Get Ready For BI Change

To compete in today's global economy, businesses and governments need agility and the ability to adapt quickly to change. And what about internal adoption to roll out enterprise-grade Business Intelligence (BI) applications? BI change is ongoing; often, many things change concurrently. One element that too often takes a back seat is the impact of changes on the organization's people. Prosci, an independent research company focused on organizational change management (OCM), has developed benchmarks that propose five areas in which change management needs to do better. They all involve the people side of change: better engage the sponsor; begin organizational change management early in the change process; get employees engaged in change activities; secure sufficient personnel resources; and better communicate with employees. Because BI is not a single application — and often not even a single platform — we recommend adding a sixth area: visibility into BI usage and performance management of BI itself, aka BI on BI. Forrester recommends keeping these six areas top of mind as your organization prepares for any kind of change.

Some strategic business events, like mergers, are high-risk initiatives involving major changes over two or more years; others, such as restructuring, must be implemented in six months. In the case of BI, some changes might need to happen within a few weeks or even days. All changes will lead to either achieving or failing to achieve a business. There are seven major categories of business and organizational change:

  1. People acquisitions
  2. Technology acquisitions
  3. Business process changes
  4. New technology implementations
  5. Organizational transformations
  6. Leadership changes
  7. Changes to business process outsourcing or technology sourcing

When organizations decide to implement change, detailed upfront planning puts the framework in place to make that change a success. Project and change management teams work in parallel but have many points of intersection. Project managers focus on aspects like tasks, timelines, and technology, while change managers look at which people will be affected by the change and plan ways to mitigate fear. With any change, no matter how small, do not neglect the people angle by focusing only on the project management aspects of the change. Prosci warns that ignoring the people side of change until employees greet a go-live date with outrage and resistance will result in teams having to go back to the drawing board and rework, redesign, re-evaluate, and revisit the entire effort.

In the modern world, one cannot leave technology to technologists. In BI, this is especially challenging and critical with the added complexity of increased business involvement. Unlike other enterprise technology applications, where business and technology partner, in BI the business owns many BI components and work streams. In the world of BI, technology is everyone's job. Therefore, pay particular attention to several ways in which project leaders differ from change leaders:

  • Project leaders focus on tasks; change leaders focus on people.
  • Project leaders and change leaders work together to integrate their plans.
  • Change leaders are "people persons" with credibility in the organization.
  • Team members have a wide range of competencies but add additional value with a specialty.
  • BI projects are iterative; BI change management is constant and ongoing.

Meticulous preparation for BI change is critical to success. This means creating an awareness of the need for and value of change management. Management often underestimates the effort and resources necessary to implement the change. The end result or business outcome of the change must be explicit and clearly communicated to employees, customers, and partners. Planning includes specific tasks and activities, as well as careful analysis of people management challenges and how to address them. Also, consider that BI projects are different from many technology projects and therefore require special change management considerations. In our recently published report we researched the following key areas of BI organizational change management

  • Identifying who will help make the change
  • Securing a budget to fund and support ongoing change management activities
  • Reaching out to specialists (we reviewed OCM capabilities of top management consulting firms)
  • Making a change management plan
  • Preparing a varied, ongoing communcations plan
  • Developing learning, development and an incentive plan
  • Planning for measuring change management effectiveness

 

 

 

 

 

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Get ready for BI change

Market conditions are changing quickly; firms need to make the best possible business decisions at the right time and base them on timely, accurate, and relevant information from business intelligence (BI) solutions. The repercussions of not handling BI change well are especially painful and may include lost revenue, lower staff morale and productivity, continued proliferation of shadow IT BI applications, and unwanted employee departures. Ineffective change management often lies in the process of preparing the people affected by change rather than in planning the technology implementation. Firms that fail to prepare employees for enterprise BI change early enough or well enough will be left behind. They need to implement a multifaceted series of activities ranging from management communication about why change is needed to in-depth, role-appropriate employee training. 

 
Why change management is so critical? Most strategic business events, like mergers, are high-risk initiatives involving major changes over two or more years; others, such as restructuring, must be implemented in six months. In the case of BI, some changes might need to happen within a few weeks or even days. All changes will lead to either achieving or failing to achieve a business result. There are seven major categories of business and organizational change:
  • People acquisitions
  • Technology acquisitions 
  • Business process changes 
  • New technology implementations 
  • Organizational transformations
  • Leadership changes
  • Changes to business process outsourcing or IT sourcing 
Don't forget to consider that change mangement is not project management. When organizations decide to implement change, detailed upfront planning puts the framework in place to make that change a success. Project and change management teams work in parallel but have many points of intersection. Project managers focus on aspects like tasks, timelines, and technology, while change managers look at which people will be affected by the change and plan ways to mitigate fear. With any change, no matter how small, do not neglect the people angle by focusing only on the project management aspects of the change. 
 
In the modern world, one cannot leave technology to technologists. In BI, this is especially challenging and critical with the added complexity of increased business involvement. Unlike other enterprise IT applications, where business and IT partner, in BI the business owns many BI components and work streams. In the world of BI, technology is everyone's job. Therefore, pay particular attention to several ways in which project leaders differ from change leaders:
  • Project leaders focus on tasks; change leaders focus on people. 
  • Project leaders and change leaders work together to integrate their plans. 
  • Change leaders are "people persons" with credibility in the organization. .
  • Team members have a wide range of competencies but add additional value with a specialty. 
  • BI projects are iterative; BI change management is constant and ongoing. 
Forrester previously set out a general framework of change management activities and best practices in the "How To Get Ready For Change" report. Firms can apply most of these activities and practices to a broad range of enterprise software platforms and applications. Our new report, "Get Ready For BI Change" adds BI-specific context to that framework, describes the components and activities that need to be in place during the change preparation phase, and outlines a step-by-step process for how to implement them.
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Forrester clients across industries report that their existing intranet projects are struggling to find relevance with employees. New approaches put a focus on collaboration, knowledge sharing, curation, and automation. Understand the value of placing employee experience at the center of a refreshed intranet initiative. Have further questions about employee engagement and knowledge management? Schedule an […]
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