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The Secret Ingredients for Successful Change Management

You’ve seen it a hundred times: a team finds a spiffy new technology, rolls it out, uses it for a while, but the next thing you know, it’s been abandoned in favor of the legacy tool. Why does change management fail so much, and, more importantly, how do you increase the likelihood of a transformation’s success? 

Last week, we took a deeper look at this subject with Twitter’s Head of Global Strategic Sourcing Mark Zafra and Scout’s Head of Marketing, Michaela Dempsey, in a webinar hosted by the Institute for Supply Management.

Addressing the Transformation Myth 

To many, “transformation” is a formidable concept. It seems to represent a lofty goal that can only be achieved through painful leaps of discontinuous change and raw ambition.

“Transformation is possible, and it is absolutely necessary,” says Zafra. “The modern enterprise is rapidly reinventing itself. Procurement and sourcing has been typically slow to change, but there is massive potential to innovate.”

Live polling during the webinar showed the audience was in various stages of transformation:

  • 27% were planning to digitize procurement
  • 17% have already gone live with a digital solution
  • 38% had not yet started thinking about transforming

Beginning a Transformation

“The first step,” according to Zafra, “of transformation is realizing that you need to change.” Today’s business requires efficiency, transparency, knowledge, measurement and continual improvement. Information and processes should become centralized and streamlined, and automation should replace tedious manual tasks. 

Fortunately, according to Zafra, transformation does not need to occur all in one single step. “It can be more of a continuous process.” First, start with a strategy, plan and roadmap for a sensible planning horizon, which will vary by organization. The important thing is to know what you want to achieve and ensure the goal is shared by leadership and stakeholders, which will require education.

Change Management Is a Continuous Process

Technology can help a company achieve its goals and also shape what is possible, but it cannot be the sole factor in driving change. “Your technology should sit on top of existing processes, rather than letting technology be the driver,” says Zafra. An advanced procurement platform can provide the catalyst and the means, but it’s not a replacement for the way the team works. 

At the same time, “The technology must not be something that you just set and forget,” says Zafra. “You need to test, tune and improve. Collaborate with stakeholders and solicit feedback to understand what is working and what can be improved.” Remember to continually educate, communicate wins, and measure ROI to demonstrate success.

Establish Priorities for Your Transformation

A critical step for any transformation process is to prioritize the areas to address, a perspective that must be common among procurement and stakeholders as well. “You need to pick one initially,” says Zafra, “You can’t do it all. Look for what will have the most impact and what will be expected by the organization.” 

An increasingly important area is ensuring compliance. “If you don’t know where your contracts are or what’s in them, you are probably not in compliance,” states Zafra. Meeting the requirements of a monumental regulation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is critical and places a weighty responsibility on procurement. 

Take Charge of Your Digital Transformation

Digital transformation isn’t easy, but by breaking it up into steps and promoting a clear value proposition, you can make it more manageable. Want to learn more about Mark’s three tips for change management through a digital journey? Check out the webinar replay below! 

Erika Choroski | Tags: , , ,

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