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8 Strategic Human Capital Management Tips

8 Strategic Human Capital Management Tips

Change is scary, especially in a business setting. From an operations standpoint, it can cause costly delays and strain the budget. From the employee standpoint, it often means extra work and fear of the unknown.

As a result, the human resources department will need to be vigilant in managing human capital during a business transformation or organizational change management initiative.

Tips for Strategic Human Capital Management During Business Transformation

1. Prioritize Data Over Hierarchy

One of the critical components of effective human capital strategies is prioritizing data over the company hierarchy. This means implementing talent management protocols that fit the information that’s presented, not the status quo.

This aspect of business transformation can be exceptionally tricky for human resources. It’s essential that decisions are made strategically, rather than cherry-picking data that fits the views and values of leadership.

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Taking a realistic look at organizational capabilities before a transformation can be difficult. From a human capital management perspective, this might mean a more substantial change that results in restructuring and redefining roles to fit new business processes and technology. This often takes place when selling a company or entering a strategic partnership.

2. Be Predictive and Proactive​

During large-scale change, a strategic human capital management plan should be put in place. This strategy should be proactive and predictive, using best practices in change management to prepare for the challenges ahead.

During this time, human resources (HR) managers can’t afford to be reactive. With any significant transformation, there’s bound to be pushback from employees, cultural change considerations and lots of questions. Being able to plan for these situations will help HR managers respond with calm confidence that will emanate throughout the company.

human capital management plan

3. Create and Identify Key Roles and Responsibilities

One of the best ways to gain employee buy-in during a business transformation is to make employees a part of the project and set them up for wins early on. In other words, human resources should take time to talk to managers and identify employees that have the right skill set for working on the project team.

It’s also essential to create a change management plan for the project team. All objectives and goals should have actions attached, and each action should have a clearly identified individual who is responsible for making it happen.

4. Ensure Clear Communication

Fear of the unknown is one of the most significant barriers to a smooth business transformation. During this transitional period, clear change management communication with employees and stakeholders should be the number one priority.

The business must be transparent with employees and identify how organizational changes will affect them both in the immediate future and long-term. It should be obvious why the change is necessary and what it means for the business and individual roles.

Throughout the transformation, communicating timelines, metrics, goals and objectives across the company ensures employee engagement and creates a culture of authenticity.

5. Create a Safe Platform for Sharing

As fear and frustration are common emotions for employees during a transformation, they’ll need a safe outlet to express themselves. Change resistance is especially prevalent during a digital business transformation, as automation efforts evoke concerns about job loss.

A key component of a human capital management strategy is advocating for employees and reassuring them that the business has their best interests at heart. In fact, human resources should create a safe platform where employees can share their concerns. Some businesses opt to use an anonymous submission platform, so employees aren’t compelled to censor themselves.

human capital management strategy

6. Be Positive and Patient

Change can have a negative effect on everyone within the business, from the C-Suite to the ground floor. As a result, HR managers will have to act as change champions, facing the project with enthusiasm and positivity. Even when there is bad news, there are ways to convey it in a way that instills hope.

One effective workforce management strategy to enact during periods of change is to reward fellow change champions. Implementing programs to recognize employees who go above and beyond during this time can be motivating for all.

7. Use Time Tracking to Avoid Burnout

During periods of business transformation, ambitious employees are more likely to burn the candle at both ends. The importance of prioritizing the health and wellness of your employees cannot be understated.

We recommend using human capital management software to enable time tracking. This will identify those at risk for burnout and reveal if there are employees available to whom you can offload certain tasks.

It’s also important to encourage employees to take time off. Mental health days and vacations can increase employees’ enthusiasm about the project by giving them time to clear their heads. By pushing for these self-care days, you improve productivity and reduce the risk of turnover and stress leave.

Time tracking can help you enforce time caps, after which an employee must take a day off to rest and reset. It’s also essential that HR managers take time for self-care, as they tend to be the frontline workers in dealing with the emotions and stress of others.

8. Manage Timeline Expectations

It’s rare that a business transformation ever goes according to the original plan. A day’s delay here or a long weekend there add up to push timelines beyond the initial expectations.

To prevent timeline overruns, HR managers should be tasked with managing timeline expectations for employees. This means identifying delays and being able to answer questions about how it will affect their workload.

This is another area in which it’s essential to be proactive, rather than reactive. In other words, you should identify the implications of a delay before employees start asking.

Successful Business Transformations

Human capital is the most important asset of any company, and management of this asset is one of the most underrated yet integral aspects of a business. With the right strategies in place, HR managers can effectively transition employees through organizational change.

Panorama’s business transformation consultants use their change management expertise to help clients achieve their organizational goals. Request a free consultation below to learn about our change management and human capital management services.


About the Author

Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart – all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver content through various niches touching the digital sphere.

Note: The inclusion of guest posts on the Panorama website does not imply endorsement of any specific product or service. Panorama is, and always will remain, completely independent and vendor neutral.

4 Common Questions About Change Champions

4 Common Questions About Change Champions

Some of the best sports teams have mascots— people who inspire fans to cheer louder and root more passionately for their teams. The common purpose behind these costumed heroes is simple: funnel organizational support into a collective energy to rally their teams to success.

While most businesses do not have people dressed up like animals parading around their workplace with a microphone, there does exist a role within business that closely mirrors that of a mascot. This role is called a Change Champion.

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What is a Change Champion?

Change Champions support the company’s mission and vision by actively participating in change management initiatives. Like the mascots of sports teams, Change Champions come in many shapes and sizes—there is no one size fits all mold. They can be your most senior employee or they can be a junior employee, and they can come from any department.

Change Champions are used whenever there is a need to communicate with employees about large-scale change. However, Change Champions should not be seen as a replacement for your change leader or the existing communication mechanisms that your company uses to disseminate information. Nor should they act as a replacement for the organizational hierarchy that exists within your management structure. Rather, they should be utilized to tailor change management communication to an individual employee level.

When seeking out Change Champions for an organization, a company should look for someone who . . .

  • Is respected and well-liked by peers
  • Has solid interpersonal skills
  • Is committed to the success of the project
  • Is courageous enough to stand up for what they believe

Change Champions should not be forced into the role. Employees who volunteer their time to act as an agent of change for your company are much more likely to be effective than those who are forced to advocate for the company.

Why Use Change Champions?

You can manage change on your own, right? Well, our 2019 ERP Report revealed that less than a quarter of companies dedicate an intense focus to organizational change management. This is a sobering statistic that highlights the lack of understanding that many company leaders have of how to manage change.

While your company’s leaders might be true visionaries or have stellar interpersonal skills, implementing change is a delicate and complex process that must be handled with precision. That said, incorporating Change Champions into the change management activities at your company will exponentially increase employee buy-in to new business processes and/or technology. 

When do You Involve Change Champions?

It’s important to have a full understanding of when to include these individuals throughout the change management process.

Phase 1 – Initiation

This is the phase where your vision for change is created. During this phase, you will be defining current state metrics, designing the blueprint for change and projecting how the change will affect metrics after implementation. During this phase, Change Champions should be involved in project planning and provide input to and validation of the current and future state assessments.  

Phase 2 – Facilitation

This is the phase where you assess how the change will impact employees. During this phase, Change Champions are the frontline of your project. They utilize their network to facilitate departmental communications and identify impacts the change might have.

Phase 3 – Implementation

This is the phase where you actually begin implementing the change. It is the last and final phase where the rubber meets the road. If you have properly executed Phases 1 and 2, you will see a very high success rate in the implementation phase. During this phase Change Champions continue to advocate for the change and help address change resistance in their departments.

What Roles Should Change Champions Play?

1. Planner

In the initiation stage of the change management process, the senior leaders are developing their vision for change within the company. Once they have established their vision, they should invite Change Champions to their roundtable discussions and ask them how they see the change impacting their workgroups. This ensures that specific departmental considerations are taken into account prior to the follow-on phases. 

2. Validator

Change Champions must be able to articulately respond to the initial plans of the project team and offer their suggestions as to how the change could be more effectively delivered.

Additionally, they must be able to validate if the current state assessment and future state projections are accurate based on their on-the-ground knowledge of the company. As some of the best Change Champions are mid-level employees, they have intimate knowledge of the innerworkings of departments. This insight is valuable to the initiation phase of the change management process.

3. Communicator

This role of a Change Champion is most prevalent in Phase 2 of the change process. Following the initial message from management about the change initiative, they must utilize their extensive network to communicate the change in a way that inspires employee engagement and buy-in. Leveraging their interpersonal skills, Change Champions tailor the change message to their employees or coworkers so these groups have a solid understanding of project objectives.

4. Impact Analyst

While discussing change with employees, the Change Champion must be able to perceive any impacts (positive or negative) that the project will have on employees. It is critical to identify potential impacts prior to implementation because there is still time to modify the project plan.

It is likely that if you are implementing change within your company there will be many different impacts across the company, so the Change Champion must be able to identify which impacts could be potential deal-breakers for the company and report those to the executive team.

5. Resistance Manager

Once the change has been planned and communicated to the team, it’s time for implementation. During the implementation phase, it is critical that the Change Champion acts as an advocate as well as resistance manager.

Being an advocate for the change does not necessarily mean that they need to stand on a chair and announce his support for the change in a theatrical fashion. Rather, they must provide support to his team throughout the change process.

As resistance is a natural reaction to change, the Change Champion must also be skilled in conflict resolution. They must be able to evaluate resistance and address it within their area of responsibility.

An effective way to simultaneously advocate for change and manage resistance can come in the form of reassuring employees that the change is in their best interest and further explaining the “why” behind the change. Support can even come in the form of helping a teammate cope with the impact that the change is having on their daily work.

Change Champions—Your Project Mascots

The Change Champion is one of the most critical components of the change process. They are the mascot of your change initiative and rally support behind the change to remove roadblocks to achieving ROI.

Panorama’s business transformation consultants can help you incorporate Change Champions, or a team of champions, throughout your project. To learn more, request a free consultation below.

7 Tips for Creating a Change Management Plan

7 Tips for Creating a Change Management Plan

Change is like the family minivan. It’s not the fancy sports car everyone wants to drive, but it’s necessary to accomplish your goals.

When the need for change presents itself, business leaders must understand that they have a long road of resistance ahead of them. Before starting down this road, the project team must create a detailed organizational change management plan.

Types of Organizational Change

There are two main types of change that can occur within an organization: incremental and transformative. It’s important to understand which change your company is going to implement as one of these is more difficult than the other.

Incremental Change

Incremental change is based on the current state and is implemented to improve the existing way things are done. This level of change is easier to implement than transformative change because there is a baseline off which to adjust. An example of incremental change is a manufacturing environment modifying standard operating procedures, such as having employees use a different tool on a production line.

