A global retail e-commerce provider known for its product quality and outstanding customer service was in the midst of modernizing and standardizing its financial and merchandising processes and systems through a global enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution implementation.
As is consistent with a company culture where many employees have worked for many years, users were invested in wanting to make the new system and process work and showed their commitment through continuing to work long hours. Frustration and a sense of despair was building as they felt a lack of support and no light at the end of the tunnel.
The client made a significant investment with a large consulting firm to provide change management for the ERP implementation and still had unsatisfactory results. They came to Farwell to see if we could fill the gaps and help address the post-implementation issues.
They were looking to take the change management leadership and approach in a different direction to proactively ensure a different and more successful outcome for upcoming releases, some of which were already in-flight.
We partnered with the program team and leadership and conducted a triage initiative. We worked with the users, conducting interviews, and quickly identified the key areas of frustration. We executed improvements through system enhancements, communication, job aids and additional training and support.
Once we had addressed the key root causes for the lack of adoption of the new ways of working, we captured key lessons learned. Some lessons included engaging Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) earlier in the project, creating an “Adoption team” to provide user support and building an ongoing feedback loop for issues. We immediately applied the learnings to the next release.
For one of the releases with global impact, we engaged a global team of change management consultants who spoke the local language and coordinated translation of communication and training material. We ensured that SMEs were identified early on during the release and provided them with access to the system, so they would become more comfortable and champion the changes with their colleagues.
For another release that was more complex and spanned multiple teams across the company, we implemented a Change Challenge, where teams “competed” against one another by taking active ownership in actions that better ensured their level of adoption. Actions included conducting web-learning, attending training courses, providing regular feedback and taking advantage of open houses for support. Winning teams won prizes but more importantly, were well prepared for the changes.
With each subsequent release, the level and pace of user adoption continued to improve, and the survey results reflected user confidence in adopting the new ways of working. Some user and leader quotes from the latest release include:
“It was just too easy. I was looking for something harder.” and “The level of communication throughout implementation has been outstanding. Our team was well-prepared for the changes.”
And from the CEO of the company,
“Congratulations on another terrific performance…we have become accustomed to seeing such flawless execution. To all those involved…I say Thank You for such outstanding work!”
As a result, for those releases that have been implemented to date and with Farwell’s help, the company has consistent global processes, better collaboration, knowledgeable employees, supported systems, reduced risk, and one version of the truth for their data.