Despite the impact of Covid-19 and resulting changes that many organizations now face within their business processes, the process of managing change and supporting adoption still starts and ends in the same place, as it always has.

What is known as ‘change management’ really has two distinct phases, with five key components in each: pre first go live (change management) and post go live (adoption and embedding).

This first of our better business outcomes blog series explores this first phase and the five key steps for successful change management.

What is meant by ‘change management’?

Change management is focused on the activities that need to take place in order to get people ready for changing how they work.  This begins at the outset of your project and continues up to your first go live or the beginning of a pilot phase.

Your change management plan should start even before  the very beginning of the project at the business case stage and last until your first go live.  Depending on how your project is structured, this may be a full organizational deployment or a targeted pilot.

What does a successful source-to-pay change management project look like?

Step One – Understanding how we will measure success and the vision for the future

  • We often think we know how to do this however it’s never quite as straightforward as expected. In a Covid-19 world where many people work remotely, it’s more important than ever for our ‘destination’ to be simple and clear.  A favorite and simple approach is the use of OKRs (objectives and key results).
  • Ensure that the whole project team with cross functional representation from Procurement, Finance, IT and Business end users are educated on the outcomes required, the way in which you will work together and agree the principles to work by

Key take-aways:

  • Simplicity and clarity are more important than ever to keep people on track.
  • If you are not experienced at setting goals and a vision in this way, invest in expert help.

Step Two – Understanding who is affected and how

  • Personas – those who do the work. It’s important to use an approach, whereby the design and configuration of the solution is built to drive ease of use for each Persona, to be able to map out what happens in the real world, not what the policy or process says should happen, and to understand the pain points and priorities of these groups.  Also mapping out in detail, the processes they will need to follow and sense-checking this with them. This will uncover a variety of useful information such as exceptions and habits that may need to be different in the future.
  • Stakeholders – consider how a changed process or available data may impact the leadership and management of the organization. What information and involvement are they going to require? In a Covid-19 world, understanding how stakeholders will access information and the best way to manage their conversation preferences when you are not available ‘in person’ is vital.

Key take-aways:

  • Ensure you have a reliable conference call platform to conduct interviews and process observations.
  • Create some simple visuals to help the end-user understand what you need from them as part of the persona process as well as understand how important they are to the successful adoption of the new way of working.
  • Establish ways in which you can feed information back into the design team to ensure that the valuable information you gain about real world situations is considered in the design – in a Covid-19 environment these need to be clearly recorded and shared.

Step Three – Engagement events

  • An essential part of change management activity, a broad range of events will be required and in your persona work, investigation should be done to understand the preferences of persona groups, for example:
    • Focus groups
    • Persona based solution walk throughs
    • Videos
    • Listening sessions
    • Ask the expert
    • Blogs, newsletters or intranet/online content

Key take-aways:

  • In today’s environment, it is important that information shared is visually striking and memorable.
  • Make it interactive with whiteboards, polls and breakout rooms to vary channel and types of engagement. This can really make a difference and ensure you are getting the most from the sessions.

Step Four – Training

  • Pre Covid-19, many organisations took a blended approach to training, using a combination of face-to-face sessions and online learning with supporting peer-to-peer groups for sharing experiences. The removal of face-to-face training has brought challenges around engagement, additional support and how to spread training and knowledge transfer over a longer period whilst maintaining momentum.

Key take-aways:

  • Short interactive sessions, no longer than an hour for all Personas whether that be shoppers or category managers
  • Increased design time for planning the above, and additional time planned for gaining stakeholder buy-in to approach
  • ‘Always on’ support – excelerateds2p provides exercises and access to ‘support rooms’ for end-users to dial into when they needed support from experts. In addition, weekly surgery sessions prove beneficial for a wider audience to discuss experiences.
  • A specific supplier onboarding plan for the ‘new normal’ way of working and thinking. Ensure the right people inside the organisation are included in stakeholder engagement early on. They need to become a sponsor of your message but may become a detractor if not involved.

Step Five – Your transition plan

  • Often left to the last minute, and with effort to design and plan underestimated, your transition structure and plan will soon become the most important part of your project. It’s the engine of what will make everything work when the project team are no longer around
  • In a Covid-19 world, it is recommended to start your plan early – prior to your first go live.

Key take-aways:

  • Consider who will perform the various problem solving, continuous improvement, support and technical expertise after the project team have finished.
  • Ensure that you now only transfer the knowledge required to these individual roles, but also that adoption project roles stay in place to shadow people whilst they build confidence in these roles.
  • Ensure your change network is agreed on next steps in becoming an integral part of a support and promotion community by exploring ways they can reach people, in a remote environment.

Successful change management is only the first phase

Early change management with an adoption and persona centric approach means that’s this is at the heart of the project from the very beginning driving adoption through ease of use and engagement.

Our upcoming blog will be the second in the better business outcomes blog series and will explore the next phase ‘adoption and embedding’. Look out for this blog on our website and social pages.

Ready to discuss change and adoption further? Request a health check with one of our specialists.