The 4 Phases of an Effective Change Management Plan

Expert advice when changing to a new compliance service provider

Thinking of making the move over to a new compliance service provider can seem like a tedious project to tackle.

However, compliance organizations are tasked to find innovative ways to track and manage compliance initiatives, which may require a change in vendor partnership. When considering a change, organizations should review implementation and change management processes of their potential partners to ensure that the transition goes as smooth as possible.

A few essential items to consider before you begin building your change management plan:

  • Who makes up your change control board? These individuals will be responsible for approving/rejecting each change request
  • Identify your central change log. This will be used to collect and track all performance changes to evaluate your success over time
  • Create a centralized change request form. This will be used to standardize all change requests.

An example of an effective implementation and change management plan, includes 4 Phases:

1. Strategy and Planning Phase of the Change Management Plan

Implementation Overview

Kicking off the project between your organization and the new service provider is the first step to a creating a successful partnership and making a successful organizational change.

The Project Manager at your new partner organization should be prepared to have a detailed discussion around project overview, requirements and associated timing/milestones, also known as the project baseline. All team members should discuss what a successful change looks like and assign change management roles.  A detailed project plan should be derived from these initial conversations and reviewed regularly with the project team.

Last, regularly scheduled status meetings are a great way to make sure both teams are aligned as the Go-Live date approaches.

Organizational Change Management Plan Considerations

  • Company culture
  • Approval processes within the change management team
  • Existing business process and technologies
  • Success criteria, desired outcomes and timelines

2. Configuration and Testing

A test or trial environment is a great option for organizations to utilize in preparing and testing the technical configuration setup such as Single Sign On, legacy data migration and HR data uploads.

You can also take advantage of this test environment to give your administrative users practice in the application.  Many times my customers will run through test scenarios to help them tweak their policies and processes and align them to the new software.

Change Management Plan Considerations

  • Map business and technology changes
  • Configuration and alignment with new processes and technology changes
  • Testing, approvals and sign-offs

3. Product Training

Practice makes perfect, right? Training is a must and should be scheduled with the appropriate administrative users of the new application immediately to walk through the new software and any process changes that come with the adoption of the new software.

Training should be detailed and focused on the specific parts of the application.

As an example, I like to separate configuration training from the management of the individual modules in Convercent.  Also, I train hotline and case management administrators separately from those who are managing the Disclosures within your organization.

Additionally, training and reference materials should be made available for review.  Convercent uses a customer support portal to serve as an online repository of onboarding and reference materials, knowledge base articles and training assets.

Considerations for an Effective Change Management Plan

  • Training on new business processes and technology changes
  • Exposure to support services and contact

4. Communication Plan and Rollout

As I’ve discussed, change management can be tough, but your new partner should provide insight and feedback on rollout communication strategies.  Additionally, it’s helpful for you to share how new technology is typically introduced within the organization.

For example, a current tech customer of ours utilized an all-hands, video conference meeting for the CEO to introduce Convercent as the company’s compliance tool.  That was followed up with an email blast to employees, which included a video for viewing, rather than a lengthy email.

Change Management Overview

  • Execute Communication Plan
  • Rollout new services and enhanced business processes
  • Re-communicate any updated policies related to the new technology or processes

Once a new service provider has been chosen, the project should be viewed as a partnership in which both teams are equally as invested in the success of the rollout.

The Project Manager should keep the project plan on track all the way through implementation and create an environment of open communication.  I always work with customers to create checkpoints to review successes, concerns, collect feedback and create a plan around corrective action, if necessary.  Although the implementation phase may be over, the lifecycle of the partnership has really just begun.