Organizational change management is the process of preparing and equipping your workforce for what lies ahead. Unless your workforce is ready to embrace an upcoming change, even the best-planned projects could fail to live up to their potential.
Recognizing the importance of change management is only the first step. The next step is convincing decision-makers of its importance.
Executive buy-in is required to ensure that change management is a key part of your ERP project plan. To secure this buy-in, you’ll need to build a change management business case.
Today, we’re sharing what this business case should include and how to create it.
What is a Change Management Business Case?
A change management business case is a formal document that explains the reason why change management is needed within a particular project.
In addition to addressing the need for change management, it also anticipates and responds to common objections.
The main goal? To convince key decision-makers to invest in change management and ensure it remains a priority throughout the project.
Change Management Case Study
6 Tips for Building a Change Management Business Case
1. Be Specific
An effective change management business case both convinces and clarifies. You not only want executives to understand why this success factor is important, but you also want to clear up any confusion.
Though change management is critical, it’s often misunderstood, especially in the C-suite. A few of the most common questions surrounding organizational change management include:
- What does it really mean in a project?
- What real value does it create?
- Is there a concrete methodology to follow?
As you build your business case, keep these questions top of mind. The answers and details you provide should help decision-makers feel confident about investing in this part of the project.
2. Define the Task and the Reasoning
At its core, a business case proposes a project or task. In this case, your task is to include a structured change management approach in your upcoming ERP implementation or digital transformation.
Once you’ve defined this, the next step is to provide the reasoning behind it. Why is organizational change management necessary? Why do you want to initiate it now?
From your business case, executives should be able to understand that successfully managing the people side of change will directly impact project success. In other words, it will generate long-term value and help you derive real ERP business benefits.
3. Consider Your Audience
To achieve its goal, a change management business case should be tailored to the interests of its readers. Who are you preparing this document for, and what are their main objectives?
Usually, your audience will be key decision-makers who can play an active role in generating support, interest, and funds for the change management process. This may include senior-level executives, as well as project leaders and project managers.
4. Include Actionable Next Steps
An open-ended business case might read well, but ultimately leaves your audience unclear on how to proceed.
We recommend plainly stating the goals you’re trying to achieve and the level of support you’re seeking. Make it clear that you require:
- A commitment to focus on change management throughout the project
- Adequate funding and resources
5. Follow a Structure
Resist the urge to go off-the-cuff and wax poetic in your change management business case. Your points will be better received and understood if they’re well-organized and follow a logical structure.
While each organization may have its own points to include, there are eight main sections to include:
- Executive summary
- Problem statement
- Description of the project
- Description of the solution
- Cost-benefit analysis
- Implementation timeline
- Key assumptions and risk assessment
- Conclusions and recommendations
6. Focus on Concrete Value
The goal of your change management business case is to demonstrate not only how change management should be applied, but to explain the specific business benefits it will bring and the risks your company could incur by overlooking it.
The wording you use matters, and it’s important to use actionable language that will resonate with your readers.
For example, the project and solution descriptions may be high-level, but they should go into greater detail concerning the concrete parts of the process. Here, you’ll describe the milestones and workstreams you’ll use to track change management activities. You’ll also outline the change management metrics you’ll use to measure its success.
To build credibility, we recommend mapping change milestones to ones that already exist in the project, such as the kickoff and go-live dates. This can help executives more clearly understand how change management fits into the current timeline.
It also helps establish change management as a real and important part of the project, rather than a “soft” ideal that won’t deliver much value.
Making the Case for Change Management
When you overlook organizational change management, it’s common to experience change resistance and pushback. A change management business case is the key to securing the funding and support to mitigate this resistance.
Our change management consultants can help you convince executives that employees need frequent and personalized communication and support in order to successfully adopt new processes and technology. Contact us below for a free consultation.