As we have stated in the previous article in this series, implementing a new COTS software system, with its own best practice, oriented functionality for common regulatory activities will likely require a willingness by your organization to change some of its current operating procedures. Doing so may even require a modest organizational re-design of some business units in order to better align with industry-leading best practices as implemented in the chosen COTS solution.
Let’s face it: change can be uncomfortable and stressful for some. In our experience, the best way to manage that discomfort and stress is to skillfully control how you navigate the changes.
Organizational change management (OCM) is a framework for managing the effect of new or altered business processes, or changes in organizational structure or culture, within your enterprise as a result of implementing your pre-configured COTS software. Simply put, OCM addresses the “people side” of change management.
At Computronix, we encourage our prospective customers to consider properly resourcing and planning for structured OCM activities as an integral part of their COTS project.
The outcomes of a successful OCM and/or organization re-design experience will include:
- Reduced stress and confusion
User involvement as the project unfolds to understand as early as possible how business will be impacted and re-aligned.
- User buy-in towards transformation & achieving the new vision
A culture of committed, enthusiastic, and engaged employees as the new system goes into production.
- Reduced software system development costs
Reduced software re-configuration costs and effort purely to accommodate site-specific “legacy” thinking and business practices (i.e. “But we’ve always done it this way…”).
- Easier roadmap to system and process optimization over time
The ability to more easily accommodate new COTS software upgrades and improvements because your re-engineered business already fits “inside the box.”
Assembling and Building Your Project Team Skills
As you can see from the previous comments, clearly there are some steps your organization can take to improve its chances of project success. When it comes to client project team skills, your project team will be successful with individuals who have training and experience in the following:
- Project Management: This senior position will play a pivotal role in your project. A full-time allocation is required for the duration of the project. The internationally recognized Project Management Professional (PMP) designation has been offered by the Project Management Institute for several years. The PMI’s PMBOK Framework offers a solid methodology for project management processes and understanding.
- IT Technical Leadership: This senior technical position will also play an important role in your project. Such an individual inevitably becomes the System Manager/System Architect for your COTS system once it is fully implemented. A solid background and formal training in Information Technology is the primary pre-requisite.
- Change Management: This individual or group will lead the organization through the required business and behavioral changes required as a result of the Fit/Gap exercise. Change Management Professional (CMP) is now recognized as a formal vocation (a three-day CMP course is offered by Prosci). Other CM organizations offer further training, tool and templates.
- Business Analysis: These individuals will play a key role in pre-RFP requirements gathering, and translating them into functional and technical requirements within your RFP. Post-RFP, the Business Analyst role will participate in requirements validation and traceability during the actual project.
- Quality Assurance: This personnel will lead the development of Acceptance Test Plans and test Business Scenarios, Test Scripts and User Acceptance Test execution. QA training, templates and materials are available at PMI.
There are, of course, other important roles that will participate in the project. These include business Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), trainers, and various IT specialists (for data conversions, system interfaces, web content management). Executives/sponsors should also plan to participate at a Project Steering Committee level of oversight.
NEXT WEEK: Achieving a true and complete understanding of your project scope as driven by your fundamental objectives and goals.