Change Management; Salesforce

Change Management tips from a Salesforce veteran

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Over the last few years Change Management has been getting a lot of attention, what does it mean and why do we care?

People are mostly averse to change, and must overcome it to adopt a new process or technology. From this idea originates the need to manage this change or slowly introduce our user base to new features. These changes may potentially disrupt how they have been doing things and cause them to want to go back to the “usual way” therefore it is important to anticipate and address them. Managing the implementation of these changes effectively is what Change Management is all about.

We as consultants know that it is absolutely critical to train end users so they can use their application to its fullest potential. Any new roll out that doesn’t have some type of training component is not likely to succeed. Training is one such component in the overall Change Management cycle. An organization’s people, its culture, and how things are done are all key inputs for development of a comprehensive Change Management program.

Here are a few simple tips to consider as you roll out your new application.

  • Be honest (and realistic)! Your system, as good as it may be, is not the answer to every problem. Let users know clearly what the app does and doesn’t do. I have seen consultants falling into the trap of pleasing the client and over-selling their system’s capabilities because they don’t want to disappoint. Learn to say “No”!
  • Don’t make decisions in silos. Involve all key stakeholders to get buy-in before moving forward. It has been said many times and I will say it one more time – communication is key, and in my experience, it is better to over-communicate. Use all channels, less is not more!
  • First impressions count! A large scale application should be tested in a smaller pilot setting. While it is tempting to skip the UAT and roll out en-masse, remember that it is easier to address any major issues on a smaller scale.  You want your users to have the best possible experience with their new application. Build up on their excitement, and get them a great first taste.
  • Recruit and educate Super Users, they know the organization (processes) from inside and are in the best position to help their peers. It is not always possible for consultants to master the business flows, yet that knowledge is integral to training, so why not solicit the experts from inside to help? In my experience, we have had the most success with our training programs working side by side with a business end-user (Super User).
  • Insist on talking with users at all levels. It is sometimes easier to design a system with feedback from managers or project liaisons especially when you have external pressures. The argument is that they’ve been there and know the process and “why waste staff’s time” – big mistake! Fast forward to the day of the roll out and you will have a whole bunch of unhappy customers with an application that doesn’t think and work like they do.
  • Create a transparent, collaborative feedback mechanism. I have seen times when end-users are being asked to provide feedback on the application, however there is no good vehicle. One of my favorite apps for this purpose is Salesforce Ideas, which is included in most all Salesforce Editions. You can use a Chatter group or another way, the more collaborative the process the better! Once you start gathering the feedback, make sure you have a Release Process in place to funnel it back into the application. It is important for your user base to see how their input is shaping the system, so once again, communication is key!
  • A few people can hijack the entire implementation, and negatively impact your ROI by prolonging the adoption. Reward individuals that lead the change process, however do not ignore the ones that are resistant. Of course, try to help them understand the organizational vision, and how this new process or technology will benefit them, but be prepared to move forward without them.

Sandeep Banga is the CEO of Acutedge. He started his career as an Architect, loves motorcycles, Pink Floyd and using technology to solve problems for his clients.

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