Resistance to Change

Sales and marketing professionals at technology companies often complain that IT customers are resistant to change. The evidence supporting this assertion ranges from customers turning down meeting requests to older products continuing in use despite the availability of newer versions.

The shocking truth is that, collectively, these stick-in-the-mud IT organizations are making many important changes. They are embracing Service Oriented Architecture, 64-bit computing, open source technology, outsourcing and mobile computing. They are exceeding demanding service levels for back office application availability and improving end user productivity. They are holding the line on costs, while helping their organizations achieve top-line and bottom-line growth.

Labeling customers as “resistant to change” is convenient, but the facts tell a different and more complex story. Many changes are taking place in these organizations every day. Many ideas and distractions arise to compete with the plan of record, but only a precious few earn much attention. Is the problem resistance to change or are vendor claims not inspiring decision-makers to change their plans?

Overcoming Resistance to Change: Look Inward

Human attitudes towards change result from a complex interplay of emotions and cognitive processes. We all make choices in our lives that result in changes to the status quo. We all cope and adapt to changes that happen in our environment and that impel a reaction.

Former University of California Chancellor Clark Kerr wisely stated “the status quo is the only solution that cannot be vetoed.” I believe that the status quo is what the disgruntled technology vendors are bemoaning. And, broadly speaking, the status quo plan of record appears to serve IT decision-makers quite well.

There is hope for disgruntled vendors, but it won’t come easy. While IT decision-makers are heavily dependent on IT vendors, they are also pragmatic and skeptical. They will resist products which are not aligned with their priorities. Time and time again, compelling, urgent and value-creating products are purchased, deployed, used and upgraded.

Look at your product portfolio. Resistance to change?