Transformative Change

Transformative change is more difficult to implement because it is based on a future state that is mostly theoretical—it is a vision of where a company could be versus where it is today. Transformative change takes time to implement and is often met with resistance because of its focus on changing organizational culture and shaping behavior. An example of transformative change would be a company undergoing a merger that would restructure departmental information flow.

What is a Change Management Plan?

A change management plan is an outline that informs the use of processes and tools for managing the people side of change. The importance of change management lies in the fact that your employees – or end-users – determine the success of your project.

Some of the key aspects of an effective change management plan include a communication plan, a sponsorship roadmap, a resistance management plan, a coaching plan and a training plan. More specifically, a change management plan should fulfill the following purposes:


  • Provide a case for change
  • Facilitate communication
  • Manage implementation barriers
  • Manage resistance
  • Show progress
  • Provide reinforcement

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7 Tips for Creating a Change Management Plan

1. Assess Proposed Changes Against Business Goals

It’s important to ensure that organizational changes are aligned with your digital strategy and business goals. In other words, changes should support the financial, ethical and strategic goals of your business.

2. Develop a Strict Timeline

You need to detail the who, what, when and how of your proposed change in a specific timeline. When will the specific aspects of your change be implemented? Who will implement them? How will they be implemented? Who and what will be affected?

3. Create an Airtight Communication Plan

A change management communication plan should have a singular goal: to ensure that your goals are transparent and your business leaders are open in their discussions about change. This includes discussion of what’s changing and why. Once you have established transparency and open dialogue, you should schedule times when you will communicate specific aspects of change.

4. Train Employees to Adjust to the Proposed Changes

It’s important to provide training for your managers and employees so they can learn new processes and technology. This training will likely require external resources experienced in customizing training materials based on job roles and designing refresher training at key intervals.

5. Select Change Leaders

Change leaders are the individuals charged with championing the project from start to finish. You should select people from your management team who are outwardly supportive of project goals, are articulate communicators and are eager to share a positive message with employees.

6. Measure the Plan’s Effectiveness

It’s important to define change management KPIs that you can use to measure the ongoing effectiveness of the change management process. These goals should be very tactical. For example, “all employees and team members verbally agree that the change is worth the expense.”

7. Don’t be Afraid to Make Changes

The test of an organization’s ability to accomplish its mission lies in its ability to navigate obstacles. If, once, you have made your plan, and you find that your plan is not effective, modify the plan and continue to confront change resistance.

People are the Lifeblood of Your Company

If leaders are able to influence employees’ perspectives and provide them with the tools to accomplish change, your company will be able to achieve its goals.

According to the authors of the book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard​ , people have two independent systems at work in their brains at all times: the rational side and the emotional side (some call this the left and right side of the brain).

Project managers must be aware of the impact change will have on their employees’ rational and emotional sides of their brains and use this knowledge to inform their change management plan.

Think of the rational side of the brain as a horse and the emotional side as the rider. Without the horse having emotion, there will be no motivation or energy to get things done, and similarly, without the rider having the ability to think there will be no plan to accomplish the task.

Navigating change is much like a rider navigating a horse to the finish line during a race. To accomplish change three things must be done:

1. Direct the Rider

Riders tend to contemplate and analyze information before deciding which path to take. The rider must be given clear instructions as to where he should go, or there is a chance he could lead the horse in the wrong direction.

2. Motivate the Horse

It is very difficult to motivate a horse to go a direction it doesn’t want to go. Even if a rider is able to temporarily encourage the horse to cross a river once, that same behavior is not guaranteed the next time the horse arrives as a river. However, with the proper motivation, the horse will always find a way to cross the river.

3. Shape the Path

To direct the rider and motivate the horse, the path must be shaped by narrowing the focus on a singular goal. For example, on a racetrack, this is done by placing barriers along the edge of the track. In writing a change management plan, this is done with clear and consistent communication.

Successful Change Requires Proper Planning

People have a difficult time adjusting to change, so you must consider the impact change will have on employees and how they will react to it. Analyzing the impact of change will help you develop a change management plan that reduces fear and uncertainty among employees and ensures employee engagement.

Panorama’s understand that change can’t be forced. Their methodology helps companies introduce change at a pace employees can absorb without slowing down your project.

Sound impossible? Request a free consultation below to learn how we help companies remove barriers to change that are wasting precious time.

5 Facts About Employee Engagement

5 Facts About Employee Engagement

Imagine you are a vice president at a leading sales company. Your CEO just charged you with spearheading a project that will fundamentally change the way your business operates. You know that many projects involving large-scale change fail on the first attempt and are nervous about the prospects of success. 

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​You fully understand that one of the reasons business transformations fail is because of a lack of employee engagement during the planning, implementation and follow-through phases of the project. However, you know you have a phenomenal team you can rely on to execute a successful project.

With that said, you’ve concluded that your most pressing need is to determine how to engage your team to facilitate a smooth project. This leads you to wonder . . .


  • “What is the best way to engage these employees before, during and after the project?”
  • “What project planning activities should they be involved in?”
  • “How can I leverage their skills to make this project a success?”

What is Employee Engagement?

​To define employee engagement in the context of a business transformation, it is important to first define what it is not:


  • Employee engagement is not employee happiness. Happy employees are not necessarily engaged employees.
  • Employee engagement is not employee satisfaction. A satisfied employee might just be one who is comfortable doing the bare minimum.


Fact: Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the company and its strategic goals.

In other words, to be truly engaged in a project, employees must exhibit an emotional connection to the project goals. This means that they care about the project and it is not just done for a paycheck, but for their pride and the company’s benefit.

3 Types of Employees

  • ​Engaged – These are employees who work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company and its goals. These employees drive the company forward with innovative thinking and creative problem-solving.
  • Not Engaged – These employees are essentially “checked out.” They are just going through the motions and putting in the time, but not with the passionate energy required for the project to succeed.
  • Actively Disengaged – These employees are not just unhappy or dissatisfied at work, but they are actively displaying their unhappiness during the workday. They intentionally and unintentionally undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.


Every company has a percentage of each of these types of employees. However, the most successful companies have a disproportionate number of engaged employees.

Why is Employee Engagement so Important?

​To paint this picture, let’s draw from Psychology 101. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, people value five fundamental pillars of themselves. From the bottom pillar to the top pillar, people require the following:


  • Physiological Needs (i.e., air, water, food, shelter)
  • Safety (i.e., personal security, employment, health)
  • Love and Belonging (i.e., friendship, intimacy, sense of connection)
  • Esteem (i.e., respect, status, recognition)
  • Self-actualization (the desire to become the most that one can be)


Fact: Employees are people with needs and the ultimate desire to become the most that they can be.

Therefore, it is our job to engage their need for safety, belonging and esteem, so they can achieve a level of self-actualization that delivers incredible project results.

The Impact of High Employee Engagement

​Poor employee engagement practices cripple companies. When employees do not feel engaged at work, they are less inclined to deliver their best work.

In 2016, Gallup conducted an employee engagement survey of over 339 research studies focused on the relationship between employee engagement and performance outcomes. This analysis found that only 13% of global employees feel like they are engaged at work. In addition, it found a striking positive correlation between effective engagement and the attainment of performance objectives.

Work units in the top quartile were compared against work units in the bottom quartile, and it was found that those scoring the top half of the employee engagement ratings nearly doubled their odds of company success.

In addition, the analysis concluded that companies with effective employee engagement were . . .


  • 70% less prone to safety incidents
  • 41% less prone to absenteeism
  • 40% less prone to produce products with quality defects
  • 28% less likely to experience shrinkage
  • 24% less likely to experience high turnover
  • 21% more profitable
  • 20% more likely to achieve sales goals
  • 17% more productive
  • 10% more successful at meeting customer metrics


Fact: Employee engagement is essential to both the overall success of a company and the success of its business transformation initiatives.

How do You Engage Employees?

​Here are five ways to improve employee engagement during your business transformation:

1. Provide the Right Tools to Employees

​There is nothing more frustrating to an employee than not having the tools they need to succeed.

Fact: Ensuring your company provides the right tools to employees is one of the top drivers of engagement.

 This can be as simple as sourcing the proper hammers and wrenches for automotive work or as complex as ensuring security protocols are not inhibiting the workflow of a programming team.

2. Provide Training to Employees

Just as you must provide the proper tools for your employees to succeed, you must also provide the proper end-user training on those tools.

In an era where continuous improvement is required to stay afloat in the business world, companies must remain at the forefront of advancements in their field. This can be accomplished by developing a training program that focuses on developing employee skills and knowledge.

A simple, yet effective training method is cross-training employees of different business processes throughout the company. This creates a more empowered workforce and ensures employees understand the goals of business transformation.

3. Give Individual Attention to Employees

Did one of your employees recently have a baby? Are they going through a tough time at home? Are they are asking you for guidance on a project?

As a leader of people, you must focus your attention on the individual nature of your employees. Everyone has unique experiences, both personal and professional, and you must recognize this by conversing with individual employees in a manner that makes them feel valued.

4. Recognize Employees Loudly and Proudly

It’s no secret that employee recognition programs inspire employee engagement. In fact, the same Gallup poll discovered that when a manager focuses on someone’s strengths, the likelihood of that employee becoming disengaged drops to 1%.

Conversely, when a manager focuses on an employee’s weaknesses, the likelihood of disengagement rises to 22%. In addition, when an employee is ignored by his manager, disengagement potential is upwards of 40%.

Fact: Recognition programs do not have to be complex or even painstakingly developed. Recognition can be delivered through conversation or even just simple certificates of appreciation.

The key is to focus on employee strengths and highlight their accomplishments that drove the business forward.

5. Develop an Organizational Change Management Plan

Without an organizational change management plan, you have no roadmap for engaging employees at key points throughout the project. A change management plan helps you understand employee needs and develop messaging that informs employees of the impact of change. This strategic communication reduces change resistance. Communication is also essential when it comes to employee training.

Employee Engagement is Key to Business Transformation Success

​Throughout your business transformation, you must focus on engaging employees before, during and after the project. This is essential because you need to understand their pain points and how the project will truly impact their work. You will only get honest answers from your employees if they feel highly engaged and genuinely care about your company’s performance.

Once you’ve established a culture of engagement, it’s important to include employees in your initial planning sessions. This allows them to provide honest feedback and ensures they have clearly defined roles throughout the project.

Panorama’s business transformation consultants can help your company build a change management plan that enables an effective employee engagement strategy. Give us a call! We’re happy to help.

How to Conduct a Focus Group

How to Conduct a Focus Group

ERP projects and business transformations are exciting ventures for executives. However, this excitement is almost always accompanied by apprehension. With this apprehension comes questions like: Will my employees reject the proposed changes? Will managers support me in this venture? Will this initiative be successful? 

