Many organisations reach a crucial point in their lifecycle when there is a real need for change. There can be many factors that drive this – a business system upgrade, business process reengineering, a new acquisition or being a start-up as part of a divestment or carve out. Or it may just be that it’s become clear that current processes are inefficient or rely too much on manual workarounds. Here we consider the need for change management when new business systems are to be implemented.
Are you ready for change in your business?
Whether such changes are brought about by design or by chance, their implementation needs to be carefully managed and coordinated to achieve success without negatively impacting on core business operations.
Any such business or IT transformation project needs first to assess existing operations and procedures from both a functional and technical perspective, to determine what works well, what is inefficient and needs to be improved, along with an analysis of the feasibility of and return on investment required to support such changes.
It is important to understand the overall impact of a transformation project as it touches most, if not all, areas of a business but in addition might also include external stakeholders such as third parties and multiple solution delivery partners in some capacity.
How can this change be managed most effectively?
There is a distinct advantage of having an in-house resource who can actively lead or participate in a transformation project, as you immediately have a key stakeholder and/or subject matter expert forming part of your core project delivery team. However, these such team members are also usually critical to the business and so are more than likely already heavily consumed in their day-to-day roles.
In our experience, outsourcing the management of change to Gradient has proved to be successful in addressing the challenge for clients who want to transform but find themselves restricted by business or resource conflicts. Our Project Managers can take full responsibility for delivering your transformation project thus enabling you to remain focused on your core business operations which in turn means minimal disruption as the project progresses.
Where can a Gradient Project Manager help in your transformation?
Some of the key benefits you gain by outsourcing your project management are as follows:
- Empowerment whereby the Project Manager is advocated to make informed business decisions on behalf of the project sponsors which can alleviate roadblocks and maintain project momentum.
- Project Managers who will lead/manage the whole project lifecycle to deliver against agreed plans and negotiate the challenges presented.
- Use of a formal process based on our own APEX© Methodology or a preferred methodology/ framework selected by you or your chosen solution delivery partner.
- Based on our 25 year track record and extensive project management expertise, we can manage and deliver proactively, having encountered the associated highs and pitfalls of numerous project implementations.
- Immediate access to a knowledge base of project management skills and implementation consultancy and expertise spanning various business sectors.
- Strong stakeholder management to ensure all key internal and external stakeholders are engaged and kept informed throughout the project lifecycle.
- Detailed project planning based on the agreed project scope to effectively manage and communicate all assigned resources and planned tasks.
- A Project Initiation Document to clarify how project information will be shared along with the associated tools and mechanisms to be used (e.g. reports, meetings, project documentation repository alongside SharePoint, Teams, etc.)
- Regular project review and steering committee meetings
- Careful internal and external budgeting and financial management to ensure the project stays within the agreed budget and scope whilst ensuring ongoing spend is accurately forecast.
- Project governance using RAID logs (Risks, Actions, Issues and Decisions) to capture, resolve and mitigate items that could potentially negatively impact overall progress.
- Change Management – essential to the overall success of transformation projects to ensure the project team become strong advocates for change.
And after the cutover from old to new?
Once the new system is live, the project will typically move to a phase of stabilisation as any final issues are resolved and the first month end is successfully completed. Our Project Manager will then develop a further plan for handover from the project team into “Business as Usual”. This might involve training up an existing internal support team or the setup of a new Help Desk team through knowledge transfer of the delivered solution from the project delivery team. In addition, there may be final definition and then clear communication to all users of any new Standard Operating Procedures.
At this stage, the data gathered by the support function can also provide real world feedback to measure the overall success of the implementation. Based on this, a decision can be made as to whether there are still any critical issues to resolve or if formal project closure activities can then begin. In some cases, this might also be a decision to start work on any phase two activities which were deferred from phase one of the implementation.
Our Project Manager does not walk away at this stage, but ensures you have the appropriate knowledge within your business to make best use of the new system to maximise your return on investment and efficiency gains. This may lead to further engagement with business leads and other key stakeholders to capture additional requirements by way of encouraging continuous business improvement.
If you are interested in how we can support you with your project, then why not get in touch?