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Change management is as much about the people as it is the processes

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’ve found a new piece of software you know will make a big difference to how your business runs, you go through the entire process of procuring it, then you watch it fizzle into nothing because people don’t adopt it.

It’s a story as old as time, and the entire reason change management exists. The typical change management mission: set up a center of excellence to aid with education, user adoption, and execution around a new way of working. So in the end the company gets a good ROI, and the people using it do their job better than before. Driving more value, wasting less time, money, and resources.

But how do you actually go about managing change? We thought we’d sit down for a conversation with one Celonis customer and champion who has really mastered the art: Timo Peters. The Bayer Group CoE lead is currently driving process mining user adoption with some incredible results — following a period doing the exact same at Nokia.  

How to get people excited about change 

One of the most important things to realize early on, is that change management is as much about the people as it is the processes and/or tool, said Peters.

"If the organization or the individual isn’t familiar with how to create value with the new capabilities, then it isn’t enough to just teach people how to use the tool. They can click around, but they won’t know what to actually do with it or how to create value. They won’t keep using it, and you won’t get any value."

So you need to zoom out a bit, and start with why this tool is important, why it should matter to them, what benefit it will deliver to them — either as an individual or for the organization.

And this is where feelings come into the mix. According to Peters, change is not a negative, and doesn’t need to feel like one.

"Holding onto things gives us a false sense of security and stability. But change is in our nature. Changes are necessary to secure the future we want. Change is unstoppable in life."

"What we need to do is to raise awareness for the need for change, and create the desire to drive and contribute to the change. Driving and contributing to change puts us in control of the change and lets us shape our own future," Peters continued.

Putting people in control is one of the key ways to drive user adoption. With software like process mining, Peters said it’s easy for people to feel blamed. You show them a process that is inefficient, and the way to fix it, they feel like they’ve done a bad job.

But he says if you make their process transparent and ask them what they see, what they need to change to make their life easier, they take control, suggest fixes themselves, and feel empowered to drive value and change for the better. 

Build a framework for the change management process

To drive user adoption at the scale large enterprises need, it isn’t possible to create a custom experience for each individual. That’s why Peters and his team have created an onboarding process using the ADKAR® framework:

  • Awareness

    • Raise the awareness of the need for change and the benefit of it

  • Desire

    • Create willingness to drive or contribute to the change

  • Knowledge

    • Teach the team how to execute the change

  • Ability

    • Implement the required skills and behaviors

  • Reinforcement

    • Create a self-perpetuating cycle where people see results and want to learn more to see more results

If someone successfully works their way through the entire process, they become a powerful regular user that drives continuous improvement and value, Peters said.

Now here’s where it slightly becomes a snake eating its own tail. Peters actually used process mining to analyze the change management process for helping people adopt process mining. It’s okay if you have to read that sentence a couple of times.

By using process mining on the ADKAR framework, he saw where people were dropping off, and could make changes so that people continued through the stages and became champions of their work, driving benefits for the company.

What kind of results do you get from good change management?

Peters’ methodology really works. Over the last 12 months, Bayer has gone from 278 Celonis users to more than 2,500. From 1,500 logins per month to greater than 12,000. And according to Peters, there’s a direct correlation between number of active users and amount of value.

“It’s simple math. If one person finds insight and executes on it, it’s like finding one gold nugget, you get ‘value X’. If one hundred people are finding insight and executing on it, you get ‘value X’ times 100.”

If you’re keen to hear more about how Peters set up this system, make sure you attend Celosphere this year where he will give more insider details and practical tips to drive user adoption.

Andrew London Headshot
Andrew London
Senior Content Marketing Manager

Andrew London is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Celonis. He specializes in both strategy and execution, helping with positioning and messaging at one end, while getting his hands dirty producing content at the other. He learnt how to do all this working with some of the biggest names in B2B tech at Velocity Partners — being part of the team that helped them win The Drum Agency of the Year award during his time there. Before that he cut his teeth working for SEO powerhouse TechRadar where he proudly held the top ranking position for “Best gadgets”.

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