As your organization builds its roadmap for the future, are you planning to create new business models or implement new enterprise software? If so, have you given much thought to the human side of these initiatives?

In other words, do you understand the importance of change management in digital transformation?

By preparing your workforce now, you can facilitate a smoother transition when it’s time to go live with your new systems. Today, we’re sharing why change management is important and the role it plays in large-scale initiatives.

Understanding Large-Scale Change

Some business changes are small and only affect a handful of individuals. Then, there are changes that dramatically affect the entire structure of your enterprise and everyone who works within it. 

These large-scale changes disrupt the everyday processes that your employees have grown accustomed to. Such changes fundamentally alter the culture and mindset of the organization.

If you’ve ever ushered your employees through an ERP implementation, you know that adopting new technology can be overwhelming for employees. Imagine this same scenario but with the added challenge of adopting a new business model.

That’s digital transformation, in a nutshell. 

While the results can be incredible, there may be a few bumps in the road. Often, those bumps come in the form of confused or disgruntled employees who are unwilling to go along with the effort. 

This is where organizational change management (OCM) comes in. Change management in an ERP implementation is a set of tools and techniques for accelerating user adoption and mitigating resistance. These same tools and techniques can be applied in a digital transformation, as well.

ERP Training Plan Success Story

We helped this manufacturer implement an ERP training strategy to increase user adoption of its new ERP system.

The Role of Change Management in Digital Transformation

A successful digital transformation requires a committed focus on OCM. Yet, what exactly is OCM and why is it so important?

In short, it encompasses all aspects of leading your workforce through a change. From communication and training to resistance management, there are many different aspects of change management, and they’re all essential, especially when you consider the scale of digital transformation.

This is the type of project where details should be transparent and not discussed solely in closed-door conference rooms. When this happens, employees are left feeling out of the loop. This ambiguity can lead to dissent.

From your perspective, the benefits of the change may be obvious. Yet, to others, it signifies learning new skills, changing comfortable workflows, and possibly even losing status. If even one employee has doubts, it won’t be long before that perspective makes its way through your entire workforce. 

By focusing on change management, business leaders can take steps to stop resistance before it snowballs. This requires clear communication from the beginning. It means keeping employees informed on what’s coming, why the change is necessary, and what benefits they can expect. 

When you’re transparent with employees, there’s less room for gossip to brew. Further, building trust between your C-suite and employees makes it easier to introduce even more new technology down the road. 

The following three components are essential to successful change management:

1. Prepare for Change

You should develop a change management strategy before the digital transformation even begins. 

To do so, start by performing a risk analysis and an organizational readiness assessment. 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, which includes a sponsorship roadmap. This will help you assign executive sponsors who can secure project resources, especially OCM resources. These sponsors should also serve as spokespeople when it comes to discussing upcoming changes. 

2. Manage Change

Once the transformation is underway, your focus will shift from preparing for change to managing it. This is when you start to execute your communication plan, resistance management plan, and training plan 

A communication plan outlines every key stakeholder and how they should receive key updates.

A resistance management plan outlines the steps you’ll take to identify resisters and mitigate their impact.

Finally, a training plan outlines how you’ll get end-users up to speed on the new systems. 

3. Reinforce Change

Change magenment doesn’t stop once a digital transformation is complete. It’s important to check back in with your employees by gathering feedback to assess whether your OCM efforts were successful and monitor for any signs of resistance.

If you still find employees who are unwilling to embrace the new technology, you should define corrective actions you can take to ensure the resistance doesn’t spread.

At the same time, you should celebrate the changes that were successful and the employees who adopted them.

Change Management is Key in Digital Transformation

As you prepare to initiate a large-scale change, OCM should be top of mind. By prioritizing change management in digital transformation, you can help your employees understand and embrace the transition that lies ahead. 

Focusing too much on the technical aspects of the project can leave you with a sophisticated ERP software and no one willing to use it.

Instead, you should ensure no project components are overlooked. This means taking the time to understand employee concerns, ensure organizational readiness, and train end-users.

Our change management consultants can help you create an OCM strategy that ensures digital transformation success. Request a free consultation below.

About the author

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Panorama Consulting Group is an independent, niche consulting firm specializing in business transformation and ERP system implementations for mid- to large-sized private- and public-sector organizations worldwide. One-hundred percent technology agnostic and independent of vendor affiliation, Panorama offers a phased, top-down strategic alignment approach and a bottom-up tactical approach, enabling each client to achieve its unique business transformation objectives by transforming its people, processes, technology, and data.

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