Enterprises are increasingly operating in a dynamically changing and fluid environment. They are constantly changing gears just to keep pace. CXOs are constantly looking for ways to overcome or create disruptions in a world becoming increasingly complex. Infosys Consulting Blog gathers a community of subject matter experts who are driving pragmatic conversations around that which is changing and that which needs to be rethought, redefined and redesigned for enterprises to achieve market-leading performance roadmaps.

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July 22, 2016

Are you Agile?

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What does it mean to implement business transformation and enterprise change in an agile environment?

It requires total integration among program, development and enterprise change teams.  It means that enterprise change deliverables will be just-in-time and fit-for-purpose.  It necessitates rapid improvisation in enterprise change approach and tactics.

According to HBR (May 2016), agile innovation methods have increased success rates in software development, improved quality and speed to market and boosted the motivation and productivity of IT teams.  But, does completing implementations faster and using innovative techniques really help people adopt change and improve quality??

Maybe.

The good news:  agile focuses on people interactions and quick wins over methodologies and processes.  So does organizational transformation and enterprise change!

More good news:  agile moves quickly from requirements à testing à deployment, ensuring faster, less costly and more iterative implementation.  This step-by-step process brings the stakeholders along on the adoption journey.  With early wins and pilot implementations, the business can identify approve implementations with each release. 

Even better news:  agile adapts to changing business conditions and allows for flexibility in project planning. 

Together, enterprise change, the business and implementation teams ensure realization of business benefits with less opportunity for a post-implementation 'gotcha' of misaligned expectations

So, how do classically trained practitioners deliver enterprise change in an agile environment?  You still deliver: 

·         change evaluation and definition,

·         change strategy and plan,

·         executing change program

·         measuring benefits and results and, finally,

·         transitioning to business-as-usual. 

How does all this get done in an agile implementation?  Work longer hours?  Add more staff?  Deliver a less thorough effort?

The answers lie in the strengths of agile:  integrating Enterprise change into the IT development and business review cycles.  By getting everyone on the same team and on the same agenda, the agile implementation brings stakeholders along on the implementation journey, thereby increasing adoption and minimizing post-launch disconnects.

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In a practical application, my high-tech client chose Agile methodology for a transition to CRM Dynamics.  The pilot implementation was the first time this client had ever used Agile and was, in reality, a combination of Agile and Waterfall approaches.  Gathering business requirements used agile techniques, but SDLC was used for implementation (sprints) and feedback loops (testing).  Change Management was engaged late in the pilot launch cycle and, as a result, didn't proactively plan nor engage with business or development teams.  The pilot launch was successful, but only through heroic efforts from the business and engineering teams.

For subsequent implementations, the engineering, business and change management teams were proactively engaged.  This enabled iterative cooperation and partnership throughout the development sprints.  The stakeholder business teams were better informed of the development cycle results, understood the transition requirements and were able to proactively prepare for training and user adoption.  This resulted in a smoother launch, better adoption and less expectation disillusionment post-launch.

Agile doesn't mean skimping on Enterprise Change methodology or using a larger team or working an inordinate number of hours.  It does mean, close partnership and collaboration and integration between all stakeholders to ensure everyone understands the objectives, is aligned on expected results and has 'skin in the game' for implementation and success.  This is our wheelhouse, what we do, the strength and strong suit of Enterprise Change.

March 16, 2016

The Power of Positivity: Change Management using Principles of Positive Psychology

 

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." The saying speaks for itself: find the positive in a tough situation to bring about success.  When looking at people's behaviors, for example, studies have shown that reinforcing good behavior tends to be more effective than punishing the bad. This isn't to say that negative behavior should be overlooked, of course. The principles of positive psychology tell us that focusing on success rather than failure can be a powerful tool to enforce and maintain individual (and ultimately, organizational) change.

Continue reading "The Power of Positivity: Change Management using Principles of Positive Psychology" »

November 23, 2015

How we can become better trainers by learning from children

                 As a relatively recent university graduate, I am acutely aware of how many aspects of my new professional life still retain aspects of being a student.  Sit in on this meeting/lecture, take notes and contribute where appropriate.  Write up this report for the client/professor.  Work together with your teammates/group members to get this presentation ready.  All of these are different ways for us to learn.  If we accept a definition of learning to be "any process that in living organisms leads to a permanent capacity change" (Illeris, 2007)[1], then we as trainers for our clients should be aware of as many tools and methods at our disposal as possible to elicit this capacity change.  Perhaps looking back to what inspired us to learn as children will help us with this task.

