While many ERP system initiatives are intended to help replace outdated legacy systems, our clients typically leverage new systems to help them promote and prepare for growth. Whether their plans are to grow through organic growth, mergers, acquisitions or all of the above, our focus is on how to help our clients scale for future growth.
We are often called upon to leverage our innovative and effective organizational change management strategies as a way to fuel our clients’ future success. In other words, our clients are looking for much more than technological guidance – they are looking for ways to reengineer their entire organization in a way to fuel growth and bottom-line results.
Looking at our collective experience with successful ERP implementations, five organizational change management strategies have been particularly effective among our high-growth clients:
- Consider business process reengineering and organizational change management as critical path implementation activities. Let’s call a spade a spade: software configuration and testing will be relatively easy compared to the people and process aspects of your implementation. In fact, our 2014 ERP Report found that organizational change management issues were the most difficult aspects of implementing companies’ projects, while technology was the easiest. With that in mind, you will want to prepare accordingly by ensuring you devote plenty of time and resources to your project’s organizational change management and business process reengineering activities.
- Where applicable, take a “cookie cutter approach” to your business. While many have negative connotations of the term “cookie cutter,” companies that most effectively manage growth standardize their operations wherever they can as part of their ERP implementations. Back office functions such as HR, IT, finance, procurement and accounting are prime candidates for standardization, but even more customer-facing processes such as customer service, ecommerce and product lifecycle management can be more standardized than they are now. This standardization is critical to future growth, especially if you expect to seamlessly roll future acquisitions into your current operations. All of this suggests that you will want to devote plenty of your project’s time and resources to business process reengineering and organizational change management.
- Be as diligent rolling out organizational changes as you are with the technology. One of the key issues with ERP vendors, ERP consultants and other industry incumbents is that they are too focused on the technological aspects of implementation. If more organizations spent as much effort on organizational change management as they did on the technology, failure rates would be much less. Our 2014 ERP Report proves that just over 50% of organizations experience operational disruptions at the time of go-live, most of which could have been avoided by investing more in organizational change management. Avoid the temptation to try to save money by cutting organizational change management because it will ultimately cost you much more than you save.
- Develop a solid business case and benefits realization plan. You will not save money or make your operations more efficient unless you develop a business case that can be translated into a benefits realization plan used to manage actual business results. If you can’t achieve business benefits with your core business as is , you can’t expect the ERP system to enable effective growth in the future. The business benefits achieved by implementing new software, processes and organizational structures will multiply exponentially as you scale the company – but only if you diligently measure and manage those business benefits along the way.
- Leverage a comprehensive, proven and effective organizational change management strategy. The tired, outdated means of merely considering end-user training and some basic employee communications as part of an organizational change management plan have proven to cause failure. Most ERP consultants and system integrators don’t understand organizational change management – because it’s not what they do – it’s up to the implementing organization to find the right resources to help them through their entire organizational and business transformation. Focus on the key aspects of organizational change management if you want to truly prepare your organization for success and growth.
At the end of the day it’s vital to remember that technology installation, configuration and testing won’t determine your level of success. Organizational change management will ultimately determine how effective and successful your project is – and how well-prepared you are for future growth.
Learn more by downloading our 2014 ERP Report: Organizational Change Management.