5 change management pillars: Why process mining is a game changer
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5 change management pillars: Why process mining is a game changer

Change management is one of those capabilities that’s most conspicuous in its absence, and often heard straight after the words "a failure of." It makes total sense: when a change initiative goes smoothly, it can be easy to take for granted all the effort and skill that went into making it a success – the work behind the work.

But change doesn’t happen by accident and unfortunately, many people are resistant to it, so when you have an enterprise full of changes, you can imagine how that goes. In this article, we take a closer look at some definitions, obstacles, models and key change management pillars — as well as exploring how process mining is a game changer for change makers.

What is change management?

A useful definition from the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) describes change management as "..the practice of applying a structured approach to transition an organization from a current state to a future state to achieve expected benefits."

It’s the process by which businesses marshal, integrate, and normalize transformations of major organizational components, including:

  • Internal processes

  • Infrastructure

  • Technologies

  • Strategic goals

  • Overarching business culture

Crucially, change management focuses on helping employees adopt and adapt to the changes. More than that, though, it maximizes their buy-in, encourages their participation in the transition, and promotes their acceptance of new business practices.

Obstacles to change and how to overcome them

Insufficient resources or expertise can scupper an enterprise’s change management program. But they’re typically not the biggest obstacle to successful change. We are. Us. People. Like we said at the outset, people aren’t good with change. It can feel uncomfortable and laced with implied criticism of existing practices.

The following are some of the most common people-centric barriers to change, and some pointers on how to overcome them:

Barrier to change: Comfort of status quo How to overcome: Set a purposeful vision, led from the top.

Barrier to change: People aren’t clear on benefits to them specifically How to overcome: Ensure you set out targeted team and role change impacts.

Barrier to change: Teams struggling to implement change / work with new approach How to overcome: Establish high-quality training and ongoing enablement resources.

Barrier to change: Fear of loss of power or control How to overcome: Ensure each manager / team lead is ready (understands change implications) and can cascade this knowledge down.

Barrier to change: Negative experiences with previous change programs How to overcome: Set out a roadmap for change with all change actions visible and foster shared ownership with co-creation from teams.

Read: How Bayer’s process mining CoE enables end-to-end process excellence

What are popular models for managing change?

The time, money, and employee goodwill at stake in major organizational change leads many businesses to shape their change programs according to established, successful models. Of which there are many — each has its own concepts, principles, and methodologies.

While new approaches are evolving all the time, here are ten change management models with a proven pedigree:

In addition, Celonis has compiled some invaluable advice on approaches to leading and driving sustainable change from leaders at Microsoft, IBM and Chevron.

Find out how Autodesk accelerated and enhanced their system migration into a system transformation, saving four to six weeks of project time.

What are the key pillars of effective change management?

Using one or more of these models should help structure your change management program. However, Celonis has also identified five key change management pillars that will help optimize your organizational change strategies and avoid potential system transformation pitfalls.

1. Create a Vision and Secure Cross-organizational Alignment

People's natural resistance to change often means that when you propose a transformation, you're likely to encounter employee push-back or disengagement. To overcome this, it's vital to communicate a clear, compelling vision of what the changes will achieve.

Amp up the benefits of changing the status quo and the dangers of inaction.

Such a vision has to be simultaneously inspiring and attainable. It has to capture a significantly enhanced future (or why change?) but it also has to align with the organization’s or department’s goals and KPIs. Each change should have coherent success measures aligned to individuals' goals. This will help secure the stakeholder buy-in and motivation needed to drive the change management process to a successful conclusion.

2. Establish Stakeholder/User Management

As a change manager or business leader you’re looking to ensure the success of each stakeholder affected by the change. And in any business transformation effort, regardless of size or significance, it's crucial to recognize that multiple groups of people will be impacted. To maximize the success of your initiative, it's essential to tailor your communication and support for each stakeholder group. This is especially vital when introducing or updating software — different users have distinct interactions and purposes.