Continue reading "How we can become better trainers by learning from children" »

October 20, 2015

Different Ways to Deliver Communications

 

How often do you receive an e-mail and say, "I'll read it later?" Although we have about an eight hour workday, "later" can sometimes turn into, "I'll get to it eventually." So how can we email communication fatigue with our clients? As Change consultants, there are many components when creating a successful communications strategy, but a challenge I sometimes face is delivering the message in an innovative way.

 

On one of my previous projects, the client had several remote sites outside of their base location. There were numerous factors the Change team had to consider when organizing the communication structure. Some factors included timing, since many employees had atypical shifts. Along with communicating to the audience through email, we pitched the idea of communicating through voicemail to all users with a desktop phone. Our recommendation was to have a member of the executive team record a 30-second voicemail reminding users of the upcoming deployment, affecting their area and business unit. This was an effective form of communication because all end-users, whether they worked at the home office or at a remote location, noticed the blinking red light on their desktop phone at the beginning of their shift.

 

At that same client, we pitched other ideas on delivering communications in alternative ways. One example includes incorporating marketing material (e.g., door hangers, posters, etc.) at each location. Along with supplying each location with collateral, we also marketed our message through technology. After receiving many forms of approval, the IT department was able to change all employee screen savers, desktop wallpaper, and television monitors to our electronic marketing message. This method was also an effective way to reach our audience because all end-users are required to login to their work computers to complete their job assignments and all televisions are located in high-traffic areas (break rooms, elevator banks, hallways).

 

 Throughout the engagement, the client seemed to embrace our "new to them," forms of communication vehicles -e.g., using voicemail and electronic marketing collateral. Aligning a successful communications strategy with the client's needs, allowed the Change team an opportunity to incorporate different communication vehicles--which the client grew to accept.

September 21, 2015

3 Ways to Wow the Communications-Averse Client

Most, if not all, companies undergoing large organizational change programs understand the importance of communications. We've all heard clients say, "Communications is key to the success of this project," "Without strong communications, we'll never successfully implement," and "We need to keep people in the loop to get them on board."

"Oh, but we can't tell anyone anything."

Clients may want to communicate, in theory, but in practice become silenced by lack of clarity over the direction of the project, fear of saying the wrong thing or a desire to have everything perfect before making any public statements. Managers tend to underestimate their employees' tolerance for changing conditions and their willingness to be forgiving as long as they're being consistently engaged.

Good communicators know, however, that silence isn't golden. Managers and project leaders who don't consistently communicate risk letting the rumor mill rule the day, and by the time they're ready to communicate, the message and perception of the project is out of their control.

Here are 3 practical strategies to help both dispel the rumors and win over even the most communications-averse client sponsor:

  1. Engage leadership in crafting the messages and delivery. Leaders, change champions and influencers are more likely to help spread messages that they had a hand in creating.

    A Communications Workshop is an effective way to get everyone to align on the project's 3-5 key messages for your materials and branding going forward. It also allows them to give input into how those messages are disseminated. Seed the conversation with questions such as: What 3 things do we want people to know about this project? What are the top 3 benefits of making this change? What about this program is most exciting to us?

  2. Start small and remember: Small wins are still wins. Just because you've built an ambitious, multi-channel communications plan doesn't mean the client will be ready to roll it out.

    If no one will hit send on a weekly email newsletter to the whole company, try breaking the audience down into smaller segments by area or manager, and send targeted messages prioritized by who needs to know what and when. Instead of a large-scale Roadshow, schedule small informational sessions that piggy-back on existing meetings such as team All-Hands gatherings or conference calls. Forego that encyclopedia-sized brochure in favor of an eye-catching and accessible one-page flyer about the project, and point people to a website or resource for more information.

  3. Ask employees what they want to know - and then tell them. Too often, leaders talk at audiences rather than treating communications as a conversation.

    In addition to stakeholder interviews and focus groups, schedule informal one-on-one chats with key employees to talk about what they're hearing, what they want to know and how they'd like to be told. People appreciate the opportunity to be heard, and it gives you a way to discover that great ideas often come from unexpected places. It also allows you to gauge how existing communications are perceived, what's working and what isn't.


