Skip to main content

Article 4 min read

Mastering change management

By Rachel Palad, Sr product marketing manager

Last updated July 16, 2019

As a company grows in size and complexity, so does the nature of its customers’ issues. As a result, modern enterprises need to constantly evaluate and update the tools, processes and systems they use to solve customer problems.

Whether a company wish to augment their customer service solutions to support rapidly growing platforms like Slack for collaboration, or add Skills-Based Routing to their workflows, it’s critical that teams can move fast to add features with no fear of breaking existing systems. To do this right, companies look to change management best practices.

Change management is a structured approach to organising people, processes and technology in order to smoothly implement change within a company. When executed properly, a methodical approach to change management helps assure an efficient, seamless transition from old to new, for even the largest organisations.

Change management is a uniquely important discipline for large enterprises. For companies operating at scale, something as simple as a new configuration for support software can have unintended consequences across multiple teams, functions and locations. It’s important for organisations to be able to quickly innovate and adopt new features and solutions, while not creating chaos in the process.

The good news is that with some advance planning and the right tools in place, companies don’t need to be afraid of change. When done properly, change is a positive experience for companies and customers alike. Here are a few tips to help any organisation conquer change:

Ask the hard questions in advance

The first step for executing change of any scale within an organisation is a clear-eyed assessment of where the company is today, where it needs to be in the future, and an agreed set of goals and objectives against which to measure its progress.

Before embarking on any changes, the company should audit its current solution and customer experience. It’s important to understand how and why the current solution was implemented, what technical trade-offs were made, what worked well, and the challenges that are prompting the change.

This is also the right time to assess the vendors a company is using, and begin working on a plan for how to roll out changes to the organisation once implemented.

Involve the right people

When it’s time to actually embark on a change management journey, it’s important for companies to understand the impact that the process will have on the people in their organisation. This includes involving the right groups early on, getting buy-in on changes with key stakeholders, defining a clear plan for communicating change to the organisation, and having a roadmap to ease the organisation into new workflows.

Learn more about how to kick off a change management process.

Consider a sandbox

Most mid-to-large enterprises have unique set-ups and configurations for their internal systems. With so many variables and internal dependencies, it can be easy to wreak havoc on even the most well-oiled of machines when testing and implementing new solutions.

One of the most powerful tools for companies looking for a safe, efficient way to make changes to their workflows is a sandbox environment.

A sandbox is a testing environment, separate from the live environment, where companies can replicate part or all of their systems, including automations, metadata and customer information. Sandboxes allow companies to experiment with changes to their system in a controlled environment before exposing changes to customers or the broader organisation.

Working in a sandbox removes much of the risk of implementing changes to existing systems. Sandboxes are an ideal way to experiment and innovate, while minimising disruptions and operational risk to the current production environment.

Sandboxes also allow companies to battle-test their changes before rolling them out. Since sandboxes replicate a company’s actual live environment, they allow developers to understand everything that will happen when the changes go live.


A disciplined approach to change management can help companies of all sizes tackle even the most complex transitions with confidence. By taking time to align their people, processes and technology to their business objectives, organisations can enhance the adoption of new workflows and solutions, leading to happy internal stakeholders and customers alike.

Learn more about how Zendesk can help you conquer change.

Related stories

Guides and ebooks

What makes a business successful?

Running a successful business is hard work. Juggling orders, support, and accounts takes dedication and perseverance—undoubtedly…

8 min read

Why you need a customer success manager

Does your company have a customer success manager? If not, you’re missing out. Here's how this role can help your organisation.

5 min read

Leading a startup during a pandemic: five lessons from five founders

Starting up during a pandemic? Not easy, but these founders are making it work. Find out what they said about CX, growth and empathy.