Chris Gloede, Sr. Project Manager, CSS International – An Oracle Cloud Partner
Since cloud and other enterprise projects are often painted as primarily business and technology initiatives, it is easy to forget about the people who use the deliverables. While well-defined enterprise software initiatives provide great opportunity for improvements in every organization, they are potentially fraught with adoption risks if the end users are disillusioned and distraught over the purported outcomes.
Yes, employees can and do perceive that change can be difficult and scary. It is not a trivial situation which is why application of organization change management (OCM) principles is a driver for project success.
Consider typical small-to medium-size (SMB) company projects. During past initiatives – like an on-premises enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation – it is common to hear comments like:
And once go-live occurs, these behaviors are similarly observed:
It is not hard to find projects that have experienced these questions, comments and behaviors; collectively, they point to inadequate, poor or missing OCM.
OCM is an important consideration for any project, especially as organizations transition from decades-old on-premises systems and other aged technologies to cloud applications.
Consider these observations from different authors:
These comments highlight that no matter how brilliant the solution provided, without addressing the human side of change and preparing users properly with OCM, the chance of successfully achieving desired goals and the return on investment is significantly reduced. The risk of project failure is greatly increased.
How do project managers and their companies manage this risk?
The first step is to acknowledge – despite what we often hear – that people are not afraid of change. Consider a recipient of a winning super lottery ticket worth millions. It is a drastic change to the winner’s life yet, who resists the change. Why? They know the context and accept the meaning of the sudden change.
McKinsey has identified four basic conditions necessary before employees will embrace change and positively modify their behavior:
An effectively delivered OCM approach will:
Opting to ignore or underestimate the level of effort to successfully drive the adoption of change when small-to medium-size firms move to cloud applications is a quantifiable risk to project success. Use documented, repeatable, and predictable OCM approaches to achieve a steady state of operations faster which also drives a higher ROI.
OCM delivers excited, engaged and empowered users, a key ingredient for every on-premises to cloud project.