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5 Steps to Effective Change Management

Posted by Joshua Smith, Solutions Consultant on Nov 21, 2017 8:38:00 AM
Joshua Smith, Solutions Consultant
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The other day I was scrolling through my news feed and an article by ZD Net caught my eye - Under Armour cites change management woes with SAP implementation as digital transformation stumbles. It covered the financial shortfall and some of the reasons Under Armour is in the position they are in today. One of the larger issues that lead to Under Armour’s current business challenges was the lack of change management planning and execution as they moved to a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

This is the perfect example of why change management is so important for any ERP implementation. Too often companies get tunnel vision about the “what” of the solution – the features, the potential benefits. They forget about the “how” – who will own what processes, how will the team be trained, what happens if they do not understand, etc If you’re thinking about or in the process of moving to a new ERP system, it’s imperative to create a solid change management plan so that you can get the best return on your investment.

Now, first things first:

What is change management? 
Transitioning an individual, team, and organization into a future state of ownership and value with sustained user adoption.

Why do I need it?
Skipping this step can lead to a failed implementation or worse, a loss in sales. Conversely, working change management into your overall plan will get you up and running quickly and effectively. It will speed up user adoption, enable overachievement of the goals, effective training, and documentation, and creating a continuous process improvement culture.

What am I up against?
During my time as a solutions consultant, I’ve heard variations of the same thing over and over again, “…that the biggest hurdle in any company is PEOPLE… If I didn’t have to deal with people in my business the business would be doing great!

Typically, the hardest part of most ERP implementations is not the customization or the implementation of the software itself, it’s getting the buy-in and understanding from the people in your organization. It often requires reevaluating each employee’s roles and responsibilities, as well as adding new staff members. Understandably, that can cause some resistance from your staff and confusion within your team if you do not have a clear and transparent plan of action to ease their minds. As a general rule, effective change management will largely depend on the execution of a well-conceived change management plan.

What does a change management plan entail?
The ERP change management plan should provide a detailed, actionable roadmap to the desired future state. At Concentrus, we approach change management similar to the way we approach business process mapping. Your change management plan should be based on an analysis of the gaps between the current state and future state environments. Given time, cost and geographic constraints, the path to change should also be the shortest, most surgically-precise path. 

Leading the charge to implement a new ERP system that affects every facet of your company can be daunting. However, overlooking change management will cost you valuable time and money. Identify potential pockets of change resistance, create an effective change management plan, and follow these 5 steps to avoid common pitfalls and experience smoother process improvements:

Step 1: Develop Your Change Vision

  • Define the change and communicate the reason for the change
  • Determine a vision and the change outcomes 
  • Communicate the vision with your staff early on and provide updates often
  • Identify change supporters and detractors and their ability to change
  • Work backwards from you go live date and define what steps you need to take

Step 2: Create an actual Change Plan

  • Treat the change just like any other project
    • Create a schedule
    • Identify risk
    • Have contingency plans
  • Build support systems where everyone can freely communicate and ask questions
    • Use agreed upon communication tools such as Slack
    • Ensure that all team members are using the same communications tool  
    • Have discussions in an open forum

  • Plan for resistance and the source it comes from. 3 types of resistances include:
    • power struggle
    • negative past experiences
    • self-interests 

Step 3: Be an example of the change

  • Demonstrate the change that you want in your organization
  • Create personalized scenarios that take advantage of a demo or sandbox environment 
  • Take ownership of your personal learning of the new system 

Step 4: Implementation and Support

  • Document your workflows and processes and encourage/require others to do the same 
  • Use screen recordings as well process maps to define your past and new workflows 
  • Create a training program that is rooted in your implementation and business

Step 5: Reinforce and Adjust

  • Identify the performance of your new processes and workflows
  • Manage what gets measured
  • Refocus on your staff and see how they are adjusting
  • Take note of those who are nervous or enthusiastic and approach the ones with apprehensions separately

Is your organization ready for its next big change? Try out these 5 steps and let me know what you think! If you’d like some help, feel free to reach out to learn more about our approach and how we can help you create a culture of change.

Contact Us Today! 

Tags: People Management