culture and operational changes (IBM, 2009).

According to the IBM, the major driving factor that compels an organization to change is the need to meet the increasing client demands and to streamline the business processes with the current technological platforms and recent trends in organizational culture. The factors that compel the IBM to adopt a change strategy is the need to intensify employee productivity, the need to reduce the expenses incurred by the business enterprise to increase its profitability and most importantly, the business enterprise needs to sustain itself amidst the challenges associated with the dynamic technological advances and the changing business environment (Petch, 2009).

The implementation of change process within the IBM

Change processes are diverse and can incorporate factors such as technological change, organizational culture changes and changes in the way an organization executes its business process. Before the implementation of a change process, it is imperative to carry out a critical analysis of the current business environment to evaluate whether the implementation of change is justified. In the business context of the IBM, change is justified due to the dynamic nature of the computing technologies and therefore, an organizational change is aimed at ensuring the business enterprise remains competitive in the market place. Effective change implementation depends on the effectiveness of the change management strategies that IBM will deploy. Before implementation of change, a business enterprise must ensure that there are effective change management strategies in place. Change management strategies serve to combat the challenges associated with the implementation of change in a business enterprise (William, 2003).

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The second critical process in implementation of change is the outlining of a clearly stated vision for the change process. A clearly articulated vision for change plays a significant role in keeping the change implementation process on track. What this implies is that the key driving factors behind the implementation of the change process are put into consideration (Fuchs, 2004). With a clearly outlined vision for change, challenges such as change resistance are easily dealt with. Having a vision for change process is one of the most effective approaches to ensuring change readiness in an organization through outlining of the benefits associated with the adoption of new approaches to leadership and execution of business processes (Petch, 2009). The vision for change helps the organization to outline its business goals and daily business processes that are significant in determining the success of the organization. A shared vision implies that the organization commitment towards the change is exhibited at all the organizational levels ranging from the top level management to the lower level in house staff. This plays an important role in ensuring that change implementation process is successful. A vision for change is likely to be more effective if it is initiated from the middle and entails the participation of all the members of the business organization at all the levels, including the external stakeholders (Kotler, 1996).

The actual implementation is the third stage during the implementation of change at the organization. Organizational change is implemented according to the organizational requirements that fostered the change process. Change can be structural, management oriented or even operational oriented depending on the key business functions of the organization. The change strategy adopted by the IBM should such that it provides a favorable business environment that can cultivate the concept of innovation. It is arguably evident that innovation is one of the key requirements of organizational behavior that a company must adopt. Innovation requires adoption of right structures that incorporate the identification and addressing of the organizational weakness, decision making concerning the direction to implement and finally evaluating the outcome of the innovation and the growth that will be stimulated by the innovation strategies (William, 2003).

Change implementation is not over until the business enterprise adopts effective strategies to manage the transformational period. Transformational period is usually characterized by significant losses in cases where the employees of the organization take more time to adjust to the change implemented at the organization. The effects associated with the transformational period are dependent on the flexibility of the organization. The more a flexible an organization is, the more effective it will be in tackling issues associated with transformational period (Ferrel et al, 2008).

Conclusion

Each of the steps in the implementation of change has some challenges associated to it. One of the most effective ways to tackle those challenges in change implementation is to integrate organizational leadership into the change strategies. It is also imperative that the change strategy adopted by the business enterprise should put into consideration the organizational culture, through the identification of the significant role that organizational culture plays in determining the success of the change implementation process.

References

Ferrel, O., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrel, L. (2008). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases (7th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Fuchs, S. (2004). Organizational change in the internet age. Web.

IBM. (2009). IBM Global Study: Majority of Organisational Change Projects Fail. Web.

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Kotler, J. (1996). Leading change. London: Harvard Business School Press.

Petch, A. ( 2009). Managing transitions: support for individuals at key points of change. New York: The Policy Press.

William, B. (2003). Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change. New York: Cambrige.