The Value of Change Management

By Noelle Akins, Senior Consultant at Navigator

Everyone can list the criteria for project success…Project goals achieved on-time and on-budget. But according to PMI's 2015 Pulse study, only 64% of projects actually achieve this success and meet their project goals.

The Reality: Change is Hard
New business initiatives and major projects require change.  Change is made by people…people who must change their thinking, their behaviors, and their tools.  And usually change doesn’t come easy.  

Effective change management--managing the people-side of change--strongly impacts the likelihood of project success. Prosci's 2016 Best Practices in Change Management report finds that 95% of projects with excellent change management programs met or exceeded their project objectives.  Conversely, only 51% of projects with fair change management programs met their objectives.  This means that projects with excellent organizational change management (OCM) are "six times more likely to meet objectives than those with poor change management." 

An inside look…
The following client scenarios from three industry sectors embody change management excellence. These real-world project successes for clients of Navigator Management Partners demonstrate the value of organizational change management (OCM) for on-time and on-budget project delivery. 
State of Ohio: Change Management drives smart Business Intelligence
When stakes are high, organizational change management helps eliminate barriers and enable project success. The State of Ohio’s Department of Administrative Services understood the strategic advantage that change management capabilities deliver for their redeployment of Business Intelligence (BI) solutions related to Ohio’s Administrative Knowledge System (OAKS). Objectives for this Cognos Business Intelligence deployment included organizational gains of increased efficiency, decreased complexity, and reduced costs through the elimination of duplicate IT infrastructure and support.  With low adoption rates for the previous BI implementation, the reimplementation of the Cognos HCM and finance reporting functions impacted 6000 employees at 100 State of Ohio agencies, boards and commissions.  User adoption was critical for project success.

Partnering with the Department of Administrative Services, OCM consultants from Navigator Management Partners helped establish a foundation for project success by aligning all stakeholder communication, outreach and training initiatives to coordinate with ongoing system development.  Change management strategies such as communications, stakeholder management, and readiness assessments helped prepare the organization for adoption of the change.  The newly established Change Agent Network helped disseminate communication and collect feedback, while internal Data Stewards governed custom reports and served as a Tier 1 help desk to enable stakeholders to utilize the tool. The OAKS OCM team also created more than 30 customized training courses and delivered training to more than 1500 unique users across the 100 agencies, boards, and commissions.

User adoption measures demonstrate the true benefit of OCM capabilities for the Department of Administrative Services. The new Cognos BI deployment achieved adoption rates of 86% for standard reports, providing significant time savings and increasing data quality across the state. Change management activities promoted project success by ensuring user adoption, utilization, and proficiency.
Large State University: Lessons Learned on OCM Value
This university leveraged the change management expertise of Navigator Management Partners for their Workday implementation impacting a population of 30,000 users.    Evidence-based OCM practices enabled the university to realize user adoption levels, utilization rates and proficiency levels that significantly surpassed go-live statistics of comparable implementations.    

Resistance prevention and user adoption were critical factors for success of this wide-scale change to their human resources, payroll, benefits and performance management systems.  A comprehensive change management strategy created by Navigator and the university helped them prepare for and manage the change from start to finish.  From stakeholder analysis of impact areas to focus group responses, OCM work informed the team’s targeted communication strategies.  Workday demonstrations of functionality by colleges and departments helped to uncover and address user concerns.  Support grew as stakeholders discovered business reasons for the change and embraced opportunities for personal gains from the new system.   

The OCM team helped users acquire proficiency quickly, meeting learner needs through hands-on training and just-in-time video learning segments. Below are go-live statistics that illustrate the value of change management capabilities for this on-time, on-budget deployment:  
  • 30% more logins at the university than a comparable Workday implementation of similar size and complexity
  • 40% fewer help calls and emails for the university than a comparable Workday implementation of similar size and complexity
  • Successful payroll completion consistent with both projects.

Large Utility Supplier: Change Management powers up project team for success
For complex technical projects, change management demystifies the process for users and team members. This large utility supplier engaged OCM consultants from Navigator Management Partners to support their Data Center move to a remote location.  This complex project included multiple migrations customized for user groups who each experienced the impact of the change differently, with the goal of "business as usual" on Monday morning following each migration.  
The organization's change management strategy, informed by results from enterprise-wide readiness assessment surveys and executive assessments, helped project leaders establish common expectations, lower employee resistance, and increase speed of adoption.  Broad awareness campaigns and targeted communication plans customized specifically for stakeholders of each migration helped reduce resistance to the change and ensure that their associates clearly understand what to expect before, during, and after the change.  OCM interventions facilitated strong collaborative relationships with key business subject matter experts and integrator and testing partners, enabling the project to remain on-target and on-schedule. Change management work at the executive level ensured alignment and collaboration between IT and business functions, building engagement across all business units and operating companies.  

Change management capability enabled the organization to fully meet project objectives, while completing this highly complex technical project on-time and on-budget.   
These client scenarios from government, higher education and utilities sectors illustrate the firsthand benefits of change management excellence in project implementations.  Change is hard but organizations that prepare, manage, and reinforce the people-side of change find it more likely to achieve true project success.