Change management is a very underrated activity that often gets overlooked or cut out of the budget for an ERP implementation. One of the reasons for this is that there is a lack of understanding of what change management entails and how extremely important it is for a successful implementation. Change management is often frowned upon as one of these “soft” disciplines without any tangible value. It is often delegated to the HR department as something “to sort out”.
What companies and suppliers fail to understand is that a lack of proper change management is one of the primary causes of failed projects.
In supporting change management efforts, Mint Group UK’s has a digital enablement offer, that supports and ensures that your employees and organisation are equipped for accelerated business transformation. We enable users to adapt to new environments using the capabilities of new technologies. This involves managing change, communications, and upskilling, to ensure all business units can effectively deliver the business value required, using digital platforms.
Components of Change Management
When you look up change management, it is described as a collective term for all approaches to prepare, support, and help individuals, teams, and organisations in making organisational change. This includes the ongoing evolution of technology, internal reviews of processes, crisis response, customer demand changes, competitive pressure, acquisitions and mergers, and organisational restructuring.
As a result, implementing an ERP system will always have a major impact on the current organisation, no matter if it is a change from a previous ERP system or implementation from scratch.
The Common Challenges
Most people are naturally afraid of change. Change stands for uncertainty. It pushes people out of their comfort zones and most people don’t like that. Many people will unconsciously resist change because of this.
Lots of books have been written about change management, and please feel free to study this subject in more detail. However, let me point out a few examples of how a lack of change management can impact a project. Some of the questions often voiced by staff and used reflect concern and resistance. We often hear things like: Why are we changing systems? Will we replace people with systems? Will I be trained adequately? Will I be monitored by the new system? And statements such as “I don’t understand new technology”
All the above are rightfully important questions. They also represent uncertainty and concern about how a new system will impact the individual’s day-to-day life. Such can often lead to a lack of motivation for participating and even worse, active sabotage in the implementation.
Communication: A Prerequisite for Successful Change Management
The common thread in the above questions is really a lack of communication. Communication is one of the cornerstones in change management. The answers to the above questions really aren’t that complex and the effort to communicate this to the staff is fairly small. In other words, well worth the effort.
However, if there is no plan to communicate, this information doesn’t reach the staff.
Some organizations do have a structure with established communication channels in place for this kind of activity, but a lot of small to medium companies do not. In those cases, it will be a good investment to involve a change management practitioner.
Third Parties Matter Too
Change management should not be exclusively focused on the internal organisation. Clients often ask what the most efficient way to impart the required changes is when it comes to managing third-party relations.
As more companies rely on external parties to support critical elements of their core business operations, it’s becoming more important to ensure that the right people, processes, and systems are in the appropriate position to ensure effective delivery of products and services. This means organisation-wide, including third parties, will also need to be onboarded on the foundational components of change management. This includes customers, suppliers, and authorities, amongst others.
It is just as important to prepare these parties for a coming change through information and resource management. This can be something as simple as a new look and feel for purchase orders, invoices, corporate and social responsibility, compliance, and information security.
Change management involves preparing, equipping, and supporting individuals to thrive through business transformations. While managing change seems like a communication plan that involves leaders communicating what is changing and how it is changing, it’s more than that.
Understanding what is needed for each person to adopt change is important and can significantly increase the chances of change management success. This is not only restricted to your internal team and will always need to involve external parties that contribute to your day-to-day operations. To support aggressive business growth, everyone needs to be on the same page, speak the same language and operate as a unit. So, it’s especially important that organisations leverage a structured yet flexible approach to managing change.