A Change Management Formula: ‘TO BE’ – ‘AS IS’ = IMPACT
When I first started my career in consulting (some 15 years ago) a standard element of a system implementation was to understand a client’s current state (‘As Is’) process in order to capture requirements and then develop a future state (‘To Be’) process. Because this exercise was rather lengthy, over time consulting companies began to move away from this approach as a way of saving time and speeding up the delivery of projects. Down but not out for the count, this ‘As Is’ and ‘To Be’ process analysis might have a new home – Change Management.
The Core of Change Management
Understanding the impact of change is a core element of Change Management. How will the implementation of a system fundamentally change the way people do their jobs? How will it change process? Understanding this impact allows plans to be devised and recommendations to be made on what actions to take to ensure a seamless transition. It also creates an opportunity for a project team to engage key stakeholders in order to best address their concerns and perceptions regarding the change. Whether it is formulating a training approach, executing a communication plan or re-structuring an organization, understanding the impact of change allows one to determine the right strategy to pursue. The end result is more attention paid to those people to whom the change will impact the most.
The best way to determine the impact of change is by conducting an Impact Analysis. The goal of an Impact Analysis is to understand where the gaps exist between how things are being done today versus how they will be done tomorrow. Said a different way – comparing ‘As Is’ processes to ‘To Be’ processes. Laying out these process flows side by side literally allows you to see the change that will be occurring. From there, any gaps between the two can be identified and classified into impact types (i.e. process, technology, people, competency, etc.) so that an appropriate transition strategy can be developed.
Commitment to Change Management
For a lot of people ‘As Is’ and ‘To Be’ process analyses are a thing of the past because they require a lot of time and commitment. Effective change management initiatives also require a lot of time and commitment. They require attention to detail and a resolve to understand what the impact of change will be so that impacted groups can be carefully considered. When done right, the end result is end users and groups who are better prepared to work in a new environment and who are more bought into and accepting of the change that has occurred. Yes ‘As Is’ and To Be’ process analyses do take time up front but they will ultimately save you time on the tail end of a project and at go live.