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For many companies, answers to these questions will only be answered days or weeks after the project begins. However, among the many items in an executive’s repertoire exists a powerful tool that can help them answer these questions before the project commences: focus groups.

Before we talk about how to conduct a focus group, let’s take a look at the definition of a focus group and some of the pros and cons.

What is a Focus Group?​

​A focus group is a gathering of stakeholders who are selected to participate in a planned discussion intended to uncover perceptions about a particular topic in a non-threatening environment. Taking a deeper look at this definition, there are some key terms that should be clarified:


This includes employees, managers, executives, customers and anyone who might be impacted by the topic of interest.

Planned Discussion

​Agendas and relevant training materials must be created in advance. In addition, the meeting date must be set at a time that encourages maximum participation from the stakeholders.

Uncover Perceptions

The objective of the focus group is to pull information from stakeholders. There should be an open floor for discussion to encourage maximum participation.

Non-threatening Environment

This is one of the most important aspects of the focus group definition. The focus group must be designed in a way that allows participants to feel free to discuss potential pain points. One way to ensure this is to conduct different focus groups for employees at different levels to ensure they are not filtering their opinions due to their managers being present.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Focus Groups

​Much attention has been given to focus groups across the change management community. This is because, if orchestrated correctly, focus groups can yield valuable and actionable information. Following are some advantages of using focus groups:


  • They help obtain information about personal and group opinions.
  • They provide the opportunity to ask follow-up questions.
  • They can save time and money when compared to the cost of individual interviews.
  • They can provide a broader range of information than individual interviews.


While there are distinct advantages to conducting a focus group, there are some disadvantages, as well:


  • Disagreements between group members and irrelevant discussion can distract from the main topic.
  • Focus groups findings can be difficult to analyze.
  • Some participants might not be willing to share their opinions due to fear of backlash.

How to Conduct a Focus Group

In order for a focus group to be most impactful, it’s important to adhere to the following six-step process:

Step 1: Define the Purpose (Project Team)

  • Clarify the purpose of the focus group.
  • Define the expected outcomes.
  • Verify that focus groups are the best way to gauge employee perceptions.

Step 2: Select the Participants and Leader (Project Team)

  • Select participants based on who will be most impacted by the change.
  • Select no less than four people but no more than 12 people. The ideal group size is 6-8 per focus group.
  • Invite participants with a positive message and inform them of the benefits of participating.
  • Select a focus group leader who is outside of the organization, so employees aren’t fearful of backlash.

Step 3: Manage the Atmospherics (Project Team)

  • Select a meeting location appropriate for discussion to avoid outside interruptions.
  • Develop and produce the required materials for the meeting, including training pamphlets, project one-pager, etc.
  • Assign a note taker for the focus group.

Step 4: Develop the Questions (Project Team)

  • Determine the number of questions necessary to fill the duration of the meeting.
  • Develop deep-dive questions focused on the why, how and what.
  • Ensure the questions are open-ended and do not lead participants to certain answers.
  • Design a session agenda.

Step 5: Conduct the Session (Focus Group Leader)

  • Clearly state the scope, purpose and desired outcome of the focus group.
  • Emphasize that anonymity will be paramount when sharing results with executives.
  • Focus the discussion on the key topics.
  • Utilize the deep-dive questions to probe into pain points.
  • Listen for comments that are vague and seek clarification.

Step 6: Analyze the Results (Project Team)

  • Review the minutes and reach a consensus on the top priorities.
  • Identify patterns in responses and general themes.
  • Identify reasons for disagreement and agreement.
  • Develop a summary report of the key findings to share with executives.

4 Tips for Finding a Focus Group Leader

As mentioned earlier, the focus group leader should be someone outside your organization. Often, this is an ERP consultant. Following are some tips for finding the right person to conduct your focus groups:

1. Find Someone Unbiased.

The atmosphere of the focus group is set by the focus group leader. It’s important to find someone unbiased who will seek to create an atmosphere where participants feel safe to speak freely.

The ideal leader never dismisses comments as “bad ideas” or “illogical” because they understand that the goal of focus groups is to gauge perceptions.

2. Find Someone Organized.

There must be a clearly established closing time for discussion, so all participants know they have a specific window in which to share their opinions. This is why it’s important to find a focus group leader who is organized enough to plan and adhere to a schedule. For example, they should be willing to interrupt (politely) and redirect tangential topics to focus on the topic of discussion.

3. Find Someone Experienced.

The focus group leader must be well-versed enough in the topic of interest to react to participants’ comments. The leader must listen deeply, think carefully and be empathetic to each participants’ opinion.

4. Find Someone Who Understands Group Dynamics (i.e., the Vividness Effect).

The vividness effect is a well-researched phenomenon in cognitive psychology that describes how peoples’ opinions are often shaped by highly graphic and dramatic situations. This phenomenon can directly impact focus group observations and conclusions.

An example of this can be seen in group sessions where there is a very animated and emotional participant. Often, this individual can rally opinion to align with his beliefs, thereby skewing the potential for accurate conclusions.

The focus group leader must be prepared to quell this type of behavior and redirect emotion into productive conversation.

How Will Business Transformation Impact Your Employees?

If you’re wondering how your ERP implementation or business transformation is going to impact employees, focus groups are one way to find out. This is just one of many organizational change management tools companies can use to anticipate change resistance.

Readiness assessments also are helpful. The insights revealed from using tools like this can be used to convince executives to invest in critical change management activities, such as communication planning and end-user training. These activities will help you address the concerns you uncover.

Change is never easy, but with guidance from business transformation consultants, like Panorama, you can minimize change resistance. We’ll help you prepare for and conduct focus groups, enabling you to understand and address employees’ fears.

How to Coach Managers to be Change Leaders

How to Coach Managers to be Change Leaders

Before embarking on an enterprise-wide project, senior management should be aware of the challenges they might encounter. Some of these challenges include employee resistance to change, ineffective communication practices and poor prioritization of new initiatives.

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Most companies are in a constant state of change, so developing and executing a change management plan should be a priority for senior executives. In fact, an organizational change management plan can increase the success of your large-scale transformation in several ways:

  • Ensuring active and visible executive sponsorship of the initiative
  • Dedicating specific change management resources and funding
  • Ensuring frequent and open communication about the change and the need for change
  • Encouraging engagement, support and participation from employees, middle managers and project managers throughout the initiative

One of the most effective of these strategies is seeking engagement, support and participation from managers. In other words, managers must be coached to become change leaders within their workgroups.

The Role of Coaching in a Change Initiative

​​Change is a very broad term. It can be simple or complex. It can impact multiple departments or only one department.

Moreover, change can be seen as non-threatening or threatening. To this end, many leaders are resistant to change. Fear of change due to the unknown implications is a common reason why managers are so resistant.

To coach fearful managers to become confident change leaders, you’ll first need to understand some definitions:

Change Management Initiative

Any project or task that applies a structured approach to transitioning a company from a current state to a future state in order to achieve expected benefits.


Partnering with employees in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to reach their full potential within the context of the project.

Change Leader

A manager who creates awareness of upcoming organizational changes and encourages employees to move beyond their comfort zone.

Internal Coach

A professional coach practitioner, who is employed within a company and has specific coaching responsibilities identified in their job description.

External Coach

A professional coach practitioner, who is either self-employed or partners with other professional coaches, to form a coaching business and is hired by a company.

Once these definitions are internalized by the project team, they can begin to coach leaders to champion change leading up to an ERP implementation or a business transformation.

Leadership’s Role in Change Management

Leaders often struggle to understand their role in change management. Below are some examples of this confusion:

change leadership coaching

The Role of the Executive Team

Executives should not just view change as a “set-it and forget-it” project. Instead, they should actively and visibly participate throughout the project, so employees at all levels can witness executives supporting change.

It’s also important for executives to communicate to front-line employees the “why” behind the change. This is essential because employees are more likely to support a change if they understand the benefits to the company and themselves.

The Role of Managers and Supervisors

In the eyes of their employees, managers are the face of the change initiative. Therefore, managers should embody four specific roles throughout the project:


  1. Communicator – Managers should leverage their interpersonal relationships with their employees to communicate face-to-face.
  2. Advocate – Managers should be an advocate for the change initiative and motivate employees through their actions and words.
  3. Liaison – Managers should maintain a feedback loop between employees and executives and/or the project team.
  4. Resistance Manager – Managers should quell any resistance among their employees by responding with positive messaging.

How to Coach Managers to be Change Leaders

We recommend coaching managers to ensure they have the skills to effectively advocate for change. This coaching can take many different forms.

It can be an internal practice, in which internal coaches, or “company coaches,” use the specific coaching responsibilities outlined in their job description to educate managers on best practices, techniques and procedures to implement change. These internal coaches can be the managers’ direct supervisors, or they can be a subset of employees within a company’s HR department.

Alternatively, coaching of managers can be performed by external coaching sources, such as change management consultants. External coaches, like Panorama, are experienced in implementing change across multiple business domains.

Using external coaches is a particularly great option for a company that is seeking to train internal coaches as well. Hiring external coaches to train internal coaches can create long-term self-sustainability within a company—something that yields significant ROI when mapped-out for year-over-year objectives.

Educating managers how to be effective communicators and resilient leaders is the best way to instill confidence in their own ability to lead change. As most managers have experienced (or been a part of) unsuccessful change management throughout their careers, they must be provided with tools to successfully implement change.

Essential Tools for Change Leaders

  1. Communication Training – Managers must be able to effectively communicate with superiors and direct reports. More specifically, managers must be able to clearly articulate to their employees the “why” of the project.
  2. Resiliency Training – Change in business means there will be impacts on employees’ daily work and managers’ management practices. To navigate these impacts, managers must be provided with training in resiliency. Resiliency training teaches the mental, physical and emotional coping skills required to handle difficult work situations.

Why is Coaching so Important?

Being an effective change leader means knowing how to actively listen to employees, understand employees and ask questions to elicit important feedback. This type of leadership ensures employees support change and adopt new processes and/or ERP software.

Panorama’s change management consultants can help you coach managers to be change advocates who break down barriers impeding your project goals. Contact us to learn about all our change management strategies that enable faster benefits realization.

How to Change Your Organizational Culture

How to Change Your Organizational Culture

The term “strategy” is one of those buzzwords that excites organizational leadership. It’s a word that lights up board room presentations and dazzles investors. However, when a company’s culture is not aligned with a company’s strategy, leaders will almost always fail to deliver on their strategic objectives.

To be most successful in ERP implementations and/or business transformations, leaders must understand how to change their organizational culture to align with their company’s strategy and related digital strategy.

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Implications of a Misaligned Culture

When a company’s culture is not aligned with its strategy, the company is susceptible to the following:

1. Poor Hiring Decisions

Each employee is a critical member of the organization. This is especially true when employees are asked to participate in strategic initiatives in addition to their day jobs.