    Working with the communications-averse client can be a challenge, but with a little creativity and a lot of perseverance, you'll pry those lines of communications open and give your change program the boost it needs.


Continue reading "3 Ways to Wow the Communications-Averse Client" »

September 12, 2015

Return of the Vampire: Why Classroom Training Won't Die

Remember the dawn of e-Learning and the end of classroom training as we knew it? Some of you kiddos were still in grade school.  Many of us were just hearing rumors of something called the Internet, and how it would bring swift and significant changes to the training and learning industry. In the mid-1990s, the death of classroom training was announced by corporate learning theorists. A few years later, the theorists introduced us to "blended learning", a middle of the road construct whose necessity was determined by the apparent unwillingness of classroom training to "go gently into that good night".  Today the learning industry is abuzz with social learning, mobile learning, micro-learning, story-based learning, and game-based learning, all of which are enabled by the latest technology trends, including social collaboration and big data.  This is all very exciting, very compelling stuff.


Why, then, won't classroom training die?


There are examples of companies taking bold steps into 21st century learning, yet the innovators remain the exception to the rule. Most of the training we deliver around new technology is still based on the old model, driven by an inflexible calendar of training events, rather than an agile learning process designed for adaptation and change. Thus, twenty years after the invention of e-Learning, we continue to build impossible class schedules, print five-inch course binders, and struggle to find (and train) available trainers.


Truth be told, no one really likes traditional classroom training, especially when it's used to teach "end users" (an inhuman name!) how to "point and click" through hundreds of new system screens. No one enjoys a presentation that indoctrinates them into How You Must Do Things Now (with a cursory nod to "What's in it for me?"). Like a root canal, these are accepted as necessary evils, but at least a root canal comes with a sedative! In theory (ah, theory!), no one should endure such an assault upon their minds - to say nothing of their bodies, as managers and training schedulers continue to refer to learners as "butts in chairs".


Our long and unhappy affair with classroom training is traced to 20th century industrial management theory and its obsession with predictability and control.  This powerful paradigm has lingered well into the present century, despite the emergence of progressive business ideas.  People do what their bosses ask them, and if they're asked to produce a predictable set of numbers that tells the Program Steering Committee how many butts are sitting in chairs for how many hours of training, that's what they'll do.


Classroom training is like an ancient vampire that keeps rising from the grave and is very hard to kill. Its power over us speaks to deeper issues of change.  If we cannot think past the old tricks of this creature of night, how can we realize the future promise that stirs in every transformation?  To slay the vampire, we must trick him into the light of day, where his powers fade.  If we want to break the curse (or simply the bad habit) of classroom training by default, we need to spark the conversations that are enabled by a different kind of project and a different kind of thinking. The discipline of Design Thinking might offer just the tools the vampire slayer needs.


Design Thinking challenges our tendency to define problems based on predetermined solutions, in which we follow a standard roadmap to a known destination.  Design Thinking dares us to put away the roadmap.  Seal it in the vampire's crypt.  Lock it tight.  We're going on a road trip, destination unknown. Design Thinking isn't interested in the future we can predict and control. It is interested in the future we cannot see coming, which we cannot entirely master, and it invites us to open ourselves to that unpredictable, uncontrollable future.


With its emphasis on the power of ambiguity and uncertainty as essential conditions of creativity, Design Thinking has profound implications for how we approach training. Sanjay Rajagopalan, VP and Head of Design and Research at Infosys, describes how our need for predictability and control has diminished our vitality as learners:


'We are born learners and explorers, but sometime during our formative years, many of us lose that ability to explore, experiment, and take calculated risks that increase our learning velocity.'


Can you imagine anything that drains our "learning velocity" more quickly than screen-driven classroom training, whose only trace on the management dashboard is a calculation of training hours? Behold the teeth marks on the necks of classroom training participants: we have seen the vampire, and he is us.


We owe it to our clients and our learners to twist free of our dependence on classroom training, so we might fully embrace the (im)possibility of change itself. Many business managers fear to explore social learning networks, persona-based video stories, and interactive game dynamics. Such methods are too unpredictable, too resistant to the structures of command and control.  Yet these same managers are willing to invest millions of dollars on the disruptive introduction of new technologies?


