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If you are an IT Manager and struggling with getting the solutions, you deliver or support, embraced by business, you need to read this blog. Here I’ve explained the Change Management function in light of my hands-on experience of managing variety of projects and supporting impacted groups of people in adopting the new solutions. Even though its context is SAP, you’ll find it equally useful to understand the impact different IT Solutions bring to an organization and how different groups of people react. At the end I also have shared some tips on anticipating and managing the resistance.

1. Typical day-to-day support and Ad-Hoc Change Requests

An organization acquires an IT Solution to run its business better. The end-users who run its different components sometime can’t perform certain actions within the solution and as such need support. Depending on the complexity of the business processes, the Technical Support of the solution is either provided by an in-house team or is outsourced to some third-party vendor. Regardless of the support model, tickets are raised by the end-users and resoled by the technical team.

If the support is limited to troubleshooting, both the business and technical people know what they are supposed to do, in given circumstances. However, if there is a change in the business itself, the corresponding solution design have to be changed as well. To do so, Change Requests are raised and managed to implement the required solution. Documentation of Change Requests – an element of a Change Control Procedure explains the minimum requirements you need to consider while requesting changes in existing solution.

2. Changes in Systems, Processes, Organization and Roles

Any change in a system or its functionality, which is usually triggered through the change in business, requires corresponding processes to be redesigned which certainly impact the organization and its roles. Knowing and doing how to do the (new / changed) work, after the change is introduced, isn’t easy, at least initially. The impacted people need to know what exactly they are supposed to do as well as they require support to handle issues caused by the change.

The post-implementation support is often understood differently than it is actually. The business people think their only role is to handle existing solution, while the technical team is focused on the part of the solution they have implemented. Differentiating between who is going to do what and how is often misunderstood and therefore requires clarification. Are they serious? Yes, they are! Expectations of SAP Users from SAP Consultants in an Organization explains the situation briefly thus helping you in understanding the roles better.

3. Stakeholders: Change Impact and Reactions

A single project, delivering a specific solution, sometimes has multiple stakeholders, the end-users being one of them. Each of the groups of people have different impact and therefore they react to changes differently. Categorizing such people in different groups is important to know their individual needs and to help them accordingly. Any reaction which you may observe by certain group may have different background and therefore you may need to understand the complete picture.

To ensure you respond to the anticipated reactions in time, you have to understand the views and viewpoints of each type of stakeholders. For instance, an HR Manager’s view (due to his viewpoint i.e. HR function) will vary from that of the Finance Manager’s view, therefore both roles will react to an ERP Solution differently.

4. Actions to Convert Resistance to Acceptance

Generally the resistance toward a change in system or processes is ultimately accepted, but after some time. However, the people have to be facilitated since beginning to have smooth migration from old to new situation. There are some Change Management approaches which support the variety of transitions, systems and processes. So if you use any of the tested methodologies, you can ensure convert the resistance to acceptance, easily.

I have used the ADKAR model of Prosci to establish the Change Management function at my current organization and now managing the individual activities to align SAP Support with business needs. The Change Management Lessons Learned in a Year and on Different Projects explains my journey of setting-up and maintaining the practice in SAP Context. Have a read to know how the approach support technical teams in managing IT related changes.

At the end,

I’ll recommend you to read From Resistance to Acceptance and Adoption, understanding the journey where I’ve described some insights which may help you in anticipating and managing certain type of changes.