Personalized communication and support are key in change management. Take the time to understand the specific roles and priorities of each stakeholder or user group. Create a comprehensive stakeholder/user map detailing their unique perspectives, needs, challenges, and success measures. This targeted approach helps ensure smoother transitions and better outcomes.

3. Cultivate Commitment

Early, ongoing and sustained stakeholder support is the wind in the sails of your organizational change initiative. It’s particularly important in large transformation projects with substantial impacts.

Having a ‘change champion’ is invaluable in cultivating this kind of commitment. Find someone who understands the initiative's value and is eager to champion it locally. This person becomes a vocal advocate and a source of expertise on the new processes.

Ensure their active involvement in the change management process to establish a feedback loop between your core transformation team and those directly affected by the changes. This dynamic connection enhances communication and fosters a smoother transition for everyone involved in the transformation journey.

4. Drive Enablement

Getting stakeholders to embrace change is vital. But it’s also just the beginning. For your transformation to succeed, they must execute new practices effectively. And for this you must empower your people with the right tools and the right training.

Offering clear, focused enablement with useful takeaway resources and on-the-job support is vital. Without such resources, your organizational change will struggle to stay on course or reach its full potential.

5. Deliver Effective Communication

Effective communication serves as the cornerstone of a successful transformation initiative, supporting all key aspects of change management. It aids in articulating your vision, gaining stakeholder support, alleviating their concerns, facilitating the transition to new processes, and highlighting initiative achievements, setting the stage for future successes. In essence, clear communication is the linchpin that ensures your transformation journey stays on the path to success.

How does process mining support change management? 

Catalyst, supercharger or game changer — take your pick. All apply when it comes to the impact of process mining on change management initiatives — before, during, and after the transformation programs.

Pre-change program

By providing an end-to-end visualization of business processes and their impact on organizational performance, process mining enables change managers and business leaders to:

  • Identify and prioritize business areas in greatest need of transformation.

  • Understand how current processes actually operate — the actual steps people take, not just the original process design — in order to help design optimized new processes.

  • Quantify and communicate the rationale for change to stakeholders — both the cost of maintaining the status quo and the impact the changes will make.

Download: The Road to Go-Live Handbook for Running a Data-Driven System Migration.

During the change program

With all this information in hand, including clearly articulated processes for each function, process mining helps manage the change process in key ways, such as:

  • It enables cross-business alignment and governance of new processes for each new process improvement. This is not just about standardization but harmonization of processes. Stakeholders get to see and understand their role in the change process and the rationale for new practices.

  • Giving people help and support at the point of need proactively, wherever they are in their transformation journey. Again, tools such as Celonis’ Action Flows can be used to nudge individuals along as they learn new processes and “wizard their way through work”. This stakeholder interaction also highlights where greater levels of enablement training may be needed.

Post change program

Even when the initial change initiative is complete, process mining continues to play an important, multi-faceted role, by:

  • Enabling business leaders to monitor user adoption of new processes.

  • Providing a means to measure (and share) the impact of the changes on business performance.

  • Establishing process improvement by design — with process mining tools in place, even new practices continue to be evaluated and optimized. For example, Celonis’ Business Miner platform enables stakeholders and process owners to continually identify process improvement opportunities.

Process mining helps provide the how and the why in organizational change. It also helps you take your people with you through change programs by harnessing their inputs. As Chris Knapik, Senior Director of Process Transformation at PepsiCo described Celonis’ process mining work with them: “[It] shows our teams a picture of their world they've never known before. It’s a treasure map for our transformation journey”.

Learn from Everest Group how process mining drives continuous process improvement during a system transformation. Get the Everest Group PEAK Matrix® for Process Mining Products.

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Bill Detwiler
Senior Communications Strategist and Editor Celonis Blog

Bill Detwiler is Senior Communications Strategist and Editor of the Celonis blog. He is the former Editor in Chief of TechRepublic, where he hosted the Dynamic Developer podcast and Cracking Open, CNET’s popular online show. Bill is an award-winning journalist, who’s covered the tech industry for more than two decades. Prior his career in the software industry and tech media, he was an IT professional in the social research and energy industries.

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