Unfortunately, when the organizational culture is not clear to the hiring manager, or it is misaligned with the company strategy, the wrong types of employees are hired.

Our clients that have made poor hiring decisions, often experience challenges when building an ERP project team or business transformation project team. This often creates an imbalance of external resources versus internal resources.

2. Lack of Performance Management

Performance management is about coaching employees towards excellence. For example, progressive discipline policies enable managers to give feedback and warnings to employees.

However, when an organizational culture is misaligned with the company’s strategy, project team members may ignore feedback from managers and continue working toward disparate goals.

3. Employees do not Understand the Value They Bring to the Company

A properly aligned organizational culture recognizes employees who contribute to the achievement of strategic objectives.

However, when a company’s culture is not aligned with its strategy, employees are not recognized properly, or in some cases, not recognized at all. This leaves employees marching to the beat of their own drum, pursuing objectives that may not be aligned with those of the project.

Ultimately, this type of environment leaves the company at risk of paying employees for work that doesn’t directly contribute to strategic goals.

Leadership’s Role in Organizational Alignment

The ideal organizational culture should encourage openness to change, foster trust in leadership and enable teamwork. Ultimately, it is the leaders of the company who must set an example of these values for employees.

In fact, each level of leadership plays a different role in the alignment of culture and strategy:

Senior Executives

The executive-level leadership team bears the burden of establishing company culture. These leaders define the company mission, vision and values and communicate them to employees.

Middle and Senior Managers

Next in the line of leadership are middle and senior-level managers. These managers enable their departments to meet strategic objectives, and they also help determine key performance indicators. This role is helpful when it comes to being a sounding board for the executive team and communicating company goals to the front-line managers.

Front-line Managers

The last in the line of leadership to have a measurable impact on organizational alignment is front-line managers. These managers monitor the overall performance of their departments and ensure employees are achieving their assigned metrics. As this leadership group is most removed from the executive team (and sometimes, geographically, even further removed) this is where the greatest communication challenge lies.

How to Align Organizational Culture with Strategy

In order for a company to change its culture, communication must be structured as a continuous feedback loop throughout all levels of leadership. This means that from the executive level through front-line managers, everyone is fully aware of organizational goals and project goals.

Following are three steps for using communication to drive cultural change:

1. Define Objectives

To start this continuous feedback loop, the executive team must ensure the company mission, vision and values of are clearly defined. These items should be reviewed at no less than an annual basis and reworked if the strategic direction changes.

2. Communicate with Middle and Senior Managers

Once the mission, vision and values are defined, they must be directly communicated to mid-level and senior-level managers. This communication should happen not just through flyers and email but in person.

This allows for a dialogue to occur in which critical questions can be asked. More specifically, this discussion allows executives to receive feedback from mid-level and senior-level managers regarding any cultural blockers to the achievement of project goals.

Here are some examples of culture- and strategy-related questions that executives and mid/senior-level managers might discuss:


  • Which internal processes need improvement in order to achieve strategic objectives and maintain our competitive advantage?
  • What are our customer expectations and are we successfully meeting them with our products or services?
  • Are our employees trained in the skills required to meet our objectives?
  • Do employees generally trust the management team?
  • Are we able to measure, in real-time, the performance of our company at a financial level?

3. Communicate with Front-line Managers

The final piece of the alignment mission is the transfer of the strategic direction and culture from mid-level and senior-level managers to front-line managers. This discussion must happen in-person and should be aimed at translating strategy to execution.

To accomplish this, it’s important to enumerate strategic objectives and define tactical priorities for front-line managers. It’s also important to listen to feedback from front-line managers when they are asked, “What is the most effective way to achieve our goals?”

It’s All About Communication

When an employee understands the purpose of his job function and how it ties into the strategic positioning of the company, he is more apt to pursue excellence in that domain. It is this intimate understanding of one’s purpose in a company that must be attained before a company can successfully implement new ERP software or pursue business transformation.

Panorama’s business transformation consultants can conduct organizational assessments to help you understand your corporate culture and its readiness for organizational change. These assessments evaluate employees’ understanding of strategic goals and help us develop a change management plan to achieve organizational alignment.

4 Tips for Managing Large-scale Change

4 Tips for Managing Large-scale Change

As companies become more globally interconnected, the reach and impact of their operations have scaled up to become global, as well. As a result, organizational change management projects are often no longer limited to just one region, but instead span multiple global offices.

While large-scale change management projects are fantastic opportunities to lead high-impact ventures and shift focus at a strategic level, they can prove challenging. Some issues unique to global projects include:


  • Managing local culture and language differences
  • Securing high-level sponsors to champion the change
  • Building a common methodology
  • Training local experts to build up core competencies

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With large-scale change efforts, it can be difficult to share a consistent message with all stakeholders. Following are four tips for introducing new business processes and/or ERP software to your global company:

Tips for Global Change Initiatives

1. Designate Regional Leaders to Champion Change

When a company operates on a global scale, it’s essential to find leaders in each region who can sponsor and champion change for their respective regions.

This is important because a change champion who isn’t accustomed to a region may fail to capture important messaging. There could also be unforeseen cultural challenges, such as the emphasis on age within Korean and Japanese cultures. Sending a very young manager to communicate and affect change with executives twice his age can prove ineffective.

If your project team has a regional leader helping your project team communicate important messages, it can greatly streamline change management communication. For example, the regional leader may help translate messaging and adapt it to their culture, which not only increases employees’ awareness of the change but their support of it, as well.

While it’s true that a local champion can help share information more effectively, it raises another issue. How do you ensure all region leaders are on the same page? We recommend establishing organizational alignment. This means the company has agreed on a strategic direction, and the project team is ensuring all project decisions at a region level support the company’s goals.

2. Build a Centralized Roadmap

A sponsorship roadmap can bring together all your regional sponsors, so they communicate cohesive, consistent messages to their companies. This roadmap is used to outline stakeholders the sponsor needs to meet with, events the sponsor needs to attend and deadlines that must be met.

While this is a centralized document, sponsors can adapt messaging in a way that is best suited for their location. When culturally adapting messages, some of the most important messaging that must stay intact includes:


  • Why the change is occurring
  • The implications for the company and particular location
  • How progress is going to be enforced
  • A sense of urgency
  • What happens if change management is not pursued now

3. Establish a Common Methodology

It’s important for each region to see change management resources and tools as built for their benefit rather than a hand-me-down from another hemisphere. However, it may not be feasible to convert all documentation from one language to multiple other languages and mediums.

A regional sponsor likely doesn’t have enough time to sit down and translate hundreds or thousands of pages of documentation and training materials. This can become expensive very quickly, especially if each region has unique business jargon they employ.

This is why it’s important to establish a common change management methodology and terminology that’s shared among all regions. Sponsors will find change management resources more beneficial if their region already has a baseline understanding of the change management methodology.

4. Encourage Knowledge Sharing

For global companies that operate with tens of thousands of employees, a regional leader may not be enough to affect change at a local level. Getting more regional leaders on board is not always a feasible solution, either, since regional champions need specialized training.

Instead, we recommend relying on regional trainers to build up core competencies at all levels. Having a local resource who can educate employees equips the local workforce with the tools and knowledge to more efficiently implement large-scale organizational change.

Successful Change Management at a Global Scale

It’s clear that global projects involve a group of stakeholders comprised of multiple cultures and languages. Sharing information with these stakeholders involves far more effort than simply translating it via Google Translate.

Panorama’s business transformation consultants can help your company account for all of the regional variances you’ll encounter during a global ERP implementation or change management initiative. Contact us to discuss your global organizational needs – we’re here to help!

3 Tools for Reducing Change Resistance

3 Tools for Reducing Change Resistance

Change resistance and other roadblocks can delay a change initiative– or worse yet, cause it to fail. This is why companies about to embark on a business transformation or ERP project should use change management assessments to anticipate and mitigate roadblocks.

These assessments can help you understand the impact of change, your employees’ readiness for change and what change management activities to include in your project plan. We use change management assessments to help companies reduce risk and ensure an on-time, on-budget project with a high ROI.

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This year's report delves deep into the data to analyze what ERP industry trends mean for organizations now and in the future.

We have found that the ability to identify employee resistance early in the project leads to faster ERP benefits realization. Essentially, the more time employees spend using new ERP software instead of resisting it, the more the software will benefit your bottom line.

While there are many different change management assessments, three of the most common assessments we use are listed below.

3 Common Change Management Assessments

1. Change Impact Assessment

A change impact assessment gives insight into the potential effects of a proposed change. Knowing what people and processes will be affected by change enables your team to develop a change management plan.

More specifically, a change impact assessment evaluates the impact of a change from three perspectives:

  • Consequences of making the change
  • Mandatory resource modifications
  • Effort and tasks to complete the change

The main purpose of a change impact assessment is to minimize the negative impacts of change. It accomplishes this by allowing the project team to anticipate issues, such as resource constraints, before they occur.

There are two major benefits of using a change impact assessment:

Minimizing Ripple Effects

A change impact assessment is especially beneficial for projects where quality and safety are paramount. In these projects, a small change can cause huge issues down the line.

We recommend continuously monitoring the impacts of change during the project. This will help you address issues while they’re still small.

Controlling Project Scope

On a complex project that has hundreds or thousands of intertwined processes, a change impact assessment can prevent the project scope from expanding.

How does scope expansion occur? Imagine if a developer on your team promises a change to an end-user, fails to perform a change impact assessment and ends up spending months on a single change order.

2. Organizational Readiness Assessment

The willingness of employees to support change determines on how quickly you can implement change. That’s why we use readiness assessments at our client engagements – the client needs to know if their employees will be supportive of organizational changes.

Some of our clients find that their culture is either resistant to change, or it doesn’t align with the specific changes being proposed. This knowledge helps clients develop a plan to adjust their culture and prepare employees.

There are two main reasons companies use readiness assessments:

To Identify Root Causes

Oftentimes, change resistance does not stem from ill intent, but rather poor internal communication, distrust of senior leaders or extreme organizational silos. Once you understand these aspects of your culture, you can begin overcoming resistance.

To Gain Employee Buy-in

Employee buy-in is important both during and after a change initiative.

After a project, for example, employee buy-in can mean increased ERP system usage and higher benefits realization.

During a project, employee buy-in can mean increased insight into employee needs and the ability to design business processes that benefit employees. As you can imagine, prying knowledge out of an employee worried about job security is quite difficult.

3. Stakeholder Analysis

Typically, stakeholder analysis refers to the techniques or tools used to identify and understand the needs of major interests outside the immediate project environment.

The goal of this assessment is to understand what individual stakeholders care about and what relationships exist between stakeholders. This allows the project team to avoid stepping on toes and implement changes that benefit stakeholders.

