Twan van der Sloot

The power of a Change Agent Network within a digital transformation

Are you facing challenges in implementing SAP within your organization? Are you finding it difficult to manage the change and ensure successful adoption? We understand the struggles you might be going through, especially in the context of current SAP implementations where Fit-to-Standard is the goal. This means adopting a more standardized software solution, which often requires a more significant change for the people within the organizations. This is where change management becomes crucial and why it is becoming more and more relevant in SAP implementations.

In this blog, we will discuss how our McCoy Change Management team uses the power of a Change Agent Network and how it can make a significant impact on your digital transformation. We will explore the benefits of establishing a Change Agent Network, the key roles within the network and McCoy’s approach.

A Change Agent Network facilitates change

A Change Agent Network is an appointed group of stakeholders within the organization who are informed and empowered to facilitate and drive change. They act as communicators between the change management team and the rest of the employees. Their role involves communicating the need for change, influencing colleagues to embrace it, coaching individuals through the transition, gathering feedback, and celebrating successes. By leveraging the Change Agent Network, organizations can increase the likelihood of successful change adoption and create a communication spine for change.

Key Roles within a Change Agent Network

To maximize the effectiveness of a Change Agent Network, it is essential to identify key roles and responsibilities. McCoy uses these important roles within the network:

Change Sponsors: These individuals are enthusiastic supporters and owners of the project. Sponsors usually consist of senior leadership stakeholders. They sponsor the change by actively promoting the benefits and encouraging their colleagues to embrace the change. Sponsors also define the core reasoning for the change Story and why the change is necessary. They enforce the burning platform.

Change Ambassadors: Change Ambassadors are crucial communicators who ensure successful change by conveying their personal impact to their teams. They also act as liaisons between the project team and their own team, provide feedback, and take direction. By advocating for the change and addressing resistance, they support employees and serve as coaches during their personal transitions.

Change Agents: The role of a change agent involves providing honest and accurate feedback about how the change is perceived by teams. They act as role models by being the first to try out the new situation and create a sense of safety for others. They challenge the solution during user acceptance testing to ensure it aligns with daily operations. Change agents are proactive, strong listeners, and seen as role models within their team.

The Benefits of a Change Agent Network

A digital transformation within an organization is a complex process that requires people to adapt to a new way of working.

A Change Agent Network acts as a crucial support system to facilitate this process. It brings several benefits, such as increased motivation: appointed Change Sponsors in the network support the implementation in their departments from the authority they carry within their team. They promote the advantages of the new system, address concerns, and help to create a positive attitude among employees. This boosts involvement and reduces resistance to change.

Improved communication is another key benefit, as Change Agents serve as a bridge between the project team and end-users. They play a vital role in communicating important updates, training employees, and providing ongoing support during the transition. With their assistance, employees can adapt to the new system more efficiently, minimizing disruption to daily operations.

Moreover, Change Agents are familiar with the specific needs and challenges of their team, being close to the end-users. Therefore, they can provide customized support and address concerns in a way that resonates with the end-users. This personalized approach helps employees feel heard and supported throughout the implementation journey and acts as a bottom-up information source.

Driving Successful Change Management

McCoy Simply Change takes a pragmatic approach to establish a successful Change Agent Network. Proper role appointment is crucial in our approach. We utilize a well-defined set of roles with clear and concrete descriptions, ensuring the right individuals are appointed and understand their responsibilities. This prevents communication gaps and motivates stakeholders to actively participate. We also emphasize the importance of celebration and recognition. By acknowledging the efforts of Change Agents publicly and providing incentives or rewards, we create a positive environment that increases motivation and commitment. Our pragmatic approach anticipates and avoids potential pitfalls, driving effective change within the network.

Some examples from practice we’ve seen are:

  • Thanks to our change ambassadors, we knew very early on that end-users were eager to see a demo. This prompted us to organize our roadshows. We noticed a growing “Awareness” (from ADKAR) was there and end-users were slowly moving to create desire for this new tool.

  • Having key-users per industry made sure that creating “Knowledge” was a lot more in-depth. This allowed us to create specialized training sessions, specific per department. The key-users were involved in the project from the beginning and were familiar with the whole process.

  • The role of the Change Sponsor from top-down is equally as important. The business was not taking ownership of the digital transformation and senior management was not fulfilling its role as Change Sponsor. Through interviews with senior management and actively engaging them with the role of change sponsor within the project we evolved their buy-in into the transformation.

Do you want a successful Digital Transformation?

Want to learn more about the power of a Change Agent Network within a SAP implementation and how it can transform your organization? Get in touch with our Change Management Consultants Twan van der Sloot and Mariam Amiri. We are here to guide you through every step of your SAP implementation journey!