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How to Manage Change for ERP Cloud Success

 
November 10, 2017

Cloud transformation is all around us. It’s not a singular new application, system, process, or behavior. It’s not even just a more efficient workflow with streamlined user access to systems and data. Instead, it’s a combination of all of these elements. Despite the abundance of benefits that come with cloud computing, organizations can only realize transformative change if all employees adapt to the cloud environment—which almost always requires new skills. Therefore, change management is an essential element to the success of cloud implementations.

The “People Impact” of Cloud Implementations

Cloud computing has dramatically changed the traditional functions of an IT team—from the business model to service delivery, as well as functional processes and expectations. Ignoring the “people impact” can put your cloud project on the path to failure.

Engage an Executive

A cloud transformation initiative should be assigned to a dedicated C-suite executive who is empowered to connect stakeholders, break down organizational silos, and promote an innovative digital-first culture. You may consider using shared workspaces to create a constructive, dynamic environment where all stakeholders can collaborate. You might also invite top performers to meet face-to-face with business partners to understand the rationale and goals of the cloud solution.

The bottom line: unless an executive leader is accountable for the “people impact” of the cloud initiative, transformation goals won’t be realized.

Rethink Your Change Management Approach

Iterative development processes, like agile and design thinking, have replaced old-school implementation methods. More than ever before, the user experience drives technology design. With such a dramatic shift, change management has to evolve, too. We call this “organizational change management 2.0,” or OCM 2.0, and we focus on employees, collaboration, and creativity as the core components of the new cloud solution. Here are seven strategies to help you tailor your change management approach to enhance user adoption:

  • Establish a digital council, led by a collaborative senior leader, to sponsor, define, and implement the digital project
  • Develop a clear vision for digital change that includes the roadmap to achieve the cloud transformation
  • Look for quick wins from low hanging fruit to speed the path to cloud benefits
  • Make sure your organization has the talent to support the cloud initiative
  • Manage change as the implementation progresses and embed new processes, and a set of tools across the organization to sustain change
  • Use innovative communication methods to disseminate key information
  • Use co-design methods to provide a collective experience

Don’t Forget Your IT Organization

Since any cloud initiative will almost certainly impact the IT organization, here are a few key strategies to manage the “people impact” in an IT organization:

  • Build enthusiasm and buy-in by including the IT staff when evaluating and selecting cloud services
  • Give IT staff ample time to explore new technologies and provide training
  • Identify points of change, plan for the corresponding impacts, and disseminate the appropriate information throughout the IT organization
  • Help IT staff see the value and personal benefits from cloud transformation.

Without a doubt, a cloud implementation will impact people, processes, and policies—regardless of industry or sector. Pay attention to the “people impact” as you manage the transformational changes that come with cloud computing and your project can be a success.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about Organizational Change Management, do post your query in the comment box or connect me via LinkedIn.

This blog is written in collaboration with Oracle and I recommend you to read the complete blog post here.

Dr. Kallol Basu is a senior consultant with TCS’ Oracle practice specializing in Organization Change Management (OCM). Across over 11 years in the industry, Kallol has worked on large business transformation initiatives, lending his expertise in the areas of program management, change management, and business process re-engineering. A PhD in business transformation, Kallol has played an instrumental role in eight multi-year, multi-country customer programs and is a published author and regular speaker at global forums.