Here are two reasons to conduct a stakeholder analysis:

Stakeholders are a Key Source of Information

Stakeholders’ ideas and suggestions can help guide team members in their process improvement efforts.

Stakeholders can be Change Champions

Stakeholders who visibly support change will naturally elicit buy-in from other employees.

You Will Encounter Roadblocks

We have a yet to see an ERP implementation that hasn’t encountered organizational roadblocks. While the most noticeable roadblock is change resistance, there are usually several root causes.

Change management assessments not only identify sources of resistance but help you develop a more effective change management plan – and overall project plan.

Panorama’s ERP consultants can help you conduct change management assessments and use the resulting insights to adjust your company culture and gain employee buy-in.

Most employees have a fear of the unknown and a fear of job loss when presented with the prospect of organizational changes. Let us help you alleviate employees’ fears and fast-track your ERP system usage.

5 Change Management Communication Tips

5 Change Management Communication Tips

How do you define business transformation success? Does it mean your project was on-time and on-budget, or does it mean more than that?

Just because you adhered to a budget and timeline doesn’t mean your project succeeded. If everyone was working toward the same goal during the project and continues to do so, this is more characteristic of a successful project. In other words, organizational alignment both enables and signifies success.

2019 ERP Report

This year's report delves deep into the data to analyze what ERP industry trends mean for organizations now and in the future.

Organizational alignment is a topic we often mention in our blogs. Today, we’ll discuss one key strategy for achieving this alignment: change management communication.

How to Communicate With Employees to Ensure Business Transformation Success

1. Build a Project Team

When it comes to large-scale projects that involve many stakeholders, it’s essential to form a project team. Part of this project team should include an organizational change management team responsible for determining employees’ change readiness and developing a change management plan.

We recommend designating change agents as key influencers within the change management team responsible for executing many of the communication activities of the change management plan.

2. Communicate Early​

It’s far easier to obtain employee buy-in when they understand that the project is an opportunity to improve the company and their individual jobs. As such, your change management team and executives should communicate the nature of change long before it happens.

For example, how significant is the change, and how will employees be impacted? Why is the change necessary, and what improvements stand to be gained?

3. Listen to Employees’ Concerns

We have found that both top-down and bottom-up communication help ensure organizational alignment prior to an ERP implementation or business transformation.

Bottom-up communication is especially important because end-users may have insights that senior leaders don’t have. End-users have this insight as they are the ones performing the business processes.

In addition to insights, end-users will also have concerns. These should not be taken lightly, as employees respond much more positively to change when they know their concerns are seriously considered.

Every client we’ve worked with has had several employees who initially resisted change but became supportive of the project once they had the opportunity to communicate their concerns. This communication often took place one-on-one, but sometimes was facilitated through “town hall” meetings.

4. Manage Issue Escalation During the Project

Once the project is underway, bottom-up communication should not stop. In fact, projects without a communication hierarchy can get derailed by an inconsequential problem if end-users don’t understand how to communicate issues and to whom.

For example, let’s say that during a software upgrade for a system at an asset management firm, a calculation error is discovered in a test environment. End-users escalate the issue to the Chief Risk Officer (CRO). However, the CRO is not tech savvy, so he misinterprets the bug as something that affects live operations. He then shuts down trading operations to investigate the issue. This decision could potentially cost a firm millions of dollars.

5. Share Key Information During the Project​

Just as bottom-up communication should continue after the project commences, so should top-down communication.

Relevant information to communicate might include details about upcoming milestones or findings from previous milestones. For example, what business benefits did the company realize from the first phase of the project?

Continuous communication about project goals also is essential for maintaining employee engagement. As project challenges arise, buy-in naturally fluctuates, so it’s important to repeat key messaging to convey why the gain is worth the temporary pain.

How do Employees Perceive Change?

Effective communication requires an understanding of employee perceptions. In general, employees perceive change as something negative.

If your change management approach is to succeed, they must put themselves in the shoes of a typical end-user. From this perspective, change may seem like a cost-cutting measure aimed at eliminating staff. Additionally, new responsibilities may seem intimidating and cause you to feel inadequate.

Considering these fears, it’s important to develop a comprehensive change management plan with a strong focus on employee communication. We have found that poor communication only serves to increase employees’ fears.

Panorama’s ERP consultants understand that employee buy-in is essential to business transformation success. We can help your company align employees around common goals by building a communication-savvy change management team.

8 Tips for End User Training

8 Tips for End User Training

Most people dislike change. This makes implementing organizational changes difficult.

If your company is about to undergo significant organizational changes, then preparing employees is the best way to mitigate change resistance. In fact, a comprehensive end user training strategy is an essential component of an effective organizational change management plan.

Unfortunately, less than half of companies in our 2019 ERP Report included customized training as one of their project activities.

2019 ERP Report

This year's report delves deep into the data to analyze what ERP industry trends mean for organizations now and in the future.

So, how do you develop a training strategy to prepare team members for an ERP implementation or business transformation? We’ve compiled eight tips that can help you:

1. Ensure Executives are on Board.

Executives should understand the importance of change management and understand what activities are necessary for change management success. It’s especially important to set realistic expectations around employee training in terms of budget, timeline and resources.

2. Assume You Have Underinvested in Training.

We have yet to be involved in a project where the company spent too much time on training. Rather than looking for ways to save money by cutting change management activities, you should look for ways to help employees feel comfortable with change. This will actually decrease your overall costs and increase your ROI in the long-term.

3. Start With Business Processes.

Before designing a training program, we recommend documenting business process changes. Only then can you determine the impact of change on employees and the knowledge gaps that need to be filled.

We use change impact assessments to help our clients connect the dots for their employees in terms of the way things work now and how they will work in the future.

4. Begin Training Early.

There is a common assumption among project managers that employee training should be conducted a few weeks before changes are rolled out. Instead, employees should receive multiple rounds of training well before they are expected to adopt new processes and/or technology.

While it is tempting to train employees in one session, this is never a productive practice. Regular training sessions ensure employees retain information and learn to use new software functionality as it is rolled out over time.

5. Customize Employee Training.

Everyone learns differently, and a one-size-fits all approach leads to broad skillsets with holes in understanding. The ideal solution is to offer individualized training. This helps you address individual roles and skill levels.

One tool you can use is a change impact assessment. This helps you identify how change will affect each employee and guides you in developing individuated training plans.

6. Use Employees as Trainers.

As business owners, you may not always know the details of every employee’s job. This is why it’s a good idea for a managers and subject matter experts to take on the role of trainer.

This peer-to-peer learning technique is especially effective in large organizations. Employees can each be assigned a coach who understands their role and provides personalized feedback.

At Panorama, we design train-the-trainer programs for many of our clients implementing new ERP software. This helps them efficiently train employees on new business processes and technology.

7. Use Mobile Technology.

Much of today’s workforce works remotely. Training these employees can present a challenge.

However, incorporating mobile technology in your training strategy ensures remote employees receive effective training.

Popular apps, like Slack, can improve training through gamification. In other words, you can test employees’ knowledge via quizzes and games. This leads to higher engagement and memory retention.

Microlearning is another mobile-friendly technique that breaks training content into a smaller, more manageable pieces. This often includes short videos that employees can watch at their own pace.

Geo-fencing is one mobile technology you can use for microlearning. It is a location-based service where mobile phones use GPS, Wi-Fi or cellular data to trigger a programmed action when an individual enters or exits a virtual geographical boundary.

While traditionally used by companies for marketing purposes, some companies are using geo-fencing for microlearning. For example, field employees who work with compliance-related issues can be sent push notifications reminding them to conduct specific checks.

8. Combine In-person and Online Training.

While many employees find that in-person training is the best way to learn, it can be difficult to hold employees’ attention without incorporating online training materials.

Using multiple teaching methods, such as pre-recorded videos and demonstrations, can keep employees engaged during in-person training sessions.

When employees inevitably forget concepts over time, online resources, again, become useful. Many ERP vendors have user communities that provide ongoing support to end users.

Online training is especially effective for Millennial employees. Traditional classroom-based training alone won’t cut it with this group.


Effective Training Programs

Developing an effective training strategy will ensure the success of your ERP project or change initiative. In fact, we have found that employee adoption is one of the main drivers of benefits realization.

This is why Panorama’s ERP consultants design comprehensive change management plans for companies and prioritize training early in the project. If you are planning for major changes at your company, let Panorama help you develop a strategy for success.

10 Communication Tools for Change Agents

10 Communication Tools for Change Agents

Although both organizational change management and innovative communication tools have been around for some time, many organizations don’t combine them. As a change agent, you can pick and choose which tools work best for you, and you can adjust them to suit the needs of your ERP implementation

First, let’s lay down some ground rules for what makes an effective communication tool for change management:

  1. The tool must help the people involved understand the change.
  2. The tool must minimize disruption without dismissing concerns.
  3. The tool must instill accountability and delivery clarity.
  4. The tool should be able to boost employee morale and drive involvement.
  5. The tool should captivate your audience and promote buy-in.

Ultimately, communications tools should help tackle common challenges of implementing new ERP software, such as resistance to change. Following are ten traditional and modern tools you can add to your change toolkit:

Traditional Communication Tools

Traditional communication formats cultivate trust with most employees as something is comforting about interacting on a non-digital level.

In fact, if you’re in the early stages of business transformation, traditional communication tools might be most effective tools you have.

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1. Bulletin Board

Put up a bulletin board where employees can post questions. Make it clear that questions will receive answers, and statements will be read and recorded.

Some companies issue different colored index cards or pins to identify which department a question comes from. This helps you provide more relevant answers.

2. Town Hall Meetings

Failing to communicate the project vision is one of the common struggles in an ERP project or business transformation. Hosting town hall meetings allows you to effectively communicate with employees at all levels of the organization.

During these meetings, clearly explain the project vision in a compelling manner. Several times throughout the meeting, open the floor to questions. If you make people wait until the end, you’ll lose them.

If employees express frustration during the meeting, offer to meet with these individuals face-to-face. This may come as a surprise to some employees – according to Forbes, less than a third of employees believe that there will be any changes based on their input.

When our clients conduct town hall meetings, they typically find that these meetings increase alignment among executives, the ERP project team and the change management team.

3. Playbooks

Playbooks help coaches guide their teams to victory, and they can help you too. Essentially, you’re telling your employees what changes are coming and how they can prepare.

The playbook should be high-level and easy to skim. It should include:

  • The project’s one-sentence goal
  • The vision statement
  • A list of the people and systems directly impacted
  • A list of the people and systems indirectly impacted
  • A list of new technology being implemented

4. One-on-one Meetings

When our consultants work with change agents, we help them develop elevator pitches appropriate for each stakeholder group. The elevator pitch can be used in one-on-one meetings to explain why the change is happening and what specifically is changing.

