Marc Aerts                            CNC

Marc Aerts, IT manager at CNC

IT manager’s attitude: changes are for people, not for the IT department

Recently, we visited CNC, a company which produces substrates for all sorts of edible mushrooms. This time the interview was focused on the IT department with the IT manager Marc Aerts. He shared his insights and experience working with change management and user adoption. Marc is IT manager at CNC since 2005. Currently, CNC is going through several changes and is introducing new tools.

Q: We are curious about the people’s reaction when you introduced these new tools. Were they reluctant or excited?
A: We have all different kind of users, we have those few that accepted all changes very easily, we have a lot who says no, I don’t want to, I like my own old way of working, please don’t do anything. Yes, it is difficult sometimes, but because we have done many implementations and changes during these years, we have found the right way to make people change. We provide training and give lectures constantly. We tell them what are the benefits of this new tool or program. We explain why they have to work in another way. It is important to understand that people are different, they adapt differently and they need different motivators to start something new. During our training for new tools, we have some groups, with different types of people. It is very important that in one group there are some early adopters, and also those who do not adopt that easily, so they can work together and learn from each other.

Q: Knowing that someone else was happy with this change, do you think this can reduce the reluctance of people?
A: Yes, I am sure.

Q: Why did you decide to change? We know it is a difficult decision to take, it requires a lot of time and effort.
A: It is not about IT managers. I do not need to change alone. It is for the people. That is what they have to know, that it is for them, not for an IT department. So that is why all the decisions about selecting the software are done in collaboration with employees from other departments. We always do it with a group of key users. It is not an IT decision, choice, implementation, no. We do it together. We take them from the start and we do like this with every implementation. When they see the benefits and are involved in the process, they are more motivated to change.

Q: What motivates you every day to work on changes and to inspire people to go through these changes together?
A: I see this proses not about technologies, but about helping people. First, not everybody is happy with the new tools and new ways of working, but in the end, people see all the benefits. And my personal motivation comes with the attitude that changes and novelties are the possibilities to make people work easier.

Mister Marc is happy that in every process of changes more and more employees and key users are involved from the beginning of the process. Nowadays, technologies give us many choices, however, if one tool suits one organization perfectly, it might be refused by people in another company. He believes that every organization has to find its own unique way how to deal with changes. Mister Marc is convinced that when the whole company understands that changes bring the benefit, people get the motivation to change.