It's time to get serious about slaying the vampire. Van Helsing is coming to your next ERP gig with a new and impressive arsenal.  Forget the stakes and silver daggers.  Get ready for 21st century learning.


To learn more, check out the following blog posts:


Persona-based Learning - http://www.infosysblogs.com/management-consulting/2014/03/engage_your_end-users_with_a_p.html#more

Enterprise Gamification  - http://www.infosysblogs.com/management-consulting/2015/02/What_is_Enterprise_Gamification.html#more


Sources:


http://www.infosys.com/insights/renew-new/Pages/design-thinking.aspx

http://www.infosys.com/insights/on-the-cover/Pages/index.aspx

Continue reading "Return of the Vampire: Why Classroom Training Won't Die" »

August 27, 2015

Industry Insights - New Business Model Trend in Manufacturing

Our clients realize the potential of having "everything" in cloud. This year, the market for cloud services is worth $43 Billion (source: Gartner). Yet clients and consulting firms are confronting a reality. Creating a new business model in cloud while keeping the existing models profitable, making the right calls to decommission a current model and transform into a new model is not in every firm's "success" playbook. To achieve success with new business model in cloud, there are a key prerequisite. As a firm we all need to ask one question to ourselves about what we are offering? We need to ask the same question to the clients we are consulting with and also to our partners. Are we clear on where our clients want to go in the next five years? Is our offering aligned to the client's? Clarity is key, think big, start small, develop a prototype and get going. Once clarity is there, define a four step strategy to create the new business model for our clients. They are:

Step 1: Define a specific business model. For example, in Hi-Tech industry, whenever our clients are selling a "product", they must sell a service along with it so that not only they go to market with an integrated offering but also to ensure that contract renewals happen pretty easily.

Step 2: Define a proper operating model. The operating model must consider four pillars. They are
(i) Delivery capability
(ii) Scale
(iii) Speed
(iv) Governance

Step 3: Define a proper model to co-exist non-cloud organizational blocks along with blocks which can move to cloud.

Step 4: Define a world class customer experience strategy. Our end goal is to offer a "service" bar to our clients. Allow them to pick and choose the services and enablers from the bar.

July 9, 2015

Fun: The Ancient Secret of Successful Training

"Just have fun," is often my first response when people ask for a tip on training. In close to twenty years of delivering training classes I have made many observations and developed techniques that work very well for me, but really it boils down to simply having fun teaching. It works like this: if you are enjoying your job, other people tend to enjoy working with you. When my students are enjoying their time in class they have a much easier time learning. And a happy client means a returning client!


So here we go. To help make this "ancient secret" accessible I'll break down some of the elements I use to deliver a successful, effective, and fun training class.

 

Continue reading "Fun: The Ancient Secret of Successful Training" »

June 25, 2015

Are we underestimating the importance of a well thought Change Management Strategy when developing Communications and Business Readiness deliverables?

One of the first days of my current project I got funny looks when I said: "to deliver this project on time and on budget, we need to incorporate a thorough Change Management Strategy" Some of the comments I received were: "We are not really changing much, it's just a platform upgrade." "Can you just do some nice communication's plan?" "In this organization people easily adapt to changes" "Do not overcomplicate things"

Continue reading "Are we underestimating the importance of a well thought Change Management Strategy when developing Communications and Business Readiness deliverables? " »

June 24, 2015

Stakeholdering, Millenials and Vision

Developing Vision with Millennials in Mind

 

Throughout my career I have had the honor of working with senior leadership teams to develop their organization's vision.  This effort culminates with a vision statement, or an aspirational declaration of what the organization will become over time.  With artistic craftsmanship, this simple phrase serves to inspire, engage and unite all stakeholders across the unit, division or the enterprise (depending on the scope) in their commitment toward a common goal.  As a result of participating in the visioning process, the leadership team agrees upon the future direction, which drives consistency in strategy development, decision-making, and actions throughout the organization.

 

Although 'visioning' has seemingly fallen out of fashion, its purpose is arguably more valuable today than ever.   An increasingly diversified workforce adds to the challenge of engaging, motivating and uniting the workforce toward a shared goal.  While organizations aim for consistency and efficiency, a one-size-fits-all approach can be ineffective in appealing to every individual and engaging them toward change.  And yet, ensuring every employee knows where the organization is headed and how it will get there is fundamental in a strong change strategy.