These meetings should occur at key milestones throughout the project. They should be two-way conversations that encourage employees to share feedback.

In our experience, one-on-one meetings can be more emotional than team meetings, so we typically help change agents develop key messaging to address various emotional responses.

Mobile Communication Tools

While you may have security concerns about mobile apps for the workplace, these apps are specifically designed with security in mind. Here a few you should consider if you want to improve your change communication:

Slack is well-known for its desktop software that works as a team communication hub. In Slack, you can create different boards for anything and everything.

You can tag people in conversations, nudge them and mark certain statements with a tag making them easy to find later. The nudge and tagging features can make a big difference when it comes to addressing key issues with employees.

Troop allows individual communication and can store the entire history of a conversation.

This app also allows you to set administrators or moderators for group chats, so you can allow teams to discuss the project but have their manager moderate the discussion.

Software Communication Tools

Innovative software usually doesn’t have too much pushback when you try to integrate it into your change program. Most of these tools are reasonably priced and require no training.

It’s more of a service than a software solution, and the only person that has to do anything is you. Create an account, and then use your unique code to direct people to your calendar. If someone wants to schedule a meeting with you, they must select from one of your open time slots.

A software solution specifically for change management teams, Gensuite focuses on the impact of change. Teams can use Gensuite to plan and manage risk while working towards legal compliance.

The system is flexible and allows stakeholders to engage in different steps of the change plan. You can customize controls, restrict certain users and automate communication.

Redbooth uses a task system to restrict and direct communication. The goal with Redbooth is to restrict communication to that which is relevant to the task or project. Employees must sort, organize and tag moveable tasks to keep communication concise and avoid repetitive questions.

10. Blogin

One of the biggest struggles that change agents face is helping employees work through deep-set feelings of uncertainty. A lot of this uncertainty comes from not having access to information.

Blogin acts as an internal company blog where you can archive company knowledge. It allows staff and team members to share information, search through the information, make suggestions for additions and ask questions.

Blogin keeps information flowing without disrupting the project. It’s a great place to put meeting minutes, your change management playbook and more.

Which Tools Will Work Best for You?

Change agents know that each project requires a different approach, which is why it’s critical to have more than just a few tools on hand.

Panorama’s ERP consultants can help you build a change activation toolkit that incorporates some of the tools mentioned here and provides guidelines for developing messaging. We’ll help you proactively lead and inspire your employees to embrace change.

5 Tips to Avoid Change Management Failure

5 Tips to Avoid Change Management Failure

Many organizations launch organizational change management programs that fail to fully transition employees into the desired future state. These organizations often focus on developing a communication plan while forgoing many other change management activities.

According to Panorama’s 2019 ERP Report, a communication plan is the most common change management activity respondents used for their ERP projects. While a communication plan is important, it’s not enough for most ERP implementations and business transformations.

2019 ERP Report

This year's report delves deep into the data to analyze what ERP industry trends mean for organizations now and in the future.

Signs of Change Management Failure

Change management failure takes many forms, but it is most apparent at the completion of an ERP project. At this point, you’re expecting to begin realizing business benefits, but instead you’re facing low employee morale, low user adoption and low productivity.

It’s important to identify the signs of change management failure sooner rather than later. Signs might include:

  • The project manager does not understand the needs of the end-user.
  • The change impacts people who aren’t aware of or involved in the project.
  • Management or executives are resisting change.

Fortunately, there are many change management activities you can employ to mitigate these challenges. Following are five change management tips that incorporate some of the most overlooked change management activities.

5 Change Management Tips

1. Be Proactive and Start Early

Change management often fails when the project manager does not understand the needs of the end-user.

Before selecting ERP software, you should assemble a team to assess employees’ needs. We recommend conducting focus groups. These are useful for several reasons:


  • During focus groups you can document employees’ pain points with the current system. Exposing these pain points can help you to convince executives to invest in new technology.
  • Focus groups are effective in gaining employee buy-in. When communicating the reasons for change, you can use the insights from the focus groups to align your message with employees’ needs.
  • Focus groups help you select a system that addresses employees’ pain points. This is important because when employees’ needs are fulfilled by a technology solution, they are likely to respond more positively to your change management efforts.

2. Start at the Top

The most effective change management strategies start at the top. This is because people model the behavior they see. If executives appear fearful of change, employees will fear it as well. Inconsistency erodes employees’ trust in leadership and increases change resistance.

For example, one of our ERP selection and implementation clients achieved strong executive buy-in, which they used to gain employee buy-in. The communication from management was consistently supportive of change and focused on a clear, unified message that employees easily understood.

3. Provide a Big Picture View

You have probably heard a manager ask why they need to move to a new system when the existing system is fine. Additionally, executives may regularly remind you that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

A big picture view is the best way to address executive and management concerns as they are typically big-picture thinkers.

What Executives Want to Know

  • How the project will cut costs or mitigate risk.
  • How the project will impact multiple departments.
  • How the project will address the pain points of key stakeholders.
  • How the goals of the project align with business objectives.

Executives like specifics, so be sure to provide details. What specific business benefits will the ERP implementation bring? Will it improve communication and integration between departments? Will it improve the company’s ability to serve customers? Quantify these benefits as accurately as you can.

For example, one of our process manufacturing clients wanted to improve the efficiency of their sales function. They demonstrated to executives how the new system would provide better insights into their customer service function, allowing them to automate many aspects of it. They showed how this would free up time for employees to focus more on outbound calls. This appeals to the executive’s desire for efficiency and increased revenue.

Our ERP consulting services include a benefits realization plan, which allows clients to track the realization of the benefits they’re using the promote the project. This provides further validation to employees that the benefits being promoted are on track to be achieved.

4. Customize Your Training

As ERP systems and CRM systems prove their worth across industries, many companies are happy to implement new technology without a thought. They are confident that their “tech-savvy” staff will quickly and painlessly learn the new system.

However, even truly tech-savvy employees don’t innately know how a new system operates. When you consider your less tech-savvy employees, a technological change seems hopeless.

The good news is that you have many resources available to educate your staff. In addition to the ERP vendor’s training materials, you can design customized training based on the new business processes in each department.

For example, it’s important to train your accounting department on their unique processes within the ERP system. Additionally, you should train your customer service reps on their functions and help them understand upstream and downstream processes.

What Does Change Management Success Look Like?

Whether you’re beginning an ERP implementation or a business transformation, change management requires more than communication. It requires a full change management plan that ensures executive support, employee buy-in, and most importantly, benefits realization. This is what change management success looks like.

Panorama’s ERP consultants can ensure your change management initiative is successful. We’ll help you plan for and execute all of the activities that companies tend to overlook.

How to Use a Change Management Plan to Increase Your ERP ROI

How to Use a Change Management Plan to Increase Your ERP ROI

Ensuring a high ROI on your ERP implementation is no easy task. Many organizations have tried to accelerate their projects by implementing out-of-the-box ERP software, minimizing process changes and cutting change management from their budgets. While this may save you money in the short-term, it does nothing to position your organization for long-term growth.

So how do you maximize ERP ROI without reducing your project budget to the bare necessities? One answer is organizational change management. In other words, your employees will determine your ROI.

The Human Factors That Influence ROI

  • Speed of Adoption​ – How quickly are employees adopting new technology, business processes and job roles?​
  • Ultimate Utilization​ – How many employees are using the ERP system and demonstrating buy-in?
  • Proficiency​ – How well are employees performing their jobs with the new ERP system?​

If one of these factors is negatively impacting your ERP project, you may want to conduct an ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) Assessment. Evaluating how well you’re meeting employees’ needs will help you develop a change management plan, which is a key pre-implementation activity.

What Employees Need During a Change Initiative

  • Awareness of the need for change
  • Desire to make the change happen
  • Knowledge about how to change
  • Ability to implement new skills and behaviors
  • Reinforcement to retain the change once it has been made

The Beginner’s Guide to Digital Transformation

What are the 6 secrets to digital transformation that are helping organizations build competitive advantage?

Desire is one of the key components of ADKAR that organizations overlook. They see change as a mandate that employees will follow whether or not they desire it. While this may be the case with some employees, software usage isn’t the ultimate goal. Employees must be proficient with new software for your organization to realize business benefits, but they are unlikely to become proficient without the desire to change.

Reluctant software users are almost as bad as employees who refuse adoption altogether. It’s important to begin change management activities before ERP selection, so you can proactively build desire among employees and give them more time to process the changes. While SAP and Oracle may be infinitely better than your old ERP system, employees may still be reluctant to adopt a new system if you don’t give them reasons to desire change.

Another aspect of ADKAR that many organizations forget to address is employees’ need for reinforcement. When employees revert to old processes, this may indicate the need for reinforcement. The best way to reinforce change is through recurrent training and frequent communication. Our experience as a software implementation expert witness has revealed that a lack of communication is a leading cause of ERP implementation failure.

It’s helpful to think of ADKAR as sequential. You cannot meet every need simultaneously, and each employee will go through the process at a different pace. Managers should be the first to complete the ADKAR process followed by the employees they supervise.

How to Be a Change Leader

  1. Prepare yourself for change​ – What changes will impact your team and how? Why are these changes being made? Answering these questions is the first step to becoming a change leader.
  2. Adapt to the change that is happening to you​ – Just because you’re a manager doesn’t mean you like all the proposed changes. You should share your concerns​ but ultimately commit to supporting change.
  3. Develop competencies to manage change​ – A manager should have the competencies to take on the roles of a communicator, liaison, advocate, resistance manager and coach.

If your organization is experiencing low productivity, high turnover and low morale as a result of organizational changes, the role of coach will be essential to your digital strategy. Managers who assume this role significantly impact how employees perceive change. By listening to employees’ concerns and using ADKAR, these managers are able to identify barriers to change and develop plans to address them. Executives can also play the role of coach. In fact, they can be some of the most effective coaches because of their level of influence.

6 Tips for Coaching Employees

  • Remove barriers – Barriers to change may relate to family, personal issues, physical limitations or money. Coaches should fully understand the individual situation of each employee to determine how to remove barriers.
  • Build desire by providing choices – Employees need to know in simple and clear terms what their choices are and what consequences they face for making a particular choice. This puts a level of control back into the hands of employees.
  • Create hope – Employees are more open to change when you frame it as an opportunity for a better future. Coaches can create desire for change among employees by expressing their own excitement and enthusiasm. While this tactic is effective, it can be misused if coaches create false hope and don’t believe in the change themselves.
  • Convert the strongest dissenters – By focusing their energy on the most vocal dissenters, coaches can reduce the spread of negativity. Another reason that converting vocal dissenters is worthwhile is because they may be some of the most vocal advocates when converted.
  • Highlight the tangible benefits – Case studies and testimonials can tangibly demonstrate the benefits of change. Conducting pilot programs and sharing the successful outcomes is also useful for generating buy-in.
  • Use money or power – This tactic works well with mid-level and senior managers that are critical about the success of the ERP project. Offering higher pay in exchange for project support can be worth the investment.

