Effective Business Change – Part 2: Driving Continuous Stakeholder Alignment

Lionel Grealou Digital Platform PLM 3 minutes

Image Credit: PEXEL

As introduced in part 1 of this two-part post series, change is the new constant. Broadly speaking, acknowledging, preparing, managing, adopting and reinforcing the change are the high-level steps that any organization or change initiative repeatedly go through. Internal and external factors contribute to driving change at multiple levels, engaging with a variety of stakeholders across the enterprise. Successful change management involves understanding where to start, effective stakeholder management, risk mitigation, continuous business case management and communication.

In part 2, we elaborate on how to manage effectively the steering committee, how to establish open and transparent reporting on implementation progress, how to measure delivery performance, assess and mitigate deployment risks, how to manage supplier performance and vendor relationships. 

Balancing business and technical expectations

Cascading business requirements into technical solution element design is the main role of the PLM Solution Architect. It involves conversing with both business and IT functions, from internal stakeholders with limited knowledge of PLM principles and modern platform capabilities to technical implementation teams.

A core skill of PLM Solution Architects is about simplification for business stakeholders to understand and adapt “best practice” to their context, help leaders define effective organizational change roadmaps, lead data integration, drive transition into new ways of working while making the most of new PLM platform’s capabilities (including, but not limited to, leveraging cloud infrastructure and opportunities from SaaS operating models—where relevant).

Effective business change includes communicating effectively about the roadmap, its business and IT implications.

Leveraging storyboards and use cases

Change starts by acknowledging and accepting the need to do things differently. Documenting current problem statements and new requirements can be accelerated and kept simple through business storyboards and use cases.

Such artefacts are critical communication tools to align stakeholders:

  • Business alignment on what needs to change and why, who will be affected, etc.
  • IT alignment on how the PLM platform will be used, and how it will be implemented based on technical requirements and the need to minimize business disruption.
  • Organizational alignment on the “change curve”, what people will need to learn, adapt to new processes and tools.
  • Vendor and implementation team alignment on how to configure and integrate the new solution.

Effective business change includes communicating effectively about the business case, expected benefits, new ways of working and learning, how the PLM platform will facilitate improved operations—and how these improvements will be implemented.

Choosing the relevant delivery framework

Delivering the change roadmap implies ongoing assessment of scope, complexity, looking at maturity of the organization, its processes, its legacy data, how it trains its people, to what the selected platform can provide.

The implementation team must adopt the most suitable deployment model, such as waterfall or agile / scrum methodologies to deliver the change in the most effective contextual manner.

Effective business change includes designing, building, testing and deploying the new solution while fostering business engagement, delivering quick-win outcomes, and continuously keeping in mind the long-term objectives.

Selecting new PLM platform and building vendor relationships

Whether they need an upgraded or brand-new PLM platform, organizations need to assess new tools and technologies on an ongoing basis. This involved assessing new operating models, new ways to configure and personalize user experience, understanding how to transition to the new solution in the most seamless manner.

Effective business change includes leveraging open technologies, new operating and commercial models, learning from what worked elsewhere and why, how contextual parameters are likely to influence outcomes, how stakeholder are to engage effectively in enabling the change, how the organization is to manage and mitigate related delivery risks…

The culminating forum to review strategy and outcome is typically a business-driven steering committee where such key decisions are ultimately signed-off.

What are your thoughts?

This post was originally published on Momentum-PLM on 1 October 2020.

Disclaimer: articles and thoughts published on v+d do not necessarily represent the views of the company, but solely the views or interpretations of the author(s); reviews, insights and mentions of publications, products, or services do neither constitute endorsement, nor recommendations for purchase or adoption. 

About the Author

Lionel Grealou


Lionel Grealou, a.k.a. Lio, helps original equipment manufacturers transform, develop, and implement their digital transformation strategies—driving organizational change, data continuity and process improvement, managing the lifecycle of things across enterprise platforms, from PDM to PLM, ERP, MES, PIM, CRM, or BIM. Beyond consulting roles, Lio held leadership positions across industries, with both established OEMs and start-ups, covering the extended innovation lifecycle scope, from research and development, to engineering, discrete and process manufacturing, procurement, finance, supply chain, operations, program management, quality, compliance, marketing, etc.

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