If your business is to stay ahead of the competition, then it needs to understand and embrace technological innovations, economic developments and fresh processes, all of which require change.
Unfortunately, change doesn’t always come so easily for everybody. Wading into unfamiliar territory can be a worry for many people, stopping individuals, teams and businesses as a whole from growing to their fullest.
Managing and implementing changes to business processes, isn’t something that needs to be feared. Here, we’ll talk you through what you need to know when it comes to managing changes to your business processes.
Understanding the drive for change
Even before anything is put in motion regarding a change to how you operate, there’s plenty to consider from the outset. Chief among these considerations is understanding why a change is necessary in the first place.
Ask yourself what forces are driving change. Are these internal pressures like new leadership, or are they external pressures caused by things like new technology?
Likewise, it’s worth considering any benefits the change will have on the business and employees. Will the change streamline work, make the process more efficient or make it easier to access important data? And ultimately, will it lead to improved customer service and business growth?
When you can understand the factors that are at play, you’ll put yourself in a better position to address root concerns.
Your company culture is a key factor in change management too. A culture where new ideas are welcomed, and staff are encouraged to put forward suggestions for improving efficiencies across the business stands a better chance of adapting to change.
If your company is one with a history of playing it safe, however, then you may run into issues. Enacting a change of culture isn’t easy, but it’s an effective way of ensuring changes to business processes get off on the right foot.
How to prepare your business for change
Change management can get off to a strong start when everyone’s on the same page. One way of ensuring this is by getting management, stakeholder and user buy-in.
When people are aware of the extent of change, what’s expected from the outcome, and how it will affect their daily routine, they’ll be more open to embracing change when it comes to enacting it. Likewise, the considerations mentioned above should be made apparent to employees so everyone is aware of why the changes are being made in the first place.
Another important consideration to make at the outset is whether your business software can implement the changes you wish to employ. For instance, will it integrate seamless with a new third-party application you want to use? Or can you make simple process changes to your system without having to revert to your vendor?
It could be the case that your current business system may be too rigid and cumbersome to make either of these changes. As a result, you’d have to go back to your vendor to make changes or seek workarounds to get what you want, which can be time-consuming and expensive, and never ideal
Flexible business management software, on the other hand, lets you quickly and easily respond to evolving situations. It’s the autonomy you get with modern ERP software to make continuous tweaks to your system that will make the process of change much easier, and cost-effective for you. Today’s systems are also designed to be simple and user-friendly to use, customise and tailor to your own specific nuances, with capabilities to add extra features and modules in the event you need to scale and grow.
Once you’ve decided on the changes you want to implement and its implications on your software, you’ll also need to be aware of how much the change will cost to put in place and the timing of the changes themselves.
Let’s say you want to add mobile warehouse modules and an ecommerce solution. Rather than trying to do both at once, it’s better to do one at a time. And of course, to stand every chance of succeeding, you should allocate enough time and resources to both so you can minimise issues and get them right the first time.
In terms of personnel, a systems administrator is going to be vital to have on your side too. This senior member of staff does a lot to allay the concerns your team might have with any upcoming changes, but they’ll also be involved with managing the change on your system and working with department leads to ensure all users are up to speed on any new processes that are being put in place.
Without a systems administrator, managing the change could be more of a challenge than you’d expect. They’re responsible for several key duties, all of which contribute to the smooth running of change management.
Lastly, you should have a plan which details several key actions, including:
- Strategic goals: What goals are you trying to achieve with the changes you want to implement?
- Key performance indicators: How will success be measured, and with what metrics?
- Project stakeholders and team: Alongside your systems administrator, who else will be involved in the implementation of the change? Who is responsible for signing off at critical stages?
- Project scope: What steps and actions will be involved over the course of the project?
Of course, your plans should also leave room for any deviations that might crop up during the implementation stage.
Implementing the change
When you start putting the change in place, it’s a good idea to break your goal down into milestones. You can’t achieve everything at once, which may discourage certain team members and cause them to detach from the project. However, breaking things down into smaller milestones creates a sense of achievement and accountability, ensuring everyone knows what they’re driving towards.
These quick wins are a great way of encouraging your team at an early stage by showing that their hard work is paying off. Try designing your plan around setting targets that are more achievable than others so everyone can hit the ground running.
Be sure to track your progress too. Managing change involves making sure that planning, coordinating, controlling and evaluating are all in sync with each other. As such, you should be aware of the headway you’re making.
Are milestones slow to be accomplished? If so, what’s standing in your way? It’s important to keep the enthusiasm earned in the early stages going throughout the entire project. Make sure that the team – and stakeholders – are being updated regularly by holding meetings when they’re necessary.
Reviewing the new changes
Since change is a continuous process, it’s important to review your progress and analyse the effects regularly. This will allow you to understand what worked, what didn’t and what can be improved upon, all of which helps with optimising the change, providing you with insights you can use when it comes time for the next big business process changes.
Making the move towards ERP implementation is a big ask. Intact iQ not only supplies you with a single solution to your business processes, but we have a team of experts on hand to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. For more information head here, or get in touch with us today.