We've all seen our share of change over these past two years. No need to go over it here as it is a subject that has been covered ad nauseum everywhere else. Unfortunately, this period of great upheaval is not the first and certainly won't be the last. We are regularly confronted with all sorts of changes, whether it be in our personal or professional lives.
At Gestisoft, we have no choice but to start leading change because innovation and digital transformation are not feasible without an effective change management process. Sure, your CRM or ERP will work just fine without a change management strategy; however, the solution is likely to be underutilized, disliked, avoided and then abandoned at the organizational level.
There is no greater setback for a digital transformation consultant than to learn that after a supposed success, the actual software is not being used.
What is Change Management?
According to the Prosci® methodology, change management is the application of a structured process and set of tools for leading the human side of the change process in order to achieve the desired outcome.
Therefore, change management is essentially the "management" of the human aspect of the project. It is about supporting every person through their individual process of change effort from the current state to the future state. This change initiative must be taken very seriously since it is what ultimately drives employee engagement, which has a positive correlation with their production and satisfaction within the organization.
Change management is also a bit like developing a muscle. The more trained you are, the less prone you are to fatigue or exhaustion. Similarly, the more people are accustomed to navigating change with the right support, the less fearful and reluctant they will be to future changes that come their way. The role of change management is therefore to assist them at each stage of the process, and well beyond.
Change Management and Project Management: Both Essential for Success
It would be an oversimplification to distinguish between change management and project management as they are each inextricably linked to the project's success. They are two distinct disciplines but share the same goal.
Rather, at Gestisoft, our goal is to ensure that our project management methodology takes into account change management and that all project stakeholders are made aware of the importance of properly managing change. However, since change takes shape long before Gestisoft is involved in the process, it is paramount that our customers, partners and leaders realize all that change can entail (hence the need for this article 😉).
Organizational change management starts as soon as change is discussed by senior executives, that is, before the software itself is acquired and even before the vendor contract is signed! And the beauty of it all? Organizational change management never ends... because organization development never stops!
In other words, if you decide to invest and properly train your staff and leaders for successful change management, you will be in a better position to help see your organization through all the changes it may experience, both at the technological and structural levels. Thus, leading to a successful implementation!
Change Management in an Implementation Project
Whether you're in the process of implementing a brand-new information system or replacing your ERP solution, you need to prepare your senior executives, managers and all stakeholders for such an organizational transformation. It's easy for a manager to see only the benefits of a new application, but keep in mind that your colleagues will have to drastically change the way they work.
For some people, we are talking about years (even decades) to break certain habits. It's perfectly normal for Richard in accounting to have a hard time letting go of Excel, which he had spent the prior 12 years mastering. Removing his preferred tools from the server is not going to help him adopt the new ERP system! Organizational change through digital transformation requires a structured approach, human transformation, acceptance of feelings, understanding of apprehensions, concerns and uncertainties.
Yes, it is complex, but it also fosters creativity, facilitates reflection and mobilizes all those involved.
Change Management at Gestisoft is Serious Business
The idea behind effective change management is to ensure that all the tools are in place for the project to be carried out successfully by change leaders while also promoting optimal levels of employee happiness.
This is one of the reasons why we have been advocating an iterative approach to implementation for the past several years. It improves team readiness for change. This method also allows for internal promotion thanks to satisfied employees.
Gestisoft is leading change by having successfully carried out more than 530 implementation projects. We are not change management professionals, but we've seen our share of organizational change. Our objective is to provide you with a few key strategies that will help you to prepare your team for both operational and organizational transformation.