Why are only 32% of all IT implementations fully successful?

While describing change management in business, I like to recall the metaphor of travel. The change in simple words is the transition from point A to point B. “A” means the current state, B – our organization after the change, and the transition itself stands for all activities that must occur on the way. So why, despite such a simple process, in the case of almost 70%* of IT implementations, companies do not reach the destination? Why, at best, do they only get to somewhere around “B”?

There are many factors in a change, and each of them can either contribute to its success or failure. Still, the human factor is the most frequently cited element that determines the success and failure of the change process.

Based on our experience, we have identified four basic factors, related to the human element, that are necessary to implement change. Unfortunately, for various reasons, they are often overlooked or incorrectly addressed when implementing new IT systems. These factors are:

  • a need and energy to change;
  • a shared vision;
  • resources and
  • a realistic plan.


Need and energy

The system users’ understanding of why we implement the tool is the basis of the project. Every future user should understand why a change is needed. What’s more, the more the change addresses the recipient’s personal challenges, the greater the motivation to carry it out. The next element is energy to change. We can build it, for example, by communicating the benefits that change is expected to bring at the level of the organization and each user. The lack of one of these elements causes the wrong priority for the project. The lower the motivation to change, the more willingly the system users will engage in other activities – often other projects or simply existing, well-known activities.


Shared vision

Everyone who faces a change in their current work tool wants and should know exactly how their work with the new system will look. The general slogan: “we change for the better” is not enough. The users of the new system should:

  • know how to work with the system;
  • know what new activities they will perform every day in it and
  • what our expectations for them in relation to work on the system are.



The implementation project itself is often run at the same time as regular business operations. This means that those involved in implementation carry it out parallel to their regular work, which often takes up 100% of their time. 

Not securing human and time resources causes frustration on the part of the employees involved. It raises the feeling that we will not be able to cope with additional obligations and at the same time – maintain a high level of work.


Realistic plan

Each journey requires a map and a plan. If we set out on our own, both of these elements can only exist in our heads. However, if we take other people with us, without communicating the travel plan, we will be dealing with a group of lost companions, or worse – marauders. Similarly, in implementation projects – the lack of a realistic plan and appropriate communication results in chaos and resistance on the part of the employees involved.

The process of implementing changes, despite a simple definition, is complex and highly dependent on the human factor. 

The way we address the challenges related to:

  • building the need and energy to change;
  • presenting its vision;
  • securing resources and
  • building and communicating a realistic plan,

will affect how close we will get to our destination and whether we will get there strengthened or battered.


Do you want to learn more about change management and IT implementations? Do you feel that your organization could use change management workshops? Contact us!

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Article by Justyna Sobczak


*source: Raport: V Ogólnopolskie Badanie Zarządzania Zmianą, J. Rubin, W. Grabowski, M.
Naumiuk (red.), Szkoła Zarządzania Zmianą, Wrocław 2020, www.zmiana.edu.pl