Technology Implementation Does Not a Transformation Make

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transform-234x300From clients embarking on technology implementations, we often hear the expectation of how the implementation will “transform” the organization. Using HR as an example, these expectations may be for HR to enhance its tactical level of service, and/or to enable more effective contributions at a strategic level. However, declaring that an implementation is actually a transformation does not make it so!

A true transformation requires a strong understanding of the non-technology-related areas that can be influenced for the highest impact, and requires rigorous change management throughout. A new technology can improve efficiencies, and availability of data, reporting, and analytics. Most of the benefits of the technology only apply to the direct end users or the functional team. A “transformation” is about changing processes and behaviors, and potentially organizational structure. The benefits of a transformation impact end users of the processes themselves, such as managers and employees.

If what you are aiming for is a broader functional transformation, here are some things to consider:

  1. Be clear on desired outcomes, and what a successful transformation would look like. Audiences love examples they can relate to, the classic “WIIFM”. Be specific. For example, rather than “HR will have more time to partner with the business on workforce planning”, say “HR will meet with leaders semi-annually to discuss how to change the workforce to better align with business strategies”.
  2. Confront the perception of “plug and play” implementations which rely on the technology to drive new processes as a means to avoid the effort of process flow reviews. The technology implementation planning should include a hard look at current processes, to ensure the business requirements are vetted and updated prior to configuration.
  3. Set and manage expectations! This requires communication with the constituents – and it is crucial to listen to the voice of the end customer. It may be great for HR when employee self-service is rolled out, but those employees may feel slighted and left without a human contact; how will that be addressed?
  4. Boldly state some “anchor” transformative changes that will gain attention/support from leaders, users, and end customers. In the most successful HR transformation I have been part of, the VP presented an outline and subsequent updates of what these key changes would be at company-wide meetings/webcasts, to get some “buzz” across many stakeholders.
  5. Do organizational structure and process revisions prior to detailed requirements and configuration planning. The initial technology configuration should reflect the future state processes and organization. If many process and config changes come later, it can be confusing to users/customers, and incubate a perception of a haphazardly configured system.
  6. Seek ways where you can use the technology to support transformation. A common “carrot” for change management is future availability of data and reporting, which also can be overwhelming. Why not take it a step further, show users how that data can be used to make better business decisions?

Do you have any other tips on this topic? – please leave your comments!

Sally Millick

Sally brings a unique holistic view to helping clients achieve their goals in Talent Management. Her career spans positions in talent acquisition/RPO management, HR technology implementations and optimizations, technology and contingent labor vendor management, competency and selection processes, global mobility and consulting operations. She is successful at defining high-level talent management processes, technologies, and change management strategies; tactical plans to achieve these strategies; and hands-on client delivery. With over 20 years of experience in the talent management field, she has served large clients in the Pharmaceutical, Financial, Defense, and other industries.

Topics: Project Management, HR Technology, Change Management, Human Capital Strategy