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Mar 2016 – 2017

Last year during this time I completed my first year on the Change Management role (at an organizational unit of a Technology Firm providing internal SAP support) and shared some lessons (I learned) at “Application of Change Management Techniques at different projects – lessons learned”. Now as I’m celebrating my second year at the same role, I’ve more to share. I believe it’s always good to share what one has learned to help others, particularly those who have yet to experience similar situation, in deciding the future course of action. Let me first summarize what the Change Management role was (and is) expected to do in this organization.


Change Management in Organizational Context

The organization (where I am working for past 2 years) is considered among the best businesses in this region as its always striving to improve its processes & practices. It acquired & implemented various SAP Solutions 3 years ago to align its internal business processes with best-practices offered by industry leading software with the help of a SAP System Integrator. After implementing the core components, it started to enhance its solution landscape with number of additional SAP applications and features. An in-house Support Model was built, hiring some very fine Functional and Technical expertise from locally-experienced talent. To ensure that the new solutions, delivered to business, are smoothly accepted and adopted, a new role i.e. Change Management Lead was introduced. I was considered for the role to help the enterprise in achieving its Business-IT Alignment goals.

Different results with different Change Management methodology

In addition to various other factors which helped me a lot in improving my performance on the CM role during the year, two in particular helped me in looking at (and handling) projects someway differently. Those factors included Prosci training (which I described at Prosci Change Management Certification) and following (and of course learning from) some great subject matter experts on LinkedIn and other forums. Last year while the various SAP tools were newly introduced at organization to employees for their work I utilized my earlier training (SAP OCM 100), experience (such as one mentioned in this thread) and knowledge on Organizational Change Management, to help end-users in embracing the solutions. This year I tried to (and was quite successful in) establish(ing) the ADKAR model to plan, manage and reinforce new changes implemented in 2016 and lately in first quarter of 2017.

An example: a process to reinforce change

Among the processes which are now in place is the Feedback process which was researched well, discussed with (and outside of) SAP Community. Here is a quick link on my findings:

A hands-on experience of 3 Ws (Who, What and When) for (Services-Specific) Feedback

Circumstances have an impact on Change Management Activities

My first experience, within Change Management, was on a large-scale SAP Implementation Project a decade ago. At that time I was part of the Change Management team, responsible to manage full spectrum of (SAP HCM) training, from developing content to delivering training to Master Trainers and helping them in delivering End-User training. I learned that the Change Management approach could vary with changes in circumstances. At an (SAP) Implementation Project, for instance, the Change Manager has to work in parallel with Project Manager and the Project Team to align the Change Management activities with overall delivery. However, when it comes to SAP Support, where the flow of Change Requests and Projects is different and is ongoing, the Change Manager is working with different teams and on varied functions. The Change Manager, in different environments (Project and Support) have to 1) act differently and 2) choose the most appropriate activities just as the other teams do in different environments.

An illustration: how the circumstances have impact on roles and activities

You may find following discussion interesting and someway related to how expectations are changed just because of situations.

Are they serious? Yes, they are! Expectations of SAP Users from SAP Consultants in an Organization

Change Management and Organizational Resources

Another key thing I learned (while handling number of changes supported through various SAP Solutions) was about the organizational resources, implementation of policies and procedures which could have direct impact on Change Management function and its activities. For instance, the Prosci’s ADKAR model is actually completely supported in my organization and I assume it would be in others as well. Here are some examples:

  • Creating awareness about the new products, applications, or solutions throughout the organization could sometime be facilitated by some other teams. In my scenario it was Internal Marketing Team who help individual departments within the enterprise in running different media campaigns.
  • Creating desire to use the modified, enhanced or new system could be managed by involving and engaging relevant department managers who know their teams well. During life cycle of different projects, I approached the heads of various functions who kindly supported me – the Change Manager, in convincing end-users of the value new processes had for them.
  • Organizing and managing trainings, to deliver the knowledge of the new products or processes, become a lot easier if internal training department is engaged in the process. In my situation, I benefited from already well-settled and –established training organization to arrange training delivery sessions for some of the projects requiring Change Management.
  • Ensuring end-users ability after SAP (or any other technical solution) implementation could be ensured by arranging on-site support. In my case, I aligned my schedules with respective SAP Consultants, providing the post-implementation support and worked closely with system users to monitor and suggest how capabilities of end-users could be further enhanced.
  • Getting the feedback on how the changed processes or systems have helped end-users in improving their work and thus reinforcing change(s) could actually be supported by various tools, already available in-house. Currently I’m exploring such options and are in discussion (with technical and business teams) to align the process with available tools.

Interested in knowing more about ADKAR model? Visit this link: ADKAR CHANGE MANAGEMENT MODEL OVERVIEW

I still think (and in discussion with my team here) that there is a room for improvement in all of the Change Management processes, however, what I’m happy for is being able to systematically introduce & implement the individual activities. We have some great projects in pipeline to enhance and optimize various business processes with SAP ERP, CRM and SRM solutions and I’m hoping to have additional Change Management experience and learning. I’m sharing key learnings here at SAP Management of Change space and looking forward to hear from others on the forum of their experiences.

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  1. Irina Shishkina

    I have enjoyed reading your article. I am a Change Management and SAP Training Lead and

    having worked on a number of implementations, I can share some key points for a successful SAP

    implementation from my experience:

    • Aligning Change Management and End User Training plan with the overall Project Plan
    • Having a Change Management Lead work together with an End User Training Lead
    • Establishing business process documentation standards in the beginning of the project (serves multiple purposes later in the project and saves time and resources on documentation)
    • Assigning Training lead developers to attend business process design workshops early on
    • Tight coordination with Implementation Team Leads and local site managers
    • Sound Communications Plan targeting different levels of SAP users
    • Evaluation process to collect user feedback after the go-live
    • Establishing SAP end user training for new employees in the organization post go-live
    1. Faisal Iqbal Post author

      It’s nice to know about your experience in the same field. Thanks for summarizing the key criterion of a successful implementation. You may also have noticed that the changes managed in a solution support environment require a different approach than the one followed during the project life cycle.

  2. Irina Shishkina

    Thank you for your comment! I did notice you emphasize that post go-live support requires a different approach. In fact, I do have some experience with it. It may be interesting to look into lessons learnt in this area too. Post go-live organization does not always get the attention it needs. So it is good you pointed out the difference.

    1. Faisal Iqbal Post author


      Your comments are encouraging and serve as endorsement on what I’ve done so far to establish and maintain the change management function in SAP environment. I’m also happy to know you have similar experience : )

      The reason why both organizations (the project and support) do not get equal attention is understandable; during implementation, the project team is engaged toward achieving a single goal i.e. to deliver a solution with agreed-upon scope. Hence, it’s easy for all, including the Change Manager, to work in a defined direction. However, when it comes to support, there are plenty of ongoing change management activities required to manage the impact caused by introducing frequent changes in productive solution. The Change Manager has to deal with all and to be able to do so, s/he has to benefit from organizational resources – whatsoever available. This was something new to me which I learned here at my current role (my earlier CM experience was on SAP Implementation Projects in different capacities). Now as the Change Management function is well-established here, I’m in process of documenting (draft done, waiting for approval) the complete procedure of managing end-to-end changes with required OCM activities.

      I strongly hope what I’ve learned here can benefit other organizations (especially those who are transforming their business with SAP solutions and are looking for Business-IT alignment) as well in future.


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