How change management can ensure a successful S2P implementation

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According to Gartner, only one-third of organisational change initiatives succeed. More than ever, living in the era of digital procurement transformation, it is crucial for change managers to understand the real effects on end users and how to deal with resistance to change.

Change Management is defined as the approach taken to prepare, support and help individuals, teams and organisations successfully implement change. Embedding new ways of working in an organisation is a key component in the implementation of a new Source to Pay system. If delivered successfully it can make a good implementation transformational.

Getting the technical aspects of a new procurement system right is often relatively straightforward, but the impacts of change on people can be neglected. The following principles should drive how you develop your change management plan:

  • Lead with the culture – align your methods with the organisation’s ways of working

  • Start at the top – advocate senior management to champion the project

  • Involve every layer – engage with all affected staff

  • Make the rational and emotional case – to energise participants

  • Engage, engage, engage – before, during and after go-live

  • Leverage formal solutions – use existing communication channels, as well as adding new ones if needed

  • Leverage informal solutions – engage in ‘water cooler’ conversations

  • Assess and adapt – be ready to change approaches which aren’t reaching people.

Based on our experience, we propose a three-phase model for a smooth procurement change management process: Preparation, Management and Maintenance.

1. Preparation phase - understanding the nature of the changes that are coming and making sure that there is a plan for supporting all the people affected by those changes. Successful delivery of a Source to Pay change plan depends on detailed preparation. Make sure to paint a clear picture of what changes will be made, why they are happening, who is affected by them and then proceed to define your change plan and vision. Every organisation is different. You need to review and understand your organisation’s view on change, its ways of working, and align the Source to Pay project with the organisation’s culture. The final part of the preparation phase is about understanding who will be impacted by the planned changes and deciding how to manage their involvement. Download our eBook and discover the matrix we propose for stakeholder analysis.

2. Management phase - delivering change throughout the organisation and its suppliers. Delivering a Source to Pay change plan is all about communication. Engagement with all participants and others affected by the project will help people to understand the change, embrace it and even become an ambassador for the new business model. Use tools you already have in place to inform and engage, both internally and with suppliers, adding new channels where appropriate. Regular reviews of a risk register will highlight any shortcomings in the approach and enable agile solutions to be deployed. Your stakeholder analysis and impact assessments will have provided a basis for the communications, training and coaching needed prior to going live, and during the cutover to the new S2P system.

3. Maintenance phase - continuing support for people, learning the lessons and measuring the level of success. The final phase of the change plan starts once the S2P system has gone live. If you have determined criteria for measuring success share the targets and the journey towards achieving those targets to gain a shared ownership and sense of achievement. Keep the momentum going by ensuring that new processes are incorporated into onboarding programmes, by seeking results and by asking what is missing and how can the organisation provide it.

Even otherwise competent projects can fail if change is not managed effectively. A clear vision of the reason for the changes and an effective plan for helping individuals on the journey to a new Source to Pay business model can make all the difference. Detailed preparation will enable you to build a change plan that is aligned with your organisation’s culture and increase your likelihood of success.

Ultimately, the aim of a procurement change management process is to ensure that the new S2P business model is implemented as expected and with no disruptions so that it increases employee engagement and productivity and the overall procurement function’s success.

If you want to learn more about running an efficient procurement change management programme, download our eBook.

This eBook is the fourth chapter of “The Ultimate Guide on Source to Pay Implementation”. The guide is a 12-part series developed by Xoomworks Procurement experts to help companies on their procurement transformation journey. Sign up to receive our 12-part guide.