It’s time to embrace change – in small, iterative steps

I often tell my team that change is hard. And most people, for whatever reason, tend to resist it.

It’s in our nature to desire stability and consistency. Sometimes, that’s achieved through less efficient means. However, that doesn’t mean people will never change. I’ve often found that many people are open to some change. And to this, I’ve discovered there’s a threshold where people will embrace change.

That threshold is 10 percent. If you make up to a 10 percent adjustment at a time, change is consumable.

Where did I get this stat? After working with many different teams between Hyland, our partners, and our customers, I’ve developed a mantra: People can only tolerate 10 percent change at a time.

Anecdotally, put yourself in this position. When you rent a car, it’s easy to make a jump from one Ford Focus to a newer model with some iterative changes. But it’s a lot harder to make a leap from a Ford Focus to a Tesla Roadster.

Totally different, right?

Our point applications are a great example. These applications are production-ready, pre-made configurations of OnBase that solve specific business needs like contract management or employee performance reviews.

When we adjust our UI or add new content to these applications, we do it in blocks of what we consider “10 percent adjustments.”

Instead of disassembling the entire interface and replacing it with new content, we make minor adjustments. We add a show/hide button to existing sections. We may quietly add a new tab. We leave much of the existing content in the same locations.

You might be thinking, “But wouldn’t it be more efficient to rearrange everything at once?”

Yes, it would be, but it would also cause a fair amount of user retraining. And during that time, people become less efficient.

Instead of causing chaos – which we all want to avoid – we try to iteratively guide people to a newer tomorrow. Slow and steady wins the race, as the old adage goes.

Small changes yield big benefits

One of the tough parts about adopting any product is jumping into a brand new interface. This is especially true with purpose-built applications. Many were created to handle generic situations. Even our point applications are built using this methodology: They’re built generically enough that 80 percent of installations can use it as a starting point.

However, one of the amazing things about our point applications is that we built them on the OnBase platform. Because it’s a platform, we intentionally configured it with change and adjustment in mind.

Typically, this is where other applications start to become unwieldy or even painful to manage. Or, if they’re purpose-made products, you’re simply stuck with the feature set you originally purchased. Once you deploy it, adjusting those solutions can require lengthy IT work and engagements that may require a fair amount of engineering.

Queue in OnBase. Say, for example, you want to roll out a contract management application. To do so, you don’t have to change the entire process at once. You can start with 10 percent adjustments.

It might look something like this:

  • Store and manage contract documentation
  • Gain visibility by adding tracking data about the contracts
  • Connect the application with other business systems for a unified view of information
  • Manage process flow by leveraging workflow to handle tasks and work assignments
  • Collaborate with external parties during the contract review process

All these features are available leveraging the power of point applications built on the OnBase platform. The best part is, you don’t have to implement all these changes at once. You can methodically add them throughout time as staff become comfortable with the technology.

Although change can be hard to overcome, when it happens bit-by-bit, it becomes much easier to manage.

Eric, sometimes referred to as P.Hugs, is Hyland’s senior manager for R&D concept solutions. His team focuses on researching, incubating, and developing ready-to-deploy business applications on the Hyland product suite. A 10-year veteran of the information management space, Eric’s motivation is to spread the love for business improvement through technology.
Eric Patalinghug

Eric Patalinghug

Eric, sometimes referred to as P.Hugs, is Hyland’s senior manager for R&D concept solutions. His team focuses on researching, incubating, and developing ready-to-deploy business applications on the Hyland product suite.... read more about: Eric Patalinghug