The Return on Investment of Change Management

One of the barriers to effective change management on a project is getting the authorization to begin. Many leaders resist investing in managing change without a clear picture of the return on investment (ROI) – a picture that can be fuzzy and hard to clarify because it’s hard to quantify in hard numbers. But there are four areas where you can demonstrate the value – with measurable clarity – of applied change management for your leaders: reduce the negative impact on productivity; achieve benefits sooner; exceed your expectations; and ensure the sustainability. Reduce the negative impact on productivity Unless you’re never gone through one, you know change is disruptive. Experience teaches us to apply good project management and risk mitigation to our projects. We develop cost estimates and put dollar figures on the expected productivity losses in areas like quality, capacity or even customer satisfaction. In practice, leaders tend to underestimate the true costs of change. With those numbers in hand, we have the first opportunity to bring the change management ROI into focus for our leaders. Whether by percentage or duration, a well managed change will mitigate the negative effects on productivity. Tell your leadership you have a plan to achieve a 10 or 15% reduction in the expected dip in customer satisfaction during the new system implementation, and you’ll get their attention. Achieve benefits sooner Every project or program undertaken has benefits. The trick is executing the project successfully enough to claim those benefits. Good change management practices mitigate the risks associated with both the project team and the organization that has to change. The team functions better and the project runs smoother because there is less resistance. And that could lead to the project coming in ahead of schedule. Who wouldn’t like to tell their program management office how to convert the benefits from ‘proposed’ to ‘realized’ sooner, rather than later? Exceed your expectations Research and surveys demonstrate that most projects are completed less than successfully. A well managed change prepares the organization to accept whatever adjustments are being asked of it. In fact, you may even surpass the level of expected benefits by exceeding your expectations. How often do leaders hear that message? Ensure the sustainability Even the most spectacularly successful project can have trouble maintaining the benefits over time. Just about every organization has had that feeling of déjà vu as they complete nearly identical projects over and over because the gains are never sustained. When the resistance to change is alleviated through good change management, you can get off the treadmill once and for all. By showing leadership how many projects can be...

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Use Business Architecture to Link Strategy and Execution
Jun07

Use Business Architecture to Link Strategy and Execution

Many organizations spend a lot of time and effort defining that “wow” strategy hoping to entice audiences. That is fine, but how many of these organizations do indeed realize that strategy? Well, in my experience I would say only a handful and I am sure most of you agree with my sentiments. One of the primary challenges many organizations encounter is the inability to execute a well formulated strategy. In today’s competitive world, an “average” organization would be expected to have a well-articulated strategy but a “successful” one would go out of its way to execute and realize the anticipated strategic outcomes. But what would be the reason behind failure to execute a strategy? Let me first highlight some of my key observations about strategy: A strategy would mainly focus on the anticipated outcomes; the strategic agenda usually emphasizes “what” is to be achieved and not “how” it should be executed. There is inadequate consideration of an organization’s readiness during strategy formulation; a lot of assumptions are made regarding the existing organization capabilities. A strategy is usually generic in nature; hardly do you see a strategy that clearly spells out the individual responsibilities of each and every party to that strategy. The strategy formulation process hardly analyzes the resulting impact of the strategy; little is known about its impact on the organization. A strategy is prone to misinterpretation; lack of a clear enterprise context may dilute the meaning as different business stakeholders gain freedom to use their own interpretations. While most of us would attribute these to a weak strategy or strategic planning process, the reality on the grounds is a little bit different. In my quest to understand why the execution of strategy remains a challenge for most organizations, I noticed the strategy function is usually left to strategists to ponder on their own. My honest observations about most of these so called strategists are as follows: They usually work on tight schedule to put together a workable strategy They lack adequate visibility on current business operations They hardly understand enterprise connectivity and relationships They are deprived of proper impact assessment and analysis tools They easily get influenced by organization politics and culture They struggle to understand and define business priorities They hardly validate the correctness of information provided by business stakeholders They prefer to leave implementation details to business operations managers. These scenarios are akin to our day-to-day experiences which in most cases result to “ad hoc” execution of the strategy. This approach most certainly leads to chaotic and unpredictable events that necessitate frequent fixes, over spending and tireless efforts trying to achieve some form of control...

