Change Management Blog

9 Key Change Management Tips for Implementation Success

December 18, 2023

Talal I. El-Assaad: Specialized Change Management Expertise

Time to Read: 4 Min

Case Study: Experience Talks

9 Key Change Management Tips for Implementation Success


Successfully navigating an ERP implementation (or other process changes implementations) requires more than just technical competence; it demands a robust Change Management Strategy. 

Here are nine essential tips to ensure your ERP project achieves its goals:

  1. Take a Systematic Approach

    Rushing headlong into Change Management is a recipe for disaster. It's crucial to adopt a systematic & progressive approach. Begin by conducting organizational assessments to evaluate if your company possesses the necessary tools and resources to support a business transformation. Some common assessments include:

    • Change Impact Assessment

    • Business Readiness Assessment

    • Stakeholder Analysis

    Pay special attention to end-users by leveraging surveys and focus groups. Focus groups, in particular, serve multiple purposes, including identifying pain points with the current system, gaining employee buy-in, and informing your Change Management strategy.

  2. Assemble a Change Management Team

    Forming a dedicated Change Management team is essential. This team should encompass:

    • Executive and Senior Leaders

    • Department Managers and Supervisors

    • Subject Matter Experts

    • Change Practitioners

    Each team member should have a clear understanding of their role and how it contributes to the overall project. This ensures accountability and ownership. Recognize the significant influence that key individuals hold and involve them early in the project to secure their support.

  3. Utilize Change Champions

    Change Champions is a term often confused with sponsors; It is true that they are part of the Sponsor Coalition formed to support on the project, but they are not the project Sponsors.

    Change Champions are influencing members within your organization who are passionate advocates for change. They possess in-depth knowledge of the change's benefits, are enthusiastic about its implementation, and are ready to share their expertise. Leverage their credibility to inspire others and foster a culture of acceptance.

  4. Start at the Top

    Effective Change Management begins at the top. Executives serve as role models, and their behavior sets the tone for the entire organization. If they display apprehension toward change, employees are likely to follow suit and the same applies when the show confidence. 

    Gaining executive buy-in requires answering questions about cost reduction, business benefits, stakeholder impacts, alignment with business objectives, expected ROI, and providing specific details. 

    Start with answering questions like:

    • How will the project cut costs or achieve other business benefits?

    • How will the project impact different stakeholders?

    • How will the project address the pain points of key stakeholders?

    • How do the goals of the project align with business objectives?

    • How much will the project cost?

    • What’s the expected ROI?

    While everyone wants change, no one wants to change. This is a well-known saying in the field of Change Management. Put another way, it’s often easier to convince people of the need for something new than to get everyone moving in the same direction toward that objective. 

    If you are trying to get Change Management included in your project but are hitting a brick wall, it may be helpful to review Change Management myths that lead to an underinvestment in OCM.

    There are many barriers to organizational change found within leadership and project teams. 

    Consistency is important, too. When executives say one thing and do another, this erodes employees’ trust in leadership and increases change resistance. Wondering why managers resist change? The answer lies mostly in the fact that they have misconceptions, but it’s also true that they have a certain amount of fear.

    So, how do you gain executive buy-in to begin with?

    Executives like specifics, so be sure to provide details. 

    What specific business benefits will the ERP implementation bring? How much will the project cost? Will it improve communication and integration between departments? Will it improve the company’s ability to serve customers? Quantify these benefits of ERP as accurately as you can. 

    For example, one of our clients in the process manufacturing industry. They aimed to enhance the efficiency of their sales processes. To convey the benefits of the new system, they conducted a demonstration for the executives, emphasizing how it would offer improved insights into their customer service operations, enabling automation of numerous tasks. Additionally, the demonstration highlighted the potential time savings for employees, allowing them to shift their focus towards outbound calls.

    In numerous companies we collaborate with, it's not uncommon to encounter at least one executive who may not fully align with the project's objectives or may even be working in opposition to the project's success. Therefore, it becomes imperative to outline the specific ERP business benefits comprehensively.

  5. Address Change at All Levels

    With C-suite support secured, address change at all levels of the organization. Use the insights from your change impact assessment to tailor your Change Management plan for different stakeholder groups, from executives to end-users. Acknowledge and accommodate their unique needs and concerns.

  6. Focus on Culture

    The existing organizational culture can be either resistant to change or open but misaligned with project goals. Cultural change is integral to digital transformation and should be incorporated into your Change Management plan. Highlight how proposed changes align with your organizational culture to encourage employee buy-in and brand loyalty.

    Remember, resistance to change is a natural human response to change but is far more than an emotional issue.  As Change Management practitioners, it is our job to understand the root causes of this resistance within teams, so we can mitigate it by helping people move through their individual transitions and successfully adopt important changes. 

    Ask yourself: What will we do to prepare, equip, and support people to adopt and use the change?

  7. Develop and Execute a Communication Plan

    Effective communication is paramount. Fear of the unknown or confusion over details can hinder user adoption and breed resistance. Craft a formal communication plan that covers essential aspects such as your elevator pitch, communication mediums, responses to common questions, and complaints.

  8. Customize Your ERP Training

    Even tech-savvy employees need tailored training for a new system. Customize training materials to align with specific roles and responsibilities. While ERP vendors provide foundational training materials, these should be adapted to the unique context of each employee. Training should encompass both in-system processes and external decisions that impact system usage.

  9. Continue to Ensure User Adoption After Go-live.

    User adoption doesn't end with go-live; it's an ongoing process. Don’t pack and go!

    Invest in post-go-live support to ensure employees continue to improve individual and team performance. Conduct system usage audits using pre-defined KPIs to identify areas of concern and resistance. Focus on the people side of change and measure the value-add of applying Change Management to your ERP project.

    We collaborated with a manufacturing client facing challenges in user adoption during their “Cloud ERP” rollout. In this case, certain departments had completely abandoned the software, reverting to their previous legacy processes, putting the entire implementation at risk of failure. Our intervention involved conducting assessments to determine how to optimize the system's acceptance and usage. Without our assistance, this client faced the potential scenario of having invested substantial time and financial resources in software licenses and technical implementation services, resulting in costly shelf-ware that failed to deliver anticipated business value.

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