Posted by: Sarat Varanasi | May 3, 2010

Building Synergies between Organizational Change Management and IT

Traditionally, Organizational Change Management (OCM) teams were setup and managed by the CIO/Program directors when large scale ERP’s were rolled out by organizations. However, the days of rolling out large scale multimillion dollar ERP packages are long gone. So, what do the CIO’s do with the OCM team, Should they disband the OCM team? Should the teams be moved under the COO to handle other major programs?

The OCM teams can be a great asset to the CIO’s organization. They can play a key role in positioning IT as a true business partner and build much needed credibility for the IT organization. Let us examine a few areas where the OCM team plays a critical role in technology deployment and process improvements. These can be simple processes like automation of expense process to complex and in demand tools to integrate and roll out social media solutions.

Rolling out integration between various applications and automating sub processes: it might seem simple but automating a simple process like absence management or automating expense receipt submission process can have a huge impact on the organization. It is not the simplicity of the process that determines the need for change management but the impact across the organization and the number of people touched by the process that determines the need for change management. The OCM teams can play a crucial role in these process from developing and preparing a communication plan, assessing organizational readiness to effective training deployment.


Effective Utilization of the ERP applications: Consider this scenario – Your organization has deployed the financials /CRM/HR application about 6 years ago. Several changes/customizations have been made to these applications, you are not sure if the organization is getting the best value out of the applications. I think in such situations, the OCM team can make a huge difference. The OCM team and IT team can and should partner to understand the overall process changes in the organization, conduct road shows to understand the user feedback on the application ( no point in hiding or running away from the feedback) and develop a comprehensive road map for implementation of changes in applications, business processes.

Partnering with Operations in building operational efficiencies: The COO’s office is on a mission to build operational efficiencies. They want to improve utilization of resources, ensure quick turnaround of projects, reduce the overall expense spend and build stronger delivery organizations. None of this can be achieved without implementing proper tools and technology. Implementing technology alone also does not help in achieving these objectives. It needs effective management of change across the organization, training and careful planning.

Outsourcing Applications: Outsourcing of current applications and application infrastructure needs effective change management internally (within the IT Organization) and externally (to the end users of these applications). The IT team has to be educated on the benefits of outsourcing, the positive impact of outsourcing to their roles and getting a buy in from the team. The stakeholders have to be educated on the changes they are likely to see, how this will benefit their application portfolio, what does this mean to support for their applications and how it impacts their relationship matrix. All of this can be achieved by proactive planning by the OCM team.

Social Media roll out: This surely is on the top of the mind for every CIO. More so if you are an organization attracting young talent. CIO’s cannot roll out or integrate social media applications without a proper understanding of the requirements of the organization at large, balancing of policies and freedom within the organization. The OCM team can help the CIO in understanding the organizational demands, communicating the policies and effectively rolling out or integrating applications.

All in all, change management is the need of the hour. An effective IT organization has OCM activities weaved into their day to day operations. So, if your organization has built an OCM team but is not getting the maximum benefit, now is a great time to review and redefine the engagement process.

Drop in a comment or send me an email at on what you have seen work and how OCM can make a difference.



  1. Thx, Well said!

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