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Outsourcing Fundamentals

Independent guide to Outsourcing: BPO strategy, Service Provider selection, contracting and implementation projects. Assessing and improving your current service.

Implementation > Change Management

Ensuring a successful Implementation

Consistently, the biggest reported cause of failure of transformation projects relates to people and organisational issues. Change Management is about taking specific action to avoid and deal with those issues. The objectives are to:

  • Help the organisation to adapt to and take on the changes.
  • Achieve the planned benefits and get to target performance more quickly.
  • Deal with issues of staff morale and performance.
  • Minimise performance dip during the changes.

I am covering Change Management in the Implementation section, but actions and preparations are required in each phase. These are:

Strategy: The change management approach is a integral part of the strategy to be developed. How much change will a transformation entail, what will the transition issues be and how will they be addressed? What is the experience of going through significant change in the company. Also, for effective decision making, it is essential to understand who was what decision rights and what their likely position is.

Contracting: Commitments will be made to organisational change and a wider population involved during the contracting stage. Hence there must have been formal consultation and the Change Management approach applied to engage the wider population.

Implementation: Implementation will include reorganisation, changes in roles, introduction of new procedure and redeployment or redundancies. All of these activities should be supported a by sound Change Management approach.

The Change Landscape

Before starting any actions related to change management, you should check whether your company has a preferred set of tools and perhaps even available in-house resources.

I use two diagrams to support my thinking and planning of Change Management. The first provides a landscape of elements which, for good organisational performance, need to be aligned and mutually reinforcing. This can be used to help identify what needs to be changed and realigned to meet the new objectives.

Change Management Landscape

The second is a framework for Change Management action. This framework prompts the sorts of actions helpful as you prepare for a change, execute it and then bed it in.

Change Action Framework

Successful change needs a structured approach paying attention both to the factors for organisations to perform as well as those helping individuals to adapt.

Change Management Approach

At the start of each stage of a programme take time to agree the approach to be taken and align language tools and techniques. Answer the questions:

  • What is the scope of the change being addresses?
  • What needs particular attention to achieve the desired results?
  • How should we organise our activities?

Example Change Management Activities

This is a set of change management actions for use as appropriate and as part of an overall change programme. The description is very high level, but should be sufficient to discuss with your change specialist:

  • Change History Review: Review the organisation's change history to find lessons learned from previous change programmes. Test for knowledge and preconceived ideas about Change Management.
  • Stakeholder Mapping: The objective is to have a better understanding of important stakeholders and stakeholder groups and develop appropriate actions. Having identified who they are, analyse stakeholders by degree of influence on the project outcome and perception of current level of support. Decide which stakeholders need action to gain their support or mitigate their objections etc.
  • Stakeholder Alignment Review: Whereas Stakeholder Mapping is a backroom exercise, the Stakeholder Alignment Review tests views with interviews and or questionnaires. Questions are selected to test service preferences, change readiness and other challenges. The analysis of results can be presented to a steering group to help their understanding of challenges.
  • Decision Rights: The objective is to avoid reaching a decision point and either missing the decision maker or having the decision maker not prepare to make the decision. Make a list of key decisions for the project and the stakeholders. Define the involvement for each decision. Test the matrix with key stakeholders and ensure all the decision makers are aware and comfortable with their roles. Use the analysis to make sure decision makers are prepared in time.
  • Communication Planning: The deliverable of communications planning is a plan of what will be communicated to whom, when and how. It should define the communications channels and style. Questions are
    • Who are the audience groups?
    • What are the communications requirements for each group in terms of content, method and style of delivery?
    • What are the messages we need to communicate to impact the audience group?
    • who delivers, when and through which media?
  • Staff Consultation: As well as being good practice, consultation with staff organisations is a legal requirement in many countries and the process impacts when and how decisions impacting staff can be made. Consultation legislation, practices and their challenges differ by country. HR is usually responsible for consultation and often there is a focal point. Discuss your project with HR early and be aware that your project can be impacted by other projects in or planned for consultation.
  • BPO Perspectives Workshop: Where an important group of stakeholders have not had recent experience of outsourcing, a workshop can raise the awareness of possible service delivery models, their usage across industry and the marketplace for services.
  • Site Visits & Discovery Tours: Some people will accept a target organisation structure having talked it through with experienced experts. Others, particularly for a change as fundamental as outsourcing, will want to see for themselves. Taking even the most sceptical person on a visit to a well run service centre will be rewarding. The services seen need to relate to those being considered and it is better if the client served is familiar and in the same industry. Do prepare well and hold de-brief and evaluation sessions.
  • Risk Assessment & Mitigation: This topic is covered in more depth on the preceding page.
  • Change Impact Analysis: This is a detailed exercise to identify each component of the change and to develop an analysis of the full impact of the proposed change, the requirements and potential issues in order to ensure change planning is comprehensive.
  • Sustaining Performance: More often than not, organisation transitions, including those to BPO cause dips in performance. As well as the obvious challenge of bringing on a set of newly trained people, the client retained organisation are being subjected to change.

Don't forget that these are examples to draw on and not a list to complete!