The necessity of a strong, internal organizational change management (OCM) team is a critical component of ERP implementations that is often overlooked. An OCM team works to support your organization’s ERP project goals and provide the assurance needed for a successful ERP implementation. Without the contributions and encouragement of a solid OCM team, the ERP project team will most likely be overwhelmed by project fatigue and conflicting priorities.
An OCM team should be responsible for working with third-party consultants to develop communication and training strategies that address how end-users will be informed of process changes, how they will come to accept those changes and how they eventually will become comfortable using the new ERP system for their daily tasks.
Additionally, the team should lead and support all stakeholders that could be potentially affected by process changes brought by the new system. Following are five characteristics of a strong OCM team:
1. Strong OCM teams lead by example. The OCM team should not only communicate that the ERP implementation is a priority, they also should demonstrate this in their actions and decisions. There’s no doubt that the OCM team will have to make tough decisions, such as postponing or suspending another initiative outside of the ERP project. In order to make such decisions, the OCM team needs to understand the pressures of competing priorities and be able to communicate their concern to the project team.
2. Strong OCM teams recognize achievements. When the project team loses sight of priorities, reinforcing these priorities through recognition of spectacular effort goes a long way. The OCM team should regularly acknowledge and celebrate the work being done and sacrifices being made by the project team, SMEs and end-users.
3. Strong OCM teams promote accountability. Speaking to project team members about their responsibilities will reinforce their accountability to each other and to the organization as a whole. The OCM team should encourage team members to hold each other accountable and to voice disagreements constructively. Regular meetings are a great way to lay everything on the table for discussion and to encourage the project team to come to a consensus. Once a consensus is reached, the OCM team should ensure that everyone understands the shared responsibilities and reinforce overall expectations.
4. Strong OCM teams include change agents. Change agents may be a part of the OCM team or they may just serve as liaisons between the project team and end-users. Either way, change agents can redirect employees’ attention to what really matters – the goals and objectives of the organization as a whole and their individual role in the success of the implementation.
5. Strong OCM teams communicate effectively. Organizations should staff their OCM teams with strong verbal and written communicators. Team members should be empathetic, sales-oriented and persistent.
Time constraints and financial concerns persuade many organizations to push organizational change management to the backburner or underestimate how difficult change can be. The truth is, an on-time and on-budget ERP implementation is not necessarily a successful one unless it brings measurable business benefits, helps your organization achieve its long-term goals and reinforces the importance of both the individual and the organization as a whole.
Learn more about the importance of OCM teams by downloading our 2013 Organizational Change Management Report. Also, be sure to download our 2013 ERP Report to learn how organizations across the globe view the role of OCM in achieving ERP success.