Hi everyone! I am the latest addition to SDN/BPX Solution Management Office, having joined this great team 2 months ago.
In the last 3 years, before I joined SAP, I was a project management consultant leading many information system implementations in various organizations. There was one issue, that always made a difference in deciding a project success or not – Organizational Change Management. Having the most innovative information system implemented by the most professional team, doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. An organization can have “top of the line” systems installed, but with no cultural acceptance, these systems are destined to fail….
One aspect of cultural acceptance is adoption of the new processes and procedures that support the new system. This usually means abandoning old habits and routines. I found this to be one of the deepest project pitfalls.
I have learned that there is no “single truth” when it comes to organizational change management, but there are a few “critical success factors” to adopt.
The 6 elements needed for a successful, long-term change implementation are:
v Vision –
o Definition of future goals
o Understanding the correlation between the required change and organizational goals
v The Need –
o Awareness of the need for change
o Understanding the change rationale
v Communication –
o Information flow– truthful, open and on time
o Upward, downward and cross-organizational information flow
v Tools –
o Knowledge and training
o Supporting tools
o Additional resource definition
v Sr. Management Commitment –
o The management conveys the message of steady commitment
o Removes roadblocks
o Leads and supports employees
v Performance Measurement and Incentives
o Steering employees in the direction of change
o Develop metrics for performance measurement, which are aligned with the change
Although all are important for a successful implementation, in my opinion open and frequent communication is the most important factor. This factor has a direct influence on the rest of the factors, for instance – a vision can be perfectly defined, but if it is not communicated to all relevant stakeholders, who will know it exists?
Even history backs me up. Do you know what the first project in the history of mankind was?….The Tower of Babylon. Was it successful? Not really…the tower was never built. And why wasn’t it successful? Communication problems! As it was written “Let us go down and confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another speech”.
Remember, in order to have a successful implementation, the change management process should be intensive and long term, but it is also important to strive towards “quick wins”.
These will increase motivation and help prove benefit to the organization.