 

A recent client engagement illustrated just how strongly a vision can satisfy the needs and values of a diverse workforce.   Struggling to agree on a statement that captured the future direction of the organization, a frustrated leadership team nearly gave up on the effort entirely.   The mere mention of the term "vision" was met with overt resistance among some of the members and was viewed as a fluffy, nice-to-have, but "not a business necessary endeavor" by others.  Ironically, the same leadership team repeatedly shared the goal of becoming the "employer of choice" and the destination employer for fresh talent entering the workforce (millenials).  I leveraged this desire to attract and retain young, cutting-edge talent as a way to re-frame the importance of their visioning effort, re-engaging the team toward a final push that resulted in a shared vision for the organization. 

 

Some of the characteristics that differentiate millenials from their preceding generations include:  a need for meaningful work, a heightened sense of optimism, a yearning to give back to society and make the world a better place.  And yet, a large portion of this generation is either just beginning their professional journey, or under the legal age of employment.   Since world-changing outcomes are less likely a direct result of work performed in junior positions or entry-level jobs, linking the contributions of these roles to something greater can provide an indirect way to satisfy these millenials' needs.  As such, compelling visions may be more important way to bridge this gap.   One can easily get lost in the banality of exacting precision in spreadsheets if goals are not aligned to those of the broader organization.  But, even the most mundane tasks can take on greater importance if every employee's contributions advance something important such as "A just world without poverty"1 or "A world where everyone has a decent place to live"2. 

 

In the client experience I referenced earlier, re-framing the vision's importance in light of the target population for recruitment efforts brought about renewed momentum and enabled the leadership to finish developing their vision. It also gave me an opportunity to reflect. 

 

As I support leaders and their client organizations through change, I don't always get the opportunity to support the visioning process.  But, most change and transformation efforts require a solid understanding of the needs, desires and fears of various stakeholders - whether it's for the purposes of developing key messages and content for communications, or approaches to training and knowledge transfer.  Now, I'm not suggesting further segmenting stakeholders by generation, any more than I would advocate further distinguishing whatever stakeholder groups we identify by gender, marital status or any other classification.  I am suggesting that being mindful of generational differences adds another lens by which I can advance my understanding of stakeholder needs, and thus improve my chances of appealing to, or reaching a greater number of individuals.  It is only by creating compelling key messages and delivering them in a way that resonates with everyone, that I can effectively make change happen - one individual at a time.   Embracing the different values and needs that distinguish the generations might help me get just a little bit closer to reaching this goal.

 

1 Oxfam's Vision

2 Habitat for Humanity's Vision

June 5, 2015

The Politics of Change

With another presidential campaign season upon us, I'm reminded of a quote I read about 10 years ago, by a film producer:

If you really want to change the world, don't go into politics. Make movies.

As a public relations consultant with some experience shaping public opinion, I had my doubts about this notion. While film can certainly introduce ideas, its influence is limited by the one-way flow of communication. To inspire audiences to action, you must do more than simply present to them. You must listen, and listen well.

Continue reading "The Politics of Change" »

May 27, 2015

Move over "seat time" - Competency based training duration is here

Hello Readers,

I have penned down a few thoughts that occurred to me on the topic of how long an e-learning module should be.

We find ourselves asking this question quite often: Is seat time for an e-learning module still a necessary metric?

As the training industry progresses and new advancements happen, the trend is to pass on more controls to the learner. After all, the learner is supposed to be in charge of his/her overall learning experience and it is the learner who should decide how long he/she needs to get trained on a particular topic!

Continue reading "Move over "seat time" - Competency based training duration is here" »

May 19, 2015

4 key reason why you need Enterprise Change in your Information Management solution

So, you've implemented your ERP and your company is successfully processing data and collecting information.  What's generally left out are the required people and organizational transformations needed to maximize the use of data, web reporting and social media analytics.   Organizational Transformation experts can help!

Continue reading "4 key reason why you need Enterprise Change in your Information Management solution" »

February 20, 2015

What is Enterprise Gamification?

