I was clearing out the attic at the weekend - a job I've been meaning to do for weeks now (but as last time I went up there I got stung half a dozen times by some aggressive wasps whose nest I had disturbed... Oh, and we've got a colony of bats up there too... Note to self: is this the correct collective noun for bats?) - and I found in an old box a load of back issues of Arabian Computer News (ACN) that I used to subscribe to when I lived out in the Emirates.
I was also a columnist for the magazine, and would write articles once a month on a wide range of topics - BPO, Change Management, IT Programme Management and so on. I made a cup of tea and sat down to flick through them. One thing struck me - how close most of the messages I was spouting then are to today's business environment. (Two things struck me, actually - the second was how much hair I had in the mid 90s.)
Companies still make exactly the same mistakes when implementing large change programmes - whether it's an IT development project, a post-merger or post-acquisition integration programme, a redesign of a business process, or whatever. Businesses undertaking change programmes still don't seem to give enough attention to managing the impact of those changes: getting the 'people issues' right, managing the stakeholders effectively, ensuring senior executive sponsorship, setting appropriate budgets or timescales.
Many of the things we are trying to do are the same - the next new software implementation, the next newly acquired business to bolt together. Some are new - offshore outsourcing of the finance and accounting function for example - but the fundamentals are still the same.
This is why my colleagues place so much emphasis on getting the transition programme right in an outsource, ensuring heavyweight programme management is employed, the most appropriate governance structures are in place to ensure all stakeholders are clearly informed and making the right decisions, amongst many other things. None of this is easy, which is why all businesses continue to struggle with it.
The magazines are now back in the attic - I'll see if things have changed the next time I dust them off.