With additional functionality and complexity, Microsoft Dynamics 365 rollouts can bring with them substantial organizational, business and process changes. Devising robust Change Management & Communications plans for your business is an absolute requirement as the lack of effective change management is one of the main reasons why ERP rollouts fail to deliver the desired benefits. Absence of regular stakeholder communication and engagement and ineffective end-user training can lead to low user adoption.
In this blog, I will discuss the importance and advantages of investing in change & communications early in all Microsoft Dynamics 365 engagements and some of the essential techniques and considerations to achieve a successful implementation.
Change Management Benefits for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Engagements
Recognition that introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365 in your business is not just a system replacement but a company-wide change that needs early planning will enable you to realise the business advantages and the following benefits during the program:
Performing an Impact Assessment of key business changes evaluates how disruptive the transition could be. Mapping the ‘to-be’ processes is a valuable technique to understand potential organisational and operational pains points so business disruption can be managed and minimised. The identification, ownership and prioritisation of key changes are the cornerstones to successful adoption and knowledge of these changes is then woven into the communication messages and training material during the program.
Too often, system replacement projects are started without having a clear understanding of the business rationale behind them. Articulating the business need, potential challenges and opportunities will keep those business drivers front and centre during the project to ensure purpose and delivery scope accurately reflects business needs. It is an invaluable approach in maintaining the boundaries of the implementation, avoiding scope creep and inclusion of non-essential functionality in the solution.
A well-executed Change Management Plan is a necessary step on-boarding and educating the business Senior Management Team. It assists in creating a sense of urgency and purpose for the ERP Program. It provides them with the needed information on their accountabilities during the actual program.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 projects may introduce major changes to employee’s tasks or even their job roles. In some instances, these changes are met with employee resistance. A Change Management approach that establishes open and frequent communication promotes employee acceptance to changes by keeping them informed about the need for change, the business goals and how their day to day jobs may change. This approach shows support and commitment from Senior Management and allows early feedback through two-way communication to understand any unintended consequences of the change as early as possible.
Many people are affected by a project and in return may positively influence it. By identifying and grouping stakeholders it assists in understanding their expectations and needs thus minimising project risks and maximising benefits. It ensures all areas of the business affected by the change are known and the influencing group to bed down changes are aware of their responsibilities. It allows the business to identify and commit the resources for the duration of the project and ensures extended groups like customers and suppliers are not overlooked.
It leads to alignment of the project’s objectives with the overall business and considers ‘local’ challenges. It is an essential component for inclusion in the communication and training strategy and often a critical project success factor commonly overlooked.
The execution of an effective Change Management strategy helps shorten the learning curve and business disruption through rich and relevant communications and training initiatives that help employees adapt to the ways of working as soon as possible. It is essential that the business establish Key Performance Indicators early in the program for all business units that senior leaders are accountable for. This is an excellent approach to align the business with shared success metrics and have tangible business outcomes to monitor adoption.
Successful Change Management deployments engage employees quicker, articulates key business prioritises and changes and guarantees users take full advantage of the ERP’s features, helping them become more productive and improve their performance. When employee’s productivity improves, the overall performance of the organisation also improves thus accelerating business benefits.
Successful adoption depends on well-trained employees. An effective Change Management approach ensures end-user training covers both business and process changes as well as system tasks. Training can, therefore, be customized for each process in the organisation so that the users understand the relevance to them and their role.
Change management is often overlooked but companies need to understand it is vital to project success. Invest resources and time to put a Change Management plan in place before diving into an ERP implementation. It will control the magnitude of the implementation and avoid costly overruns. Do not be wise after the fact and wait until your post-project lessons learned to understand how to avoid the severity of post-implementation disruption to your business operations. Want to learn more about how to implement a robust Change Management program to avoid costly failures?