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Enterprise Gamification - No, it's not the next social game like Angry Bird or Candy Crush or Words with Friends that you would play on your smartphone or tablet.   However, Enterprise Gamification does borrow from these social games their design features and game mechanics (i.e. awarding points, badges, levels of achievement and leader boards) which are used to keep gamers motivated and engaged, as well as reward their behavior, activities and continued play or engagement. Enterprise Gamification is the application of game design principles in the context of the enterprise to improve user engagement.  Now, I know what your are thinking: "these 'game mechanics', as you call them, will only distract my customers, employees and business partners from what I really want them to be doing, like shopping on my online commerce site, or entering data into my customer relationship management application in a timely and accurate manner, or sharing information on my raw material fulfillment orders properly." Actually, you are partially right in that these are exactly the type of business behaviors, activities, metrics and key performance indicators that enterprise gamification is designed to address.   

Continue reading "What is Enterprise Gamification?" »

March 10, 2014

Engage your end-users with a "Persona-based Learning Approach"

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In an earlier blog, I wrote about "engaging your end-users" in the transformational journey from start to finish.  I explained that by doing so you would help to drive ownership and adoption among your end-user groups.  In another earlier blog, I pleaded with you to stop clinging to outdated train-the-trainer and point and click application simulation based learning as these approaches have not kept paced with the speed of change and the ways end-users REALLY learn and want to consume learning content.  In this blog, I am going to share with you a new method of learning I call "Persona-based Learning" that brings end-user engagement and adoption to a whole new level.  Persona-based Learning is about putting the learner (end-user) at the center of the transformational journey through the use of real life business scenarios brought to life through short, engaging, high impact animated videos.

 

Continue reading "Engage your end-users with a "Persona-based Learning Approach"" »

July 26, 2013

No More Train-the-Trainer....PLEASE!!!

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No more train-the-trainer....please!!! What does this mean?  It means that based on industry experience this method of training is outdated, over-used, fails to deliver the necessary user adoption and is a lazy attempt to check the box on change management and training. 

Continue reading "No More Train-the-Trainer....PLEASE!!!" »

July 1, 2013

Winning at Enterprise Social Media in 5 Steps!!

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In the movie "Field of Dreams," the main character hears a voice in his cornfield whispering "If you build it...he will come."  While this made for great family entertainment, this phase has no place in the implementation of new business processes and technologies such as ERPs, CRMs, or even Social Media Platforms.  "If you build, (he) they will come" is at best wishful thinking.  No, don't be naïve and think that just because you built it the people in your organization will actually use it.  This is especially true with Enterprise Social Media platforms.  Read on to learn how our Organizational Change Management consultants can help bring the "context" and best practice engagement methods to your Enterprise Social Media deployment that will drive user adoption!

Continue reading "Winning at Enterprise Social Media in 5 Steps!!" »

June 14, 2013

Let's get engaged!!

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Traditionally, the engagement period prior to marriage gives the couple time to learn about each other's likes and dislikes, their histories and their goals in life, and to begin creating shared experiences.  Many believe this period sets the marriage on a course for long term success!  Hmmm, sounds kind of like what our change management consultants do with our clients when we engage with them on their business transformation journeys. 

Continue reading "Let's get engaged!!" »

September 24, 2012

Let Go of My Levers!

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Morten T. Hansen has an intersting post at HBR Blogs entitled "Ten Ways to Get People to Change".  Each of the ten ideas is compelling (and apparently well researched), as is Hansen's advice to use all of them, not just one or two.  Yet I cannot help but feel uneasy about the implicit (and surely unintended) hubris in the very title of his post.

Continue reading "Let Go of My Levers!" »

August 14, 2012

Social Media and Change Adoption

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Nisrine Kaderbhay's blog post "Why are Businesses Afraid of Social Media?" argues for the market-facing value of social media as a way to build community with customers and prospects.  Another aspect of the social media debate is the use of social networking tools within the organization. 

Continue reading "Social Media and Change Adoption" »

June 27, 2012

Change Management and the Taste of Vanilla

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Bob Bellantine's excellent post on the perils of out-of-the-box ERP implementations,  "What does vanilla taste like?", resonates with my own recent experience on a non-ERP engagement.  In this case, we are helping the client migrate to a standardized document management system.  While not an ERP transformation, the program is complex and global in scope, involving a host of regional implementations.

Continue reading "Change Management and the Taste of Vanilla" »