The role of organizational change management

The Role of Organizational Change Management in Your (Successful) ERP Implementation

Paying attention to Organizational Change Management (OCM) in an ERP implementation is the most important success factor for your project. Is it on your radar?
Let’s start with what OCM is. Organizational Change Management is the structured approach to transitioning end users from their current state to a desired future state. OCM activities are designed to empower users to embrace organizational and process changes required by new ERP software. By identifying and mitigating the human impacts of a change, the OCM team supports the project management team that is primarily focused on the technical side of implementation.

In a nutshell, OCM is the key to success.

OCM is necessary because change is hard, and it is human nature to reject it. In fact, one Harvard Business Review article made an argument that change is tantamount to facing one’s own death. And while that might seem a little extreme, asking your employees to just suck it up and deal with it is a great way to make the investment fail.
Since a successful ERP project is measured by user adoption of the new processes and systems, you need to get your people bought in and on board. And the earlier the better.

Project managers/teams, project sponsors and steering committees that commit to an OCM strategy and activities will greatly enhance their opportunity for success by investing in their people. – Panorama Consulting Solutions

OCM – 5 key elements (nail these and you have set up your ERP project for success)

1) Identify everyone who will be affected by the change (this is a bigger group than you will initially think)

2) Communicate to this group what change will be coming

3) Establish the compelling business reasons that make ERP necessary

4) Explain how they must behave in order for the project to succeed

5) Give frequent project updates, always reiterating steps two through four. If it ever feels to you like you are over-communicating, or that your audience could give your presentation because they’ve heard it so many times, you are exactly where you want to be.

(Source – ERP Focus)

OCM activities

You can see from the list below that OCM activities aren’t groundbreaking or difficult. Dedicating resources and attention to managing change is relatively simple, making it even easier to embrace.

  • Email communications
  • Status/update meetings with employees and designated department leads
  • Customized training
  • Focus groups
  • Newsletters
  • Impact analysis
  • Surveys
  • Risk assessment
  • Town hall/all hands meetings

A successful ERP project will be measured by user adoption and acceptance of the new system and business processes. – Panorama Consulting Solutions

3 Success Tips for Your EPR Project

Create a change champions program – These Change Champions facilitate communications regarding the ERP project to employees and bring feedback to the project team. This gets everyone on the same page, removing obstacles to adoption. Focusing on end user adoption and buy-in will drive a positive ROI and user experience.

Set a project timeline with OCM in mind – because 38% of timeline overages are about issues related to change resistance.

Set expectations for some disruption – and work like crazy to mitigate downtime risk before the go-live event. Even with the best planning, there will be some downtime. And if people are prepared for it, it will have minimal impact on the outcome.

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