What Is Enterprise Change Management?

Change management appears simple, but change is often the most challenging thing to understand in business. In many cases, enterprise change management (ECM) is difficult to implement and maintain.

According to Webopedia, ECM is “the process, tools, and techniques required by an organization to manage the people side of change in the enterprise in order to achieve the expected outcome.” To properly implement change management, the key is simplifying the processes down to the core needs of the organization.

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Types of Enterprise Change

There are several types of organizational change:

Traditional Change

Traditional Change usually occurs in smaller, more defined business units. For example, onboarding new CRM software involves Traditional Change. Traditional methods of change management work well in operational units, but lack the framework and scope to be applied to the business as a whole.

Evolutionary Change

The most common form of organizational change, Evolutionary Change usually begins internally, and takes time to fully manifest and understand.

Revolutionary Change

This change is rapid and usually starts outside the organization. When Revolutionary Change occurs, the power structure of the business radically shifts. It may end in complete reorganization or even closure of the company or business unit.

Directed Change

Directed Change is planning and trying to control events before an Evolutionary or Revolutionary Change happens. Two Directed Changes can occur within an organization, depending on the impetus:

  • Developmental Change: A reaction to perceived Evolutionary Change, this is the process of improving what the company is doing on an ongoing basis. The company commits to continuous improvements in operations, finance, and other areas.
  • Transformational Change: A reaction to perceived Revolutionary Change, this begins with a new vision, changes in the marketplace, new leadership, or an external event that creates a need to transform rapidly. This change often causes uncertainty and stress within the company, but if managed correctly it can be the most beneficial.

Change Management Software

Change Management software can be difficult for organizations to implement and adopt. Many business leaders believe an ECM application will simplify and mitigate common mistakes.

For the most part, an application can help understand the organization, but it is not a solution to everything. When used in conjunction with a solid change management system outlining the transformation in the business, ECM software will be a good ally in running an organization’s goals.

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The Reality of Change Management

Change management is complex by nature. Many businesses begin these efforts with the best intentions and want a tailor-made solution that will resolve everything. Unless the company wants to waste time and resources building a custom software application, the best it can wish for is a third-party solution.

Further, most large corporations have ECM teams; however, many smaller companies don’t. For any size of business, keep these things in mind to help in your change management efforts:

  • Simplify: Do not overanalyze the initiative. Many companies fall into a rabbit hole, especially when there are multiple business areas involved.
  • Divide the effort: Keep the effort manageable, dividing work and resource allocation into stages. If a third-party vendor is involved, ensure your internal team is strong enough to provide push back if needed to keep the work moving forward. There is no one-stop solution!
  • Communicate: Set up timely meetings to inform everyone how the effort is going, and maintain open lines of communication with all stakeholders.
  • Manage time: Remember, change management is a continuous process. New changes will always occur, so be adaptable and comfortable with this fact.

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Kent Barnett
Kent Barnett is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For the past 35 years, he has been an instrumental player in the related fields of business, technology, and entrepreneurship. In the late 1990s, he founded his first company, which was later acquired by a multinational corporation. Barnett relocated to the technology corridor of Northern Virginia, where he has continued to build his expertise while providing advisory services to many national and international companies.

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