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Are we done yet? 

The ERP is implemented, the system is up, and the first period of stabilization are beyond us. Employee surveys indicate that acceptance of the new processes is high, skills and knowledge have been successfully transferred. Is the role of Change Managment concluded?

The answer lies in the definition of a successful implementation. Probably, many would agree that the best way to define a successful implementation is whether the ERP system has achieved the expected business results. We could start an entire section related to KPI and return on investment for ERP, which would be outside the purpose of this blog. However, this observation becomes relevant as we discuss those unfortunate scenarios in which the ERP has achieved its business purposes only partially, or minimally. If the business benefit is not fully achieved, there could be multiple causes. In a classic fishbone analysis, causes can be grouped in several clusters (Materials, Tools, Process, Environment, People).

Role of OCM After Implementation 

I think that Organizational Change Management professional have a role after the ERP system is fully implemented, in identifying and removing barriers specific to the PEOPLE factor that may be preventing the organization from obtaining the expected ERP business benefits. For example, Change Management professionals could:

  1. Analyze human performance possible barriers related to the ERP implementation: did the change stick? Are there additional skills/motivation/environment barriers that prevent the desired performance?
  2. Identify interventions to make human performance improvement not only permanent but also relevant for business objectives. Tools like competency models based on top performers, roles & responsibilities definition, job architecture, performance management, development planning, reward practices can be used to enhance performance at desired level.

Making Change Stick

In the end, the best way to “make change stick” is that the organization achieves the business results the ERP system was expected to deliver. While many influencing factors are clearly outside change management scope, it is certainly the role of OCM professionals to establish a link between people performance and ultimate business goals, beyond acceptance.

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2 Comments

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  1. Paul Wilson
    Hi Claudia,

    Welcome, great blog.
    You open a new angle on OCMers in SAP projects. Perhaps to further your comments, I would like to take the client view here and point out that whilst an OCMer is looking at human performance etc. the client is generally recovering from a drop in corporate performance whilst getting back onto their feet with new systems and processes. It is around this time, that reports, printing and authorisations are painful items. The point really is that around this time OCMers should be creating the understanding that SAP is like a new baby – the company has to get used to its character, understand what’s good and what’s not. They have entered a stage where it is up to super-users and the like to identify areas where immediate improvement is required to, in some cases ‘rescue’ the project from failure. At times like this, the OCMer is the angel of delivery in ‘spinning’ the SAP communications to achieve an audience wide understanding the time for making SAP useful is now. The time for ownership of go-live problems is now. Feedback pouring into the development team and issue handling via the call-centre is highly critical at this point. Business pains need to be heard and responded to quickly. SAP projects reputation is most critical at this point and the OCM specialist can make or break it.

    Best Regards,
    Paul

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  2. Roy Oliphant
    Hi Claudia,

    Of course OCM is very important after go-live for many reasons. Just to name a few:
    1) Lifecycle Change
    2) Go-Live workarounds
    3) Slack-fill
    4) Project Metrics

    Lifecycle change to me means helping to insure the continuous improvement process (CIP) gets started and the difference in expectations the business users should have of CIP vs. the implementation project and of their involvement.  Often the intense hand holding of the go-live is the largest visible investment for job training any of the users have experienced. They need help in understanding the change is not abandonment.

    Go-live workarounds are those “emergency” measures put into place due to the needs of the go-live timeframe such as extended access rights or data updates.  OCM should include tracking those measures and insuring the users revert to the correct processes as quickly as possible.

    Slack-fill refers to the additional resources added to support the business during the implementation by creating the organizational slack needed for the project.  OCM should monitor the return to normalacy and ensure there is a plan for knowledge transfer, etc., for those temporary or temporarily assigned resources.

    Lastly, as mentioned previously, someone must be responsible for evaluating the project metrics over time.  As the implementation team will have likely be reassigned to other projects, who better to evaluate the long-term improvements and standards than OCM.

    For any organization to continue to thrive, it must continue to change.  While organized OCM might be first acknowledge as part of an SAP implementation, it should be considered a permanent process.

    Regards,

    Roy

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