Making the Case for Change Management

How can Change Management positively impact your next major technology project?

Whether it’s an Infor V11 CloudSuite implementation or a digital transformation project using one of our content and process automation solutions, our customers are evaluating technology investments on a larger scale than ever before. Increasingly complex software implementations, integrations, and solutions are justifiably more expensive, and this makes it all the more important for that investment to demonstrate its expected results and returns.

This is in large part why our entire industry has started putting a heavier focus on organizational and integrated Change Management. But it’s not just our customers, even the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) has been updated to include fundamental change management activities. There’s an obvious reason for this, Change Management absolutely improves ROI.

When changes to workflows are made, people’s behaviors and activities also need to change. These changes are rarely an easy adjustment and it doesn’t happen all at once. Change happens on an individual level and at different times for different people. However, the full potential – and return on investment (ROI) – of any new solution only occurs when users become proficient in their new tasks and responsibilities, not just when the project team finishes their part.

Take an Infor V11 CloudSuite implementation or upgrade for example. In addition to moving the system to the cloud and changing access points, your teams also need to learn new screens, new modules, and maybe even the elimination of previous tasks, screens, or activities. This may also create new roles, new responsibilities, and maybe even a new supervisor. There are always good reasons and good intentions when these changes are designed, but they have fundamental impacts on real people in the business.

Below are some very common barriers companies are faced with when implementing larger projects:

Common Barriers Consequences Change Management Offers
Leadership doesn’t fully understand the impact the project will have on their workforce. From the beginning, staff are not prepared for the changes about to occur. Leaders become reactive to the resistance; trying to fix barriers. Proper change management takes a proactive approach to addressing resistance within the workforce. A change assessment is conducted during the discovery phase for leadership to have a full understanding of impacts to their people.
Managers aren’t supportive of the change. Staff will follow suit and negativity will perpetuate. Project tasks to help prepare for the transition won’t occur, including important communication about the project. Change management includes and engages key functional managers and leaders to encourage buy-in and active participation.
Managers assume staff will “figure it out”. Staff will become frustrated and continue performing tasks the old way. Staff may even make new processes that also don’t follow the intended change. Change Management creates multiple touch points to reinforce training and give users the chance to ask questions. Change Management also creates a repository of FAQs to empower users to find answers.
Employees resist change, they’re used to doing it their way. Employees speak negatively of leadership’s decision causing damaging ripples through the organization. They recruit others to oppose change. Change Management Communication Plans target specific audiences with specific messages to encourage specific behavior. Clear, consistent communication also creates transparency, removing uncertainty and engaging employees.
Sponsors are not fully supportive nor engaged in the project. Sponsors’ lack of engagement sends a message to leadership and employees that the project isn’t important. This will create negative momentum throughout the project. A sponsor plan is developed to include key messages that will be delivered by the sponsor to specific stakeholders and groups throughout the project; constantly being visible and engaged, to demonstrate project importance.

Project Managers and project teams go to great lengths to ensure the software is being implemented, data has been migrated, and overall system tested. The cases above demonstrate just a few common barrier points that could put all the hard project management work at risk. With effective Change Management in place, these risks are managed and many even avoidable, saving companies thousands (or millions) of dollars and realizing full benefits sooner.

Change Management focuses on helping people transition to the new systems and processes. The sooner people can actively participate and engage in a transition, become trained, and achieve proficiency in their roles, the sooner companies can realize their desired business outcomes and achieve ROI. That’s our case for Change Management and it’s why we are integrating Change Management services into each of our new projects.

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