Organizational change management is one of the most misunderstood – and undervalued – aspects of complex ERP implementations and digital transformations. It seems that executives and project teams are constantly trying to figure out how to define the best change management process for their organizations.

Each organizational change management engagement that we help our clients with looks a bit different. Each one needs to be tailored for their specific culture, internal resources, and other unique variables. Prosci certification and other toolsets are good starting points to be personalized to your cultural and political dynamics.

With this in mind, there are a number of common ways to define the best change management process for your digital transformation. Here are five steps to get started:

1. Conduct an organizational readiness assessment

The first step is to conduct an organizational readiness assessment to determine where the change management pitfalls are likely to be. We typically conduct this via a series of anonymous online surveys and focus groups with key employees and stakeholders. The key is not simply to ask if employees are ready for change – because most will say they are – but instead to look for underlying sources of resistance.

2. Analyze root causes of change resistance

Quantitative and qualitative results from survey and focus groups should then be analyzed for root causes of resistance. For example, you will want to look for perceived lack of communication, poor cross-business coordination, fears surrounding other changes within the organization, and other root causes that will eventually manifest into resistance to your digital transformation project. Keep in mind that most resistance is unintentional and below the surface, so it takes experience to identify them.

3. Define change impacts to your organization

Your digital transformation is likely going to impact people’s jobs in ways that you may not foresee at the moment. This includes new roles and responsibilities, new processes, and other changes that transcend simple changes to their day-to-day ERP system. These change impacts should be identified during the blueprint or design state of your project. It is important to recognize how different workgroups will be affected by new processes and technologies.

4. Design your future state roles and responsibilities

Once you have defined change impacts, you will want to define how future-state roles and responsibilities will look. This organizational design work should include any consolidation of roles and migration to shared service models. Unfortunately, this is one of the most overlooked components of organizational change management strategies. It is also one of change management activities that has the potential to deliver the most value to your organization.

5. Define a tailored change and communication plan

Once the above items have been completed, it is important to define a change management process and communications plan tailored for the unique nuances of your organization. Some of the answers that should be addressed in your include:

  • How will I address root causes of resistance?
  • Which change management best practices are most relevant to our situation?
  • How much time and resources do we need to invest in change management activities?
  • How will we manage organizational change on a global digital transformation?
  • How does our change management plan impact our overall implementation duration?
  • How will we optimize our benefits realization via our change management strategy?

These and other questions should be answered as part of your change management process.

Conclusion

Change management is a critical success factor for any digital transformation. It is also largely misunderstood and undervalued. The above provides a simple framework to get started on the best change management process that is best suited for your organization. These are areas that are typically overlooked by Deloitte, Accenture, Capgemini, and other large system integrators.

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