As more government entities turn to ERP as a viable way to improve services and lower costs, ERP implementations are becoming increasingly common. However, they aren’t always a success.

While technical problems can contribute, it’s the people and processes behind the new technology that typically lead to ERP failure. In fact, public sector organizations often overlook the human side of implementations and dedicate minimal focus to organizational change management (OCM). What is change management? This refers to the actions required to manage the “people side” of change and should not be overlooked.

Successful change management in government looks much like it does in commercial businesses. However, there are unique considerations that the public sector must keep in mind.

Common Challenges in Public Sector OCM​

There are several reasons that OCM is more difficult in the public sector than the private sector:

  • Lack of operational layer/superior oversight to enforce accountability
  • Organizational siloes are more common
  • Fewer merit-based rewards and incentives

For the above reasons and many others, public sector organizations tend to bypass many critical change management activities. Instead, they launch right into the technical side of the implementation, which can be a recipe for disaster. 

Navigating Change with Rick & Christi

Watch these short and sweet videos to learn about change management from the experts! The series features Rick Platz and Christi Trinder from Panorama’s change management team.

The Purpose of OCM in Government

In the private sector, initial conversations about ERP software primarily revolve around profit. However, in the public sector, the focus is more on how ERP can be used to improve services that benefit citizens. From law enforcement to education, the main talking point is how taxpayer dollars can be put to the best use.

These days, citizens expect their government to deliver the same value and level of service that their favorite commercial brands offer. As such, many government leaders are focusing on creating a cost-conscious culture of improvement and engaging with citizens in real, meaningful ways.

Organizational change management is the best way to ensure that your government ERP implementation achieves these aims.

Benefits of OCM in Public Sector ERP Projects

It’s easy to understand why OCM might be difficult to initiate in a public sector ERP project. However, this is an essential component that can lead to faster system adoption and faster benefits realization. 

More specifically, an effective change management plan can help public sector teams ensure:

  • A smaller learning curve
  • Improved productivity
  • Employee retention (especially top performers)
  • Lower time to recoup the cost of the initial investment
  • Proactive risk identification and management

Change Management in Government: 3 Overlooked Success Factors

1. Find Executive-Level Sponsors​

Executive buy-in and involvement can make or break an ERP software implementation. We recommend identifying executives who will be the most likely to demonstrate excitement around the change and appointing them as project sponsors. 

2. Explain the Change and Communicate Milestones

Often, employee resistance is rooted in uncertainty. You can head this off at the pass by clearly explaining the change as soon as possible. Let your public sector employees know how the new ERP system will affect their workflows, as well as what they can expect moving forward. 

In terms of ongoing updates, most employees prefer brief, incremental updates over lengthy, sporadic ones. These updates should focus on milestones or successes throughout every stage of implementation.  

3. Listen to Feedback​

If employees raise concerns or pain points, don’t dismiss them. Instead, be responsive and look for ways to offer a solution. 

As you do so, make sure you’re still in alignment with project goals. Otherwise, you could enter the land of scope creep, which can cause costs to skyrocket and timelines to blur into infinity. 

Optimizing OCM in the Public Sector​

An ERP project can radically transform the way a public sector organization operates. However, true success will only happen when the people behind the new technology fully embrace it.

Change management in government might be more challenging than private sector change management, but it’s no less important. Our team of ERP consultants can help you overcome the hurdles you might face when seeking buy-in and involvement. Request a free consultation below to learn more.

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