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Organizational Change Management in the Real World

As part of the journey to become World Class at Schuff Steel, we committed to improving our organizational change management program and methodology. Organizational Change Management is a high priority because of the impact we knew it would have to the organization. We realized this would be critical due to the amount of change we were forcing upon Schuff by replacing most of the business systems with best of breed solutions. For example, we are implementing a new financial reporting system (Tagetik), ERP (Microsoft Dynamics AX), Payroll (Hitachi PAY//AX), Time and Attendance (Kronos), and CRM (Microsoft CRM). Additionally, we will be replacing our MRP system as an encore.

This is radical change for an organization that has been on the same set of business applications for over a decade. Additionally, Schuff was recently acquired by HC2 Holdings Inc., which is bringing on the additional requirements to become SOX compliant. This is a lot of change!


I recently had the opportunity to tell the Schuff story of Organizational Change Management at an event sponsored by MSS Technologies, since they are our Organizational Change Management partner. I will let the slides tell the story below, but here are some key points:

  1. Recognize the need for organizational change management
  2. How to sell OCM to the executive management team
  3. Defining the scope, goals, and financial benefit
  4. Specifically how OCM has been applied to 2 key projects at Schuff Steel

The OCM story is definitely not complete at Schuff, but I am very happy with the impact that it is having on two key projects. For example, Schuff and MSS created a training program and methodology as part of our Kronos implementation that has lead to some of the best end-user adoption and positive feedback than I have seen on any IT project in my career. The training program will be applied to all subsequent IT projects. The other key OCM strategy that lead to success on this project was early and successful stakeholder engagement.

While it is still early in the process for our ERP project, OCM is already having a positive impact by helping achieve engagement throughout the organization, and by identifying and reducing key risks associated with the project.

To summarize, Organizational Change Management should be a key part of every IT project that you deliver. The size of the project will determine the level of effort needed for OCM. Another key is to know your organizations limitations when it comes to OCM. For large projects, use a partner with a proven track record in OCM. If you try to deliver OCM in-house, or utilize an ineffective partner, it is really easy to end up with OCM templates filled out that have no real impact to the project. OCM is a capability that takes time to develop, just like any other organizational or IT capability. Additionally, some of the messages that will need to be delivered to your executives are sometimes better heard from a consulting partner. Remember one of the key reason you use business consultants – to tell you what you already know about your organization!


About Michael Weaver

Mike is CIO at DBM Global and startup enthusiast. DBM's portfolio of companies include Schuff Steel, PDC, BDS VirCon and Aitken Manufacturing.


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