Aiming for a Higher ERP ROI

While many organizations aim for short-term cost savings, some organizations understand the importance of long-term ROI. They expect more from their ERP software because they know its true value lies at the intersection of people, processes and technology. They know that technology alone cannot deliver long-term ROI.

However, this is easier said than done. If you know the true value of ERP software but need a little guidance to achieve it, hiring an ERP consultant, like Panorama, is great investment.

5 Ways to Prepare for Transformational Change

5 Ways to Prepare for Transformational Change

If you’re considering digital transformation, you probably know it entails significant operational changes. Whether you’re changing your entire business model or certain business processes, these transformational changes are challenging for organizations and their employees.

Many executives and project teams struggle to integrate organizational change management into their projects. Here are five ways you can prepare your organization for change:

5 Ways to Prepare for Change

1. Ensure executive alignment

Most organizations have at least one executive who is not on board with the goals of the project or is working against the project. Your executive team needs to be aligned – the success of all other change management activities depends on it. Executive involvement precedes executive buy-in. Asking executives questions, such as what they would like to achieve with new technology, can help establish buy-in.

The Beginner’s Guide to Digital Transformation

What are the 6 secrets to digital transformation that are helping organizations build competitive advantage?

2. Facilitate organizational readiness assessments

How can you implement transformational change without understanding your employees and your culture? Conducting an online survey and series of focus groups can give you an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your organizational culture. This insight can identify the root causes of change resistance and help you determine strategies for implementing change.

3. Conduct organizational impact assessments

You can simply inform employees that their jobs will change, or you can explain exactly how they will change. An organizational impact assessment helps you understand the degree of change and nature of change so you can effectively communicate this to employees. Communication should be targeted, personalized and continuous.

4. Customize your training materials to fit your business processes

While most ERP vendors have training materials for their products, the training isn’t customized. When you train employees without considering the nuances unique to your organization and industry, employees may experience confusion, and training won’t be nearly as effective. Training materials should be tailored to your business processes. A training program should cover more than just how to use the ERP system. Employees also need to know what processes and decisions need to happen outside the system.

5. Develop a comprehensive organizational change management plan

Merely focusing on end-user training and basic employee communications will not lead to long-term transformational change. An independent consultant can help you define the change management activities that will enable digital transformation.

How to Communicate With Employees

1. Look for signs of resistance

While employees may appear to embrace change, subtle forms of resistance may still exist. Be on the lookout for signs such as reduced productivity, absenteeism and conflict. When developing a communication plan, you should pay attention to change resistant employees.

2. Develop a communication plan

A clear understanding of stakeholder needs allows you to develop a targeted communication plan outlining key messages for each stakeholder group. The plan should also specify when and by whom information should be communicated.

3. Provide leadership

Executives should provide clear, consistent and repeated communication of project goals, and they should explain how these goals align with the organizational vision. Without this type of communication, employees won’t understand how new technology will help the organization grow, better serve customers and become more efficient. Instead they’ll assume the organization is using technology as a cost-cutting measure and a strategy for eliminating staff.

4. Facilitate two-way communication

When will training occur? When will changes roll out? How can I express my concerns? These are common questions employees have during ERP projects. Executives and the project team should hold meetings throughout the project so employees can ask questions and express concerns.

5. Establish a project brand

A brand is a value proposition that encourages loyalty. A brand for a digital transformation project should reinforce the importance of the project. A branding contest is a fun way to engage employees and help them feel a sense of ownership. When communicating with employees, don’t underestimate the power of branding.

6. Create a project portal website

This serves as a central location for employees to find timely project information. Available materials should include implementation plans, upcoming events and training schedules. Smaller organizations sometimes use a bulletin board to disseminate information in lieu of a website. A central location for information encourages collaboration and participation from all stakeholders.

7. Utilize change agents

These are people inside the organization responsible for communicating key messages to end-users. As trusted advisors and super-users of the new technology, they are likely to hear different thoughts, concerns and reactions than executives hear.

Is Organizational Change Management Really Necessary?

Many executives believe organizational change management is a luxury rather than a necessity – even if they’re undergoing a digital transformation that’s radically changing their operational model. Time and resource constraints prompt executives to cut organizational change management from their project budgets in an attempt to complete the project as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, executives that forgo change management typically find their projects require more time and money in the long run as they scramble to increase system usage after the technology is already implemented.

Executives that do believe in organizational change management often struggle to develop an actionable plan. If this describes you, Panorama’s ERP consultants can help your company prepare for transformational change.

The Importance of Change Management During Digital Transformation

The Importance of Change Management During Digital Transformation

You may have noticed the ERP consulting industry moving away from the term “ERP implementation” in favor of “digital transformation.” This isn’t surprising as ERP implementations have a bad reputation – they often go over budget and over schedule and fail to realize significant business benefits. While digital transformation does involve ERP software or other technology, “ERP implementation” insufficiently describes initiatives involving large-scale change to people and processes.

Digital transformation can create competitive advantage and position your organization for future growth – but not without a detailed change management strategy and a strong change management methodology.

What is Large-scale Change?

If your initiative is truly a digital transformation, that means you’re changing more than your technology – you’re undergoing large-scale change and fundamentally altering structures, processes and employees’ day-to-day jobs. If new technology is merely enhancing one of these elements, then you’re likely experiencing small-scale change. You’ll still need a change management methodology, but it will account for a smaller percentage of your project budget.

The Beginner’s Guide to Digital Transformation

What are the 6 secrets to digital transformation that are helping organizations build competitive advantage?

Whenever an organization implements new technology, it should consider the possibility of large-scale change. New technology is an opportunity to reengineer business processes and improve efficiency. This proves more difficult after a technology solution is already in place. Maybe you want to stick to business as usual for now, but what about five years down the road when you want to pursue digital transformation? Technology configured for your old business processes may not support new processes, at least without extensive customization.

That’s not to say you can’t pursue a change management initiative without implementing new technology. Many organizations want to transform their culture or introduce incremental process improvements without touching technology. However, a full-scale business process reengineering initiative typically necessitates at least an evaluation of your current technology.

How to Implement Large-scale Change

Three words: Organizational change management. That’s the only way to successfully change your people, processes and technology. You may have heard it called people enablementworkforce transition or business process implementation, but the most accurate term is organizational change management, as it encompasses everything from communications to training.

Here’s a high-level overview of an effective change management methodology:

1.Prepare for Change

You should perform a risk analysis and assess your organizational readiness. This involves identifying the characteristics of change as well as organizational attributes, such as culture and leadership style. These assessments set the stage for developing a change management strategy roadmap, which includes a proposed change management team as well as a sponsorship model.

Executive sponsorship is key for project success. Executive sponsors should secure resources for the project team, encourage manager buy-in and educate employees about upcoming changes.

2. Manage Change

Following your change management roadmap, you can develop a communications plan, resistance management plan and training plan. A communications plan involves a stakeholder assessment and an outline of key messages. When developing a training plan, you should conduct a needs assessment and gap analysis, then document your business requirements.

Employees and executives have different perspectives on change. While the executive might see process efficiency and cost savings, the employee sees new required skills, changes to their work environment and a possible loss of status. That’s why you need a change management methodology that addresses communication, resistance management and training.

3. Reinforce Change

You should gather feedback from employees to assess the results of change management activities. Identifying root causes and pockets of resistance will help you implement corrective action. If some of your changes are successful, you should celebrate these to ensure continued success.

Reducing Resistance to Change

Executives hear the word “change” and think of cost savings and efficiency gains. Employees hear the word “change” and think of additional responsibility and possible job loss. Unsurprisingly, employees almost always resist organizational change.

Employees may refuse to learn new processes, or they may speak negatively about the project amongst coworkers. This can slow down your digital transformation, and you might experience quality problems and reduced productivity. If employees don’t use your new software or follow new business processes, you won’t achieve the business benefits you expect.

One way to reduce resistance to change is to increase employee involvement. For example, employees can help brand the project. You can run a contest and ask them to submit potential project names and project logos.

You can also reduce resistance by answering key questions: Why are we changing? What are we changing? Who will be changing? Most importantly, you should answer the question, What’s in it for me? You should explain how employees will benefit from the project, not just how the organization will benefit.

Why are Most Change Efforts Unsuccessful?

Lack of Executive Sponsorship

Executives should demonstrate support for the digital transformation and remain visible throughout the project. They should also build a coalition of other sponsors.

Ignoring the “People Side” of Change

You may be changing processes and technology, but employees will need to change too. They will have new roles and responsibilities, and if they don’t embrace these, your change management initiative may fail.

Lack of Dedicated Resources

The number of project resources you will need depends on the nature of change, scope of change, geographical distribution and project phase. A lack of resources translates to a lack of ownership and accountability.

Ignoring Resistance to Change

You can identify resistance to change by seeking feedback through meetings, interviews and focus groups.

No Communications Plan

Your plan should outline messaging, timing and audience. Typically, senior leadership and project leads will deliver these messages, which will be unique to each audience and each project phase.

Success of Change Management

The ideal change management methodology depends on the scope of change. Digital transformation typically involves large-scale change that entails strong executive sponsorship, a targeted communications plan and a large team of dedicated resources.

Why Cybersecurity Requires a Change Management Plan

Why Cybersecurity Requires a Change Management Plan

Some organizations believe the right technology and processes are all they need for strong cybersecurity. However, they are overlooking their strongest defense: their people.

Hackers know that employees are the quickest and easiest route to company data. Naturally, everyone in your organization should be responsible for protecting this data. But, how can employees be vigilant if they don’t know what to look for? It’s your responsibility to prepare them for the inevitable phishing scam, ransomware attack or public wifi hack.

A Change Management Plan for Cybersecurity

An ERP implementation shouldn’t be the only time your organization considers improving its cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is a continuous battle that requires a long-term change management plan.

You can implement all the cybersecurity control frameworks you want, but your processes will become ineffective as soon as an employee clicks a phishing link. That’s why you need more than technical frameworks – you need clearly communicated best practices and recurrent training.

Why Employees Need Cybersecurity Knowledge

The “Old Ways” Are Easy

Imagine a world where you never need to change your passwords and you’re allowed to “work from home” at your nearest coffee shop. This is the world employees are leaving behind when they adopt new cybersecurity practices. This loss shouldn’t be treated lightly. Convincing employees to change familiar patterns will require compelling reasons. Your organization should communicate the importance of cybersecurity and emphasize what’s at stake in the event of a security breach.

