Following on from the first blog in our better business outcomes series, discussing the five key steps for successful change management, our next blog will explore the second phase of change management known as ‘adoption and embedding’.

What is meant by ‘adoption and embedding’?
Adoption and embedding is focused on the period after you first go live with all or part of your new systems and technology (whether that be a big bang implementation or a smaller pilot phase) and explores how the business as usual manage the transition from old habits and ways of working to the newly defined systems and processes designed in your project.

Depending on the organization and its change resilience, intensive support will be required for the first 3-12 months and additional skill sets will be necessary with support beyond that of your normal business and usual teams.

What considerations are important for successful adoption?

1. Adoption begins now

  • Understand that no matter how good your design process, you can never understand all the possible computations of real-world processes.
  • Expect to need to review queries and process complications and make changes accordingly. Going back to your transition plan, make sure you have the resources and support model in place to do this.
  • Your operating model needs to be right in order to support this in the right way and it is worth considering having a S2P specialist partner to support/shadow your administration and change team post go live for a number of months.

Key take-aways:

  • In a Covid-19 world – you may need to be more creative about the way in which this information is gathered, reviewed and socialised – making use of remote tools, instant messaging, and apps such as teams.
  • Establish an effective route for playing back to personas and stakeholders what has changed – this often needs to be a blend of ‘in-person’ sessions on conference calls and news updates via an email newsletter or intranet function.
  1. Regular measurement
  • Go back to your goals and vision (or OKRs if you have used them) and measure, measure, measure. For example, if you only have 60% of indirect spend on catalogues and want 85% – help it drive the action your support team needs to take.
  • Explore what new data may have arisen from new ways of working and agree, with open and explorative minds, what this data means and what the possible responses to it could be e.g. length of time to get approval on a PO or a contract.

Key take-aways

  • You can only measure the KPIs that you have agreed, so it is important that you return to your business case to check what they were.
  • New technology will no doubt give you more data points than you had before – it is important to understand and explore how these can be used in your transformation journey and in some cases, prepare stakeholders for data they may not have been aware of before.
  1. Stakeholder visibility
  • Plan how you will continue your stakeholder engagement long term – who will be managed and how/how often.
  • Make sure that you are paying attention to your sponsors and detractors – and manage them accordingly.
  • Share quick wins and success stories, but also share challenges and how they’ve been overcome, in order to help build confidence in your ability to manage change long term.

Key take-aways

  • Stakeholder engagement is one of the single biggest influences on successful transformation. In a world where there is so much change, ensuring that they support your transformation is not always an easy job and should not be underestimated.
  1. Spot the ‘tiny habits’ and grow them
  • Re-engage with your end-user personas and spot what habits are supporting adoption of new ways of working.
    • Example: A sourcing manager who has used the project communication messages to have more regular catch ups with key business stakeholders, is now getting earlier engagement and earlier recording of opportunities – how do you encourage tiny habits like that in others?
  • Spot the tiny habits that are getting in the way of adoption.
    • Example: An AP employee continues to circumvent the system by finding a way to get a paper invoice into the system rather than using the supplier network. Take some time to explore why this is happening with the user and what they feel the benefit is, then see if you can get their agreement to cultivate a new habit. You will find a wealth of valuable information during this process that you can build into your long-term stakeholder planning and continuous improvement.

Key take-aways

  • Understand that sometimes it’s a small action or conversation that sets someone on the right track – not all change management consists of ‘big plans’ and proposals.
  • Sometimes individuals will be so used to doing something in a certain way that they won’t even realise it is not in line with new ways of working. Help them to understand why it is important to change too – this will lead to long term buy-in and credibility for your transformation programme.
  1. Continuous Improvement
  • With cloud technology will come regular releases, so it is important to ensure that you work with your software provider and/or implementation partner to establish ways of understanding and testing releases.
  • Help your end-users understand how to provide feedback on improvements and welcome their collaboration – feeling involved is a key part of long-term adoption.
  • Set a new vision and new OKRs – what’s the next stage of your S2P evolution? Change is constant and if you don’t plan for it, it will happen to you by accident.

Key take-aways

  • Although you’ve spent several months getting to go live, some people will not be confident straight away and you need to expect to have expert support for anywhere between 3-12 months after go live. This will mean you can efficiently tackle any optimisation change and retain credibility of the project.
  • In a Covid-19 environment, it may take a little longer to get everyone on board at the same time so plan well in advance for the operating model you need. In particular, with regards to cloud releases that will open up all sorts of development opportunities, as well as requiring change management planning for your end-users.

Change management and adoption in the long term

Distilling ‘achieving adoption’ down into two phases helps you to think about what needs to be done both before and after go live, and the key strategic activities needed in each that will always ensure you are on the right path.

It is also important to consider how Covid-19 may affect change management and adoption long-term. Our third blog in the better business outcomes blog series will explore the future of source-to-pay change management projects. Look out for this blog next week. 

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