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The role of EAs and IT Strategy in Financial Institutions
Jun04

The role of EAs and IT Strategy in Financial Institutions

When I joined the banking industry 2 years ago I wondered if financial institutions must apply a different technology implementation plan to succeed, and the answer is a resounding Yes. Banks will be out of business if they do not invest in information technology and knowledge management on a continuous basis and make investments in cutting edge technologies.  This is all required to outpace the competition and the race is fierce. Information technology is a Strategic Tool for Banks & Financial Institutions, it enhances automation, speeds up processing, and improves the use of data.  It also challenges and extends minds to create new products & services to improve customer service. For this to practically materialize,  applications and solutions must be accurately architected and implemented.  Enter Enterprise Architecture (EA) as a role which comes in place to help in developing the strategy and the required work products in a deliberate and logical way.  I believe that IT Strategy is one of the critical components that is derived from the corporate strategy to shed light on the path ahead Technology and its transformation. A successful IT strategy for financial institution will take into consideration the following: Enhancing the speed of information flow between systems, branches, and third parties Automating/Improving the processes of loans analysis to facilitate timely decision making Extending the information technology services to those without it Reducing the overall cost of information technology Improving vendor management & relationship Putting the right expectations about the technical capabilities and technology limitations Considering the change management prospective related to the future technology Considering rules and regulations constraints for future solutions Focusing on the mobility side of solution and the usage of PDAs and surfaces Introducing Social Media Portals as part of future marketing and customer service   From my experience during the past decade, you need to know your business and where you see your business as you develop your IT strategy. Key technology decisions should be the role of IT strategy and Enterprise Architects and not the programmers or developers.  This is not minimizing the critical role of development but rather to highlight decision making at a Macro view to ensure long-term sustainability. One of the biggest pitfalls is having business strategists defining technology solutions; instead these strategists should define what they want to accomplish through which business capabilities according to what priorities.  Only then can initiatives be developed and prioritized to fulfill the requirements of the business. Within your organization do you have a well defined IT Strategy? Do you have clarity on the future directions and technologies your organization is investing in and how they are linked back to Corporate...

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No bells, No whistles, Just Plain Old Governance!
Jun04

No bells, No whistles, Just Plain Old Governance!

The conventional wisdom suggests, that to be successful, enterprises of all sizes must ensure that they have implemented an overarching system of governance, as part of their corporate strategy.  This is done to facilitate and ensure, the achievement of their objectives, commercial or otherwise. Let’s pause for a second to think about the word ‘Governance’.  What does it really mean?  And does anyone person or organization own the absolute worldwide accepted definition for it?  Stretching this a bit further, how is ‘governance’ related to ‘strategy’ exactly? I did quite a bit of research on the subject and from what I’ve learned thus far, the answer is; well, not all that simple I’m afraid.  Here’s the thing, apparently, anytime there is a breakdown in the system of governance within an organization, especially with the big names, the world media seems to go wild.   Fresh in our minds is the story of the Barings Bank and Société Générale, where apparently, a breakdown in the monitoring of their internal processes led to their famous front-page splash!   We also have examples like Enron and AIG.  Of course, we now know, that their short-lived success was attributed to organized accounting fraud.  More recently, many public and private organizations have invested in subprime-based toxic investments, for which the risk factor had not been identified or had been largely underestimated.   We all know what happened after that. You may wonder, how do we prevent such large-scale incidents from ever happening again, at least in our lifetimes?  More regulations perhaps or, maybe we should try swift, and I mean really swift punishment for those caught with their hands in the cookie jar!  It seems that human kind has tried all kinds of remedies, but one look at the aftermath of the consequences of our own actions, and one can perhaps conclude that we are nowhere near a solution.   Perhaps it is an understatement therefore, to suggest that now, more than ever; there is an absolute and clear need for a more a grounded behavioral change program, one that feeds directly into our own system of values.  The reasons I believe that the system of Governance in general continues to fail, at least in the way we’ve been going at it, is because we are dealing with an ancient trait, so deeply routed in the human soul.  I’m talking about ‘Greed’ here folks.  As long as greed is there, we human beings seem to be more than willing to pursue and exploit holes in our own control systems.  Ironically, the very systems we designed to put us in control in the first place. Of course, it gets even...

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