What is a system?
Before going into how a system change might take place, it would be prudent to first define what a system is. According to Merriam-Webster, a system is:
A regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole.
This is a pretty broad set of criteria, and the term "system" can be applied within a business context to organizations, processes, software, and any interaction among these. As such, any kind of change effected to or within a system must account for the multiple moving parts that depend upon one another in order for the system to perform its objectives.
For example, a piece of data management software is a system that involves the software itself, the users who use and benefit from the software, and the processes that define the interaction between the users and the software, which in turn provide value to the organization the system is within. Changing any one part affects the others. If the software is updated but the users are not informed, then they will be unable to do their jobs. If the users begin to use the software in a different way than intended, this process change might result in unintended consequences that undermine the value intended to be delivered by the system.
All of these matters of cause and effect are key in thinking about how a system can be changed, and while there are various methodologies, a basic summary can be as follows.
Build your case
In order for a change to take place, you must be able to justify it. What about the status quo is not working? Determine where your current system is failing to meet its goals.
Meet with stakeholders
Gather the primary stakeholders in your system and present your case to them. You will need to the support of users, customers, IT resources, and management to give weight to your claim that a change is required.
Make a plan
Will your change address organization and process? Will it require a software change? How will you accomplish these changes? What is your methodology or framework for doing the actual work? Who will be involved?
Depending on the size of the change and the system itself (organizational, process, information, etc.), you will need to have a different approach to determine who does what when.
Throughout, you will need to communicate with users and stakeholders. Tell them upfront what the plan is and why. Provide updates as you progress. When the time comes to deploy your changes, provide documentation and training to capture what is being changed and prepare your users for the new system.
In my own opinion, communication is the key to any of this. A system involves people, and people tend to be resistant to change. Gather support, get people onboard, and ground your changes in your company's culture. Be transparent and open, and meet with your stakeholders and users regularly to gather feedback and maintain their support.
The resources listed below provide a good starting point. Ultimately, no singular system or methodology will be precisely perfect for your organization, and you will need to learn and absorb the principles of change management in order to effectively adapt them to your needs.
There are a variety of reasons that would necessitate system changes within a company. The reasons may vary depending on the systems than require changes. Such systems include business process systems, information and technology systems and organizational systems. Generally and with regards to these different systems the reasons to institute change may be as follows:
Improve integration with other company systems to advance networking and communication.
Improve the quality and speed of management information.
Provide sufficient support to an increasing number of users in case the company is expanding.
Improve automation while reducing duplication and redundancy in processes.
The steps to follow when instituting these changes are as follows:
The first step would be to mobilize the key people and leaders whose employees or processes will be affected by the system changes.
The second step would be to plan for the changes by defining responsibilities and objectives for the changes.
The third step would be to support the change by empowering the employees to adapt to the change.
The final step would be to enhance both upward and downward communication to ensure successful implementation of the change.