SAP vs. Oracle Case Study

SAP and Oracle both invest heavily in cloud technology. However, our client was skeptical about cloud scalability and unsure if the products were mature and proven.

Cyber Safety is a Habit

Annual trainings aren’t enough. As technology grows in sophistication so do the techniques for hacking it. New vulnerabilities are created daily, and employees need to learn to recognize potential threats in all shapes and forms. Your organization should develop a continuous training plan addressing the different types of attacks each department might encounter. Some organizations go so far as to conduct simulated cyberattacks, so employees can learn from their mistakes – which is often the best form of learning.

Access Points are Numerous

The increased use of mobile devices and cloud technology presents a new challenge for organizations trying to secure company data. Employees can now access this data from anywhere via their mobile phones, which are vulnerable to mobile malware and infected apps, not to mention Wi-Fi hacking. However, it’s not difficult to equip employees with the knowledge necessary to protect their devices. Your organization should gain executive support for a cybersecurity change management plan, so you can implement training and communication initiatives that result in long-term behavior changes.

A Few Notes About Communication

Communicating with employees about cybersecurity is no different than communicating with employees about an ERP implementation. Both require strong leadership that fosters trust and two-way communication. Both entail precise timing and personalization. Both necessitate an organizational change management team with defined roles and responsibilities.

Why Organizational Change is so Difficult (According to Science)

Why Organizational Change is so Difficult (According to Science)

If you dread organizational change, you are not alone. Any type of work-related change, regardless of how large or small, is typically met with resistance. These sentiments are universal and affect everyone from part-time employees to C-level executives. Why? Because it’s built into our biology.

Here’s what you need to know about the science of change resistance:

1. We are creatures of habit

Researchers have determined that humans are most comfortable when involved in “high levels of repetitive activities within the same context day after day.” (1) Any deviation from this routine can be difficult to manage. This is true even when changes may be beneficial.

2. Change makes us feel stressed and overwhelmed

Change, particularly in the workplace, can trigger anxiety. New job responsibilities may make employees feel incompetent. As they worry about their job performance, they become increasingly fearful of organizational change. This is especially true for long-time employees who’ve been following particular business processes for a very long time.

SAP vs. Oracle Case Study

SAP and Oracle both invest heavily in cloud technology. However, our client was skeptical about cloud scalability and unsure if the products were mature and proven.

3. We hunger for certainty

The human brain yearns for certainty, and makes every effort to avoid uncertainty. Organizational change can cause employees to feel uncertain about their job security. Could process automation make their position obsolete?

4. We know that change can result in unforeseen problems

In everyday life, humans instinctively anticipate negative outcomes, regardless of how unlikely they may be. It goes without saying that the fear of negative outcomes leads to change resistance. What if an employee was greeted on Monday morning with the news that their supervisor was replaced by someone new? This may be good news if the old supervisor was a poor manager, but the employee may still focus on the negatives.

It’s impossible to deny that organizational change is difficult, even when changes are beneficial. Humans are wired to fear change, which is why organizational change management consultants exist.

Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities of ERP in Developing Countries

Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities of ERP in Developing Countries

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have proved effective in streamlining business processes in many highly urbanized countries. The enhancements it brings to organizations like private institutions and even governments are significant, especially in terms of delivering better customer service. By integrating data systems from various departments and subsections of an organization, ERP systems save money and improve decision-making time.

The benefits of ERP implementation are readily apparent in most developed countries, even though it’s not without its own challenges. For developing countries, however, those challenges appear steeper by comparison.

Addressing Complexities and Habits

ERP is fundamentally complex for a single person to grasp. Opting to use ERP in an organization means a massive overhaul in existing processes and habits to adopt wholly new ones. If that sounds hard, think of how people struggle when they try to quit smoking, or pledge to start a grueling exercise regimen. It’s often not a pretty picture, and people are likely to give up halfway and fall back to old habits. Now imagine doing that with hundreds or thousands of people, and we’re looking at a tremendous organizational change management challenge.

SAP vs. Oracle Case Study

SAP and Oracle both invest heavily in cloud technology. However, our client was skeptical about cloud scalability and unsure if the products were mature and proven.

Adapting to New Systems

Compounding the challenge for developing countries is a particular set of factors unique to their setting. The most prominent of these key challenges is the inherent design of ERP systems as a product catering to western audiences. ERP’s implementation strategies were developed with western firms in mind, which makes their adoption in a market like India an exercise in futility.

Another key factor is the number of iterations that ERP systems embedded in western companies have undergone since its inception. This gives developed countries better capabilities and flexibility in adapting to changes. For developing nations with relatively new enterprises, tackling such changes that come with ERP can be much tougher.

Legacy systems like spreadsheet software (or even pencil and paper) often get in the way of implementing ERP. In relation to the previous points, it can be hard to pry old systems away from people who have been using them for years, even if it means replacing them with more efficient ones. Humans are creatures of habit, and resistance to change is quite natural especially in business settings.

Crucially, ERP stakeholders seek simplicity most of all. If we’re proposing increased efficiency in an organization’s work processes, an IT approach (as most ERP solutions are nowadays) is bound to reduce interest due to the perceived complications it brings in terms of usability, features, etc.

Using ERP Competencies to their Advantage

This doesn’t mean that ERP can never work with businesses in developing countries. These systems have plenty of promise when utilizing its core competencies. One study observed how a company in Asia used an ERP system to reduce ideation-to-implementation time, slash operational costs by 40%, accurately identify planning errors, and use the centralized data system to generate reports and devise unified strategies.

A Solution in the Cloud

The advent of cloud computing brought a new dimension and agility to ERP solutions. Using cloud-based ERP systems ensures businesses with more savings in operational costs, constant and timely system updates, and faster deployment compared to on-site ERP systems. The continuous expansion of internet access across the world makes it even easier for a business in any part of the world to acquire cloud-based ERP.

We can therefore infer that ERP systems have tremendous potential in accelerating progress in developing countries by introducing their local enterprise to the opportunities offered by such systems.

This is precisely the reason why experienced independent ERP consultants like Panorama Consulting exist: to provide expert insight on ERP systems that suit an organization’s requirements and conditions, be they infrastructure- or location-wise. Contact us today, and let’s work together on an ERP solution to optimize your burgeoning business for growth.

You Give Change a Bad Name: 5 Ways to Overcome Organizational Change Management Fraud

You Give Change a Bad Name: 5 Ways to Overcome Organizational Change Management Fraud

There’s a reason why some companies have a gag reflex to the term organizational change management. It’s because most change initiatives fail.

Organizational change management is one of the most misunderstood, nebulous, and ignored terms in the world of digital transformation and ERP implementation initiatives. For some:

  • It describes “touchy feely” activities that don’t deliver measurable business value;
  • Others have no idea what the term means, or maybe it’s nebulous at best;
  • It’s deemed noncritical, thus the choice to ignore it becomes an option;
  • Understand it, but don’t realize the direct correlation to ERP implementation success;
  • Chop it out of an ERP plan, with the goal of saving time or money;
  • Confuse it with new software training (it’s much bigger than just training).

Additionally, most ERP consultants have very myopic views of organizational change. Most are more comfortable with activities like software selection etc., it’s little wonder that organizational change has a severe perception problem, too many incomplete, mismanaged, or missing change management initiatives have led to implementation delays or failures, which has resulted in the aforementioned severe perception problem.

I was having trouble reconciling perception with reality, so I recently posed a hotly debated question on LinkedIn: since the term organizational change management leaves a bad taste in many people’s mouths, what are some alternative, more descriptive terms? I received some good suggestions in the comment thread, such as workflow alignment, people enablement, and stakeholder management. Others suggested that the name shouldn’t be changed since resistance to the term is a form of resistance to change in and of itself. Others called me out for allegedly not being enough of a supporter of organizational change.

After engaging in this online discourse, I realized that I was missing the bigger picture. Rather than trying to find a better name for organizational change, I realized that I needed to focus on defining what organizational change management is and should be – rather than relying on people’s perceptions.

Stakeholder Management

There’s usually someone at the executive or management level who isn’t on board with the changes. You may not win over everyone, but you should be able to convert most. For extreme resistors, your focus should be on neutralizing their negative impact on the change initiative(s). This can be accomplished by identifying key stakeholders and implementing a targeted plan to engage and “sell” them on the importance of the changes. Ensure there are solid lines of two-way communication with the key players within your organization. This might include the need to get your CIO to buy in. Some CIOs may be focused intently on the technical vision for the ERP project, to the detriment of the path that must happen to ensure success.

SAP vs. Oracle Case Study

SAP and Oracle both invest heavily in cloud technology. However, our client was skeptical about cloud scalability and unsure if the products were mature and proven.

Business Process Change Impact

Business process management and change efforts are arguably the most important part of any digital transformation. I’m not talking about the way employees enter information into the system. Instead, I’m referring to the higher-level business process changes, as well as changes to people’s roles and responsibilities. How well do your newly defined processes meld with the new software? These changes can add up to death by a thousand cuts, so it’s important to ensure that the change impacts have been clearly defined and repeatedly vetted with employees. It’s harder and more time consuming than it sounds.

Employee Communications and Training

Everyone wants to know what the new system will mean to them personally. They want to know how their jobs are going to change. Some may fear being laid off, so address this early and spot on. They want to know what’s going to happen to that set of spreadsheets that only they understand, because they created them. Once specific processes and job changes have been identified, it is important to roll them out through a series of multi-channel employee communications. And these communications shouldn’t wait until training – they should start months before. A best practice is to vary your types of communication. Don’t rely on any one communication method, e.g. anticipate that some employees won’t read the emails.

Benefits Realization

Organizational change management shouldn’t just be a “touchy feely” work stream in your project. It should instead deliver measurable business value. Otherwise, it will always be perceived by some as a nice-to-have rather than a critical component of your project. Make sure that your organizational change activities all tie back to measurable business benefits, performance metrics, and key performance indicators. This is the best way to get executive attention and ensure that the entire project delivers a positive return on investment.

Organizational Readiness

You and your team will probably feel ready for the changes well before the rest of your employee base. Rather than relying on your gut to gauge whether or not your people are accepting the necessary changes, you need objective and quantifiable means of measuring employee readiness. This should be done via a series of online surveys and focus groups multiple times throughout your project so you can evaluate how the organizational change needle is moving. It will also identify ongoing pockets of resistance that should be addressed before going-live. Only flip the switch on the new system once the organization is ready for the changes.

Misunderstood perceptions of organizational change management won’t change overnight, but doing it and doing it right will ensure that it is well received within your organization.

If all of this sounds overwhelming, there are independent consultants like Panorama that know how to execute and facilitate comprehensive organizational change management efforts. An outside consultant can also be an effective way at getting employees to open up about their true feelings about the upcoming changes.