Experts in Change Adoption and Training
When the Landcom Oracle ERP Financial Transformation Project, which had been well underway for several months, was facing the probability of delays in committed delivery timelines and a rising resistance from the business, Simone Heaperman turned to Glass Rock Solutions for their expertise and support in curtailing the situation and correcting the course.
There had been a change in personnel on the vendor’s side of the project, which had contributed to delays, as well as other issues along the way, but the project had somehow virtually come to a standstill. Hundreds of thousands of dollars had been invested to date, and the organisation could not afford to fail.
So when Simone Heaperman, the program manager, picked up the phone to speak with Preetie Shehkkar at Glass Rock Solutions, she had much to address and set right. She needed a team that would work dynamically, commit to the delivery and simply deliver a course correction.
“By the time I contacted Glass Rock, I identified that I had little to no stakeholder engagement and the key owner of the project was stressed and had sort of disengaged,” explains Simone.
“The other thing I had noted was resistance – not necessarily significant ‘push back’ from our people, but definitely a lack of understanding around the new system and why it was important. There was a palpable resistance to change. And, because the business finance systems impact all areas of the business, there were pockets of resistance right across the organisation. It was pretty clear that we did not have the resources internally to undertake an implementation of this scale and the project was becoming sort of ‘tainted’ internally and it was difficult for anyone to muster enthusiasm for it.”
But after just one conversation with Preetie, it was obvious to Simone that she had made the right decision. Preetie could not only see the numerous problems the organisation faced, but she and her team had the knowledge and experience to solve them, and had done so successfully before, in other companies.
“It was clear that Glass Rock could lead and manage the project, and garner the right buy-in internally, to get everything back on track. The other aspect that gave me enormous confidence was the fact that along with being able to handle the change management piece, they could conduct the actual systems training, too.”
And so began the enormous task of picking up a project half-way through and being able to deliver on it. But this is something that Glass Rock has, over time, developed a solid marketplace reputation for.
“Many companies implement a large-scale IT project from an IT perspective, but in doing so, they’re overlooking the most important piece – the people who are actually going to use the technology. It’s natural in any organisation – no matter what its size or turnover – that any organisation-wide change program can send ripples of anxiety through even the most established and high performing teams,” explains Preetie.
The Glass Rock team brings decades of experience in change management and a number of other crucial elements including psychology, neuroscience, training and coaching, and they add value by being able to abate the anxiety and replace it with calm and clarity.
“Once people’s mindsets begin to change, the project can course-correct, and eventually, you will build enthusiasm, which leads to momentum, which leads to success,” explains Preetie.
Listening to Preetie, it sounds simple. And that is exactly the kind of reassurance that clients need, especially when the task ahead seems daunting.
There are always multiple layers to a project of this magnitude and a lot at stake, including, but not limited to: the potential for significant financial losses, negative impact on brand, erosion of trust internally within the organisation, customer dissatisfaction and attrition.
Landcom was mid-way through the $20 million Oracle ERP transformation project. Internally, it was the largest system transformation project the company had invested in, impacting all of its 200 employees and its customers, And the original ‘go-live’ date was looming.
“Our focus is always, unwaveringly, on the end result,” says Preetie. “Everything we do is designed around empowering the internal team, starting with delivering on the go-live timelines, and then when the new system is in place, they are well equipped with the knowledge, skills and