Our client serves 30,000 retailers in 100 countries around the world, yet they were still relying on mostly manual finance and accounting processes, which were not consistent across different groups. And because of the way their systems worked, they weren’t able to consolidate their financial data.
By implementing the new ERP system and transforming their F&A processes, they’d be able to not only improve operational efficiency, but also deliver a global rollup of their financials—providing big-picture visibility into the business.
But first, they had to get people to use the new system and adopt the new processes.
Beyond just implementing the technology, our client needed help aligning their teams to the future vision and then creating the change journey and bringing people along. This included:
- Helping people understand the change and what it meant for them.
- Defining and agreeing upon the same processes and procedures.
- Providing training and readiness support to facilitate user adoption of the new system.
“Even when people are excited about the change, they’re still anxious about what to expect,” says Ed Caldwell, RGP Change Management Leader. “Our job is to make sure we’re getting the organization ready for the change. That includes providing employees with the right communication, training and resources to resolve that anxiety and help them understand how the transformation will make it easier to do their jobs.”
Activating Change Agents
Building a network of internal advocates is an important part of any change initiative. It involves identifying those team members who are seen as leaders, even if it’s not in their job title.
“We look for those cheerleaders—the business users who become subject matter experts in the new system and new way of working,” Ed says. “They’re the ones who help us bring other employees along. And in this case, we were able to build a change agent network that spanned all the functional areas and company locations.”
These individuals meet on a regular basis to stay up to speed on project progress and all the latest changes. They’re the first to get updated and trained in the systems. And then, their role is to share this information with business users and managers in the different departments.
“You can bring in consultants who can tell you what to do and give their best advice, but we don’t do their day-to-day jobs,” Ed says. “It’s proven that people relate better to their peers. So we orchestrate that and provide the framework, tools and information they need. But the change agents themselves carry the biggest load.”
This network also delivers value back to the project team, as change agents share what they’re hearing from the system users—their questions, concerns, challenges and feelings. It’s a continuous feedback loop.
Delivering Positive Human and Business Benefits
For a large-scale transformation like this, effective change management can mean the difference between quickly seeing a positive return on your change investment or enduring painful productivity dips.
For our client, this has had both individual and organizational benefits:
- Managed, automated workflows speed up operations and minimize the risk of dropped tasks and human error.
- System users have experienced minimal friction, enabling them to work more efficiently and make faster, better decisions.
- Business leaders have a clearer, more comprehensive view of the company’s finances.
Ultimately, that means our client has been able to deliver a successful finance transformation and achieve their business objectives for the change initiative.