Making change isn’t easy, especially within organizations as diverse as defense organizations. Different people, different capabilities, and different geographies all play a factor in how well an organization can implement a change.
When it comes to implementing ERP solutions within defense organizations, almost everyone in the Five Eyes community would agree that people can be either an organization’s biggest asset or its biggest challenge. It’s up to individual organizations to ensure it’s the former, rather than the latter.
To facilitate successful transformation, organizations need to recognize that any change activities can’t occur in a vacuum. In order to gain buy-in, defense organizations should look to involve affected users right from the beginning to ensure they understand the rationale for the change and so that they have the opportunity to provide input on solutions selected and any potential problems that could arise during implementation. When organizations engage users early and often, they can ensure the solution is a good fit for its needs. By having early involvement, people also become able to lead change over the course of the implementation.
In addition to stakeholder engagement, change management must also be about equipping users to be able to use any new technologies and processes effectively. Organizations shouldn’t underestimate the amount of training that might be necessary among technology users and the need for different user groups to have any training tailored to their existing capabilities and any identified gaps.
Getting change right means that users are well prepared for the change, recognize their role amidst it, and can make a smooth transition from the old way of doing things to the new way. “IT has become a utility... That’s a tribute to our success,” says Terry Halvorsen, Chief Information Officer at the US Department of Defense regarding a recent transformation.
To help people adapt to change, defense organizations should develop and implement a change management strategy that considers all aspects of the transition including:
As a part of this, organizations should have a plan for fostering buy-in among stakeholders to help ensure that they will act as proponents for the transition rather than impediments. Communication of the benefits is an essential step in gaining the senior stakeholder buy-in required to set an ERP implementation up for success.