As a marketing professional one of the most important jobs my team and I perform is building support and loyalty around our company’s brand. Building a brand the right way helps to create a strong community that believes strongly in our products, ultimately creating evangelists. Effective branding contributes to getting people fired up and ready to buy.
It makes sense, then, to take a similar approach when you have projects that require support and buy-in. Building a brand to represent your project gives your project an identity and fosters excitement—if it’s done right, that is.
IT projects, like a new identity and access management (IAM) solution roll-out, for example, are no different. To you as an IT professional, the rational for an IAM solution is likely obvious and should be enough to get stakeholders at all levels behind it, right? Ideally, you should be able to simply point out to your user community that:
- Data protection is important to your customers, partners and business.
- The success of your business’s security program relies on excellence in execution.
- Employees still play a large role in making your security strategy work.
- Human error is to blame for most security breaches.
However, we all know that most people buy for emotional, not logical reasons. I’m sure you’re all-too-familiar with your fellow employees tuning out messages from IT and automatically grumbling about change. Ready to try something different—something that will make your message more consumable across all levels of your organization? Then it’s time to give project branding a try.
People-Oriented IT Projects Tend to Fail
While enterprises spend millions of dollars designing and implementing security solutions, more than half of IT projects fail. An IBM study that addressed failure rates of “change” projects found that the most substantial barriers to success occur when a project affects how the people in your organization do their work. Specific change challenges related to this include:
- Changing mindsets and attitudes
- Corporate culture
- Lack of senior-management support
All of these obstacles can be addressed by taking the time to effectively communicate the benefits of your IAM project, training your end users on the new solution, and gaining executive sponsorship. Branding your IAM project can help with all of this, and here’s how:
What Branding Brings to the Table
A solid corporate brand facilitates consumers’ trust in the company, which helps an organization sell its products and services. The same philosophy can be used in thinking about your IAM project. Branding your project tells your stakeholders, whether they are senior management or the end user, that the product you are implementing is important, who needs it, the importance of this project to your organization, and why, as stakeholders, they should care - or “what’s in it for me.”
Not only does applying a brand to your project help explain the need for an IAM solution, but it helps build confidence surrounding the project as well. A well branded and promoted program will ensure that all users will understand how the IAM solution is going to help secure your organization’s data, reduce IT support costs, and make it easier for people to get their work done, because they will have access to the right information when they need it.
Building a brand also helps communicate a project’s benefits when the people you work with don’t quite understand why things need to change. It allows you to set the narrative and control the story. It also helps you draw attention to the fact that good security is important to your organization and needs the involvement and buy-in of everyone in the organization.
Implementing a new IAM solution is considered a change project, so great communication throughout the lifecycle of the project can really help drive a successful implementation. Keeping the message positive and constant throughout is essential; these projects can last from six months to even a year, and you are going to want to keep people excited and positive the entire time, not just at the project’s kickoff.
Understand that no matter what type of solution you go with, there will be a cultural change involved. Your people will need to change the way they view corporate data and the way they share this data.
It’s possible that this project could make people nervous because it will drive new levels in personal accountability, especially as people see how their actions could result in a data breach. These fears and concerns are the driving forces behind negative chatter about your project, which is exactly why you can benefit from branding your IAM implementation.
In the second part of this series we will take you through the steps necessary to brand your IAM project, allowing you to present the right message to your stakeholders and instill their confidence in your project. In doing so, you can turn them from hesitant participants to champions of your initiatives.