Afiniti Insights

The Importance of Change Impact Assessments – SAP S/4HANA Focus

Regardless of the type of change being deployed in an organisation, the change impact assessment (CIA) is a critical activity that will contribute towards making change stick.

Impacted stakeholders want to understand “What’s in it for me?”, the change impact assessment uncovers this information and supports planning change interventions which will increase the probability of project success. Identifying and communicating what’s changing at the right time prepares people and allows them the opportunity to process what the change will look like for them. This can lead to:

  • Increased speed of adoption, utilisation and proficiency with regard to the new ways of working
  • Reduced hidden costs, such as the need to retrain people who haven’t bought into the change at an early stage
  • Building internal change capability by coaching the client to start thinking through a change lens, enabling them to better manage future change initiatives on their own.

Project Overview

A global energy company investing in a connected ERP solution to harmonise their global ways of working engaged Afiniti as the business change partner to support the UK Business Unit.

Our CIA Solution

High-Level CIA

Initially we supported the client to identify and assess impacts across the dimensions of process, people, organisation, systems and data at a high level.

The high-level change impact assessment represented the average magnitude of change across functional business areas.  This was a great tool to support initial communication and engagement with impacted stakeholders and allowed for the change management team to be correctly resourced for the next stage of the project.

There was still much work to be done to uncover what change would look like for specific teams and roles, the high level change impact assessment provided the baseline to progress to the detailed change impact assessments.

Detailed CIA

Working in partnership with the client team to uncover the change impacts at the individual role level, we:

  • Drew on the client’s technical and process knowledge and experience of their business areas
  • Reviewed project artefacts, such as process design documents
  • Conducted workshops to consider the technical input from a people perspective

The detailed impact assessments were captured and baselined in a Change Workbook, which was the source of truth for all change management related data and will be regularly updated throughout the life of the project.

The value our change impact assessments added

1. The foundation of the change interventions

The change impact assessments form the basis of what we need to communicate, inform and educate people on to support the successful transition of people from the current to future ways of working. The change impacts supported the delivery of a number of interventions, including:

  • Raising initial awareness about the project – highlighting the main changes across the organisation
  • Building the learning curriculum and developing course materials.
  • Establishing an Adoption Network bringing together a community of change champions who will support their business areas through the change

Going forward, the impact assessments will support the recommendation of roles that will be built into personas and will provide input to change impact workshops to bring the changes to life for highly impacted roles before attending training. The data captured in the assessments will also provide important input into future targeted messages.

Through understanding the change impacts, we were able to identify and reach out to teams and roles facing radical and major change to see how they currently felt about the transition. We ensured these Managers and teams were added to the Stakeholder Engagement Plan so that we can continue to support these individuals in their change journey. We will continue to monitor highly impacted teams to identify change resistance and change fatigue.

3. Identifying gaps in the current project deliverables

An inadvertent benefit of the impact assessments for this client was identifying gaps in solution and process design.

  • We uncovered over twenty changes that could not yet be assessed due to:

– unfinished design and build across S4/HANA and integrated systems

– lack of direction/ agreement regarding the organisation’s future processes and ways of working

The project team can now work on progressing these to completion in readiness for finalising the baselined impacts.

4. Focusing the client on thinking about change from the individual perspective

The impact assessments enabled the client team to begin to really think about benefits and challenges at both the functional and the individual level. The focus moved from emphasising the benefits the project would bring to the organisational, to looking at it from a people perspective. We now have an engaged client team who understand the importance of putting people at the front of centre of everything they do.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your organisation with its SAP S/4HANA business change challenges and opportunities, please email us Alternatively, you can complete the enquiry form found on our ‘Contact Us’ page and we will get back to you.

Written by Celia Pitt

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