Change Management 101
By Katie Foley
Change management is a term used often in the business world, but what is it and what does it have to do with ERP? This post will look at the principles behind change management and how they relate to the ERP world.
What is Change Management?
The definition of change management is fairly broad – “the management of change and development within a business or similar organization.” Depending on your position and industry, the meaning of change management can vary from person to person or organization to organization. The ultimate goal of change management is to improve an organization by changing its key business processes.
Principles of Change Management
When implementing change, keep your company’s culture in mind. Although your organization is going through a time of change, you will be more successful if you maintain some aspects of the company culture that employees enjoyed.
Tone From the Top
Change must start at the highest level in order to be successful. Employees are naturally resistant to change, but if they see executives embracing change, the challenges and benefits that come along with it, it will be easier to engage employees.
Executives may understand the need for change, but employees may not. Be sure to over communicate the reasons behind the change to employees through emails and face-to-face meetings so that the message is conveyed.
Maintain Realistic Expectations
Change management doesn’t happen overnight so be sure to set realistic expectations to prevent disappointment and frustration.
As your organization reaches milestones throughout the change management process, try to share your successes and reflect on where the roadblocks are.
Change Management & ERP
Installation of an ERP system is an example of change management. When companies make the decision to invest in a new ERP system, the goal of improving key business processes comes along with it. Each of the general principles of change management are important to a successful ERP implementation:
- Employees may be resistant to change initially. Try to maintain some aspects of the company culture as you make decisions about key business processes. It may also help to create camaraderie around the culture of change for employees to bond over as they go through the implementation, training, and go live process.
- Executive buy-in to the reasons behind the ERP implementation is important to ERP project success. Employees need to see top level management get behind the changes in order for them to do the same.
- Communication is key in ERP implementations. There should be a clear communication at the beginning of the project of the reasons for the ERP project, the benefits that come along with it, and some of the challenges that may come up along the way. Throughout the process there should be status meetings and emails to keep everyone in the loop.
- ERP implementations are a marathon, not a sprint. Likely, there will be surprises and challenges that pop up along the way but keeping expectations realistic and preparing for the unexpected will lead to success in the end.
- Finally, keep employees motivated by showing them the benefits that come along with this change management. It could be communicating every milestone you meet along the way or quantifying the saved time from turning a manual process into an automatic report.