PeopleSoft 9.2 – The Case for Organization Change Management

In past blogs, I’ve presented evidence for why PeopleSoft 9.2 and PeopleTools 8.53 can make everyday tasks easier and faster. There is one caveat: will your employees embrace the new system? Including OCM in your project plan will dramatically increase the odds they will and the speed at which they do.

Let me continue with some basic definitions and context. (Forgive me if this is too basic.) An organization initiates change when management decides to move from some current state through transition to a desired future state. Changes are implemented for a reason—ultimately, the belief that the future state will, in some way, measurably improve the organization. By definition, deploying any system creates change, but change does not happen in isolation. Depending on the size of the organization and scope of the project, change can impact hundreds (or many thousands) of employees who will have to do their jobs differently if the desired future state is to be attained. Some employees may embrace the change; often, however, people resist change.

Organizational change management (OCM), therefore, is focused on people and seeks to speed adoption of the change while minimizing operational disruptions during the transition and ensuring the change is sustained (successful) over the long run.

Sierra-Cedar’s OCM processes are integrated with our implementation and upgrade methodology. This practice dramatically increases the likelihood an organization will meet its project objectives, budget, and due date.

Figure 1 shows the five phases of our OCM methodology. The size and type of implementation project drives our recommendations for the necessary skill sets and tasks, and the resources our client provides affect the assignment of OCM responsibilities. We typically lead the tasks at the project start, then transition responsibilities to our client by the “Go Live.” We staff projects with experienced change management consultants who bring proven processes that can be creatively adapted to a  particular project in a particular organizational culture. We recommend staffing levels to produce results and provide a positive return. For small projects, such as adding a PS application, our functional consultant will often pick up the OCM tasks. When an entire functional area is being changed (i.e., all of HCM), then a full-time resource is recommended. Really large projects will use a team of resources.

The “Stakeholder Analysis” task is the bedrock of your OCM. Everyone that will be affected by the project/change needs to be identified—both inside and outside of the organization. We need to inform, engage, and kindle a desire for the new. A thorough understanding of how each stakeholder will be impacted by the change is necessary before you can address issues like resistance and training. I’m not so sure people dislike change as much as they dislike (or fear) the unknown. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a plane that is parked with a mute pilot or you need to change your benefits with little-to-no information. It is the unknown that troubles people. We need to understand the stakeholders to know how they best consume information. It is then that we can group people for receiving different communications (content, presentations, meetings, or documents) and identify the best time to engage them.  Employees want—and really deserve—to receive thorough information as soon as possible when a change is coming.

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Preparing communications requires someone with creativity, great writing/presentation skills, and familiarity with the organization’s culture or personality. (It doesn’t always have to be complicated. An old-fashioned USPS postcard was mailed to the home address of all hourly employees as part of the communications effort for a successful time collection project. Every hourly employee knew what they needed to know about this change, and Go Live was uneventful.)

Cost Advantage. I talked a little bit about this in a past blog. PROSCI.com[i] runs a bi-annual survey to gather trends and results on projects that use and don’t use OCM. The most recent survey had 650 organizations around the world sharing their results and best practices. There are 164 pages of narrative and graphs that conclude an organization is 5 times more likely to stick to the schedule and 6 times more likely to meet project objectives if it uses Organizational Change Management. I don’t think it takes too much personal analysis to decide that if doing something increases your odds of success 5 times over, then you should do it. Wherever you’re starting from (9.1 or 9.0 or 8.x maybe earlier) there is a change, there is apprehension, and when you include OCM, your project increases its likelihood of success.

In the next blog, I’ll talk about assessing your system, what you should expect for a result (the benefit), who’s involved, and the duration. Remember that additional information on 9.2 is available on our siteor ask your Sierra-Cedar rep about what our clients are experiencing with their 9.2 upgrades.  

Contact me at PS9.2@Sierra-Cedar.com if you have any comments or questions.


[i] PROSCI.com is not affiliated with Sierra-Cedar. We do use Prosci for training and certification of consultants.

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