Better Pharma Change Management on the Way to the Cloud… and in the Pre-check Line

I recently took a vacation that involved a major airline flight. I don’t travel for business, so it’s been a little while since I’ve flown.  When I printed my boarding passes, I noticed that I was registered for the TSA Pre-check, and although I heard about it on the news, I really didn’t know what that meant.  So, off to the airport I go, and in my home airport TSA pre-check meant I didn’t have to take off my shoes, but everything else was the same… empty your pockets, electronics in bins, etc.  No problem.

pharma change managementBut on the way home, the process was different.  In this airport, there was a separate line for TSA pre-check.  I presented my boarding pass and walked down a glass hallway to get screened.  And, there were no bins, so I’m wondering what do I do with my electronics.  The screening agent was standing there saying “put your things in your bag,” but it was too late, my electronics were out and I was standing there.  Even though the agent was telling me, I just couldn’t grasp it at that moment.

This experience with the TSA is a lot like how your end users can feel in a cloud technology implementation if you don’t prepare them.  It’s not enough to just let people know that a change is coming, you have to let them know what it means for them, and how they need to prepare.  It would have been helpful if the person checking my boarding pass gave me information about what I would have to do at the end of the hallway.

Understand the Impact

This starts with understanding how the changes affect your target audiences.  Different roles in your organization will have different levels of understanding and responsibility. Just like the different information needs an infrequent traveler like myself has compared to a frequent business traveler, your cloud team site owners will need different information than your average knowledge worker.


To help each of these audiences adapt successfully, you need to understand their current process, how the process changes, and which specific changes are the most disruptive.

Change happens at the individual level; in order for a group or organization to change, all the individuals within that group must change. The best project management, vision or solution will not result in successful change. The secret to successful change is rooted in something much simpler: how to facilitate change with one person.” Prosci (, 2016

Enlist the help of others early

Once you have an idea about how your implementation will impact your audience, enlist their help.  Your business customers have a vested interest in a smooth implementation.  Enlist their help to verify your impact assessment.  Give them up-front information about communications and resources and ask that they spread the news and help prepare their colleagues for the change.  This partnership is beneficial to both parties as it helps to prepare the business for the change and also helps the project team to prepare the right communications and resources.

Understanding the impact of a change is just one step in a successful change plan.  Because organizational change hinges on each individual’s ability to change, it is a crucial step in understanding what information you need to provide to make him or her successful in adopting the change.