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Are You Short-Changing Change Management (CM)?

Using methodologies that were perfected two or three decades ago, Organizational Change Management (OCM) applies a structured approach that increases the probabilities that change projects will be implemented smoothly, successfully, and with long-lasting results.  While the importance of change management as a discipline has been proven, formally using in-house experts in change management in Shared Services doesn’t always happen, even though a solid change management process is arguably a required design element for any Shared Services initiative.

Many are familiar with and use the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle created by Deming. Unfortunately, the human dimension of change exists, where managers and employees buy-in and support new processes, systems, or technologies, with an understanding of the fears and anxieties that change will bring, even when it is perceived as being overwhelmingly positive.  As discussed in Wikipedia, “organizational change management aligns groups’ expectations, integrates teams, and manages employee-training”.   It includes communicating the reasons and benefits, and identifying and responding to resistance that can come through formal or informal channels.

Peeriosity’s iPollingTM functionality was recently used to perform custom research in the Shared Services Leadership research area to learn directly from other member companies how they were using change management resources in Shared Services.   A member who is part of a large global company with a mature and advanced Shared Services organization created the questions.  His title, “Global Change and Transformation Lead”, and his background – a degree in public relations and business communications, and a career in Corporate Communications, shifting to focus on global change and transformation – suggest a very unique and specialized skill set. 

The reason for the iPollingTM  questions was to learn directly from peers how they were approaching change management.  Unlike traditional benchmarking, results were captured over a few days and were available in real-time as they were posted, providing direct visibility to how member companies responded, with the ability for the person asking the question, and others, to follow up directly with responding peers to further explore differences in approach and design using Peeriosity’s integrated Peer MailTM  capabilities.

The results indicate that 74% of companies engage in change management resources, with 26% of companies having professional change management resources that are part of the Shared Services organization, 4% who use internal change management resources that aren’t part of Shared Services, and 44% who use a combination of internal and external change management resources.  Only 26% indicated that they don’t have professional change management resources on their project teams.

When looking at the number of investments companies have made in building change management capabilities, interestingly only 7% indicated that they had made a significant investment in staffing this role and training relevant employees, with 30% making a modest investment.  An additional 26% have focused on training relevant employees, with no formal designation of a change management role, while 11% are just getting started by considering options for staffing the role, but no training has taken place so far.  Finally, 26% indicated that they have made little to no investment in staffing the role or training employees.

Debating if it’s a good idea to include change management resources in Shared Services is a little like arguing over whether or not the world is round or flat.  The answer is clear the positive outcomes from paying attention to change management are beyond dispute.  The important question is what level of risk is Shared Services willing to take by potentially under-funding this critical element of any change project?

Here are a few of the comments from responding companies:

  • Our organization is just beginning to realize the importance of change management done the right way. Over the last 18 months, we began to ensure that professional change people are assigned to and work with all of our project teams and operational leaders. In the past, we had left this critical task to project teams and business people with little to no change in education.
  • Since we are implementing new software for Order to Cash, the company has hired change management personnel to help with the transition.
  • We use a combination of both internal & external resources.
  • My response applies to our North America Shared Services organization. We do have a dedicated change management resource for a large global project, but no dedicated CM resources within the baseline teams.

Does your company formally include change management resources in Shared Services?  Can an increased investment in change management be a catalyst for significantly better results?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated e-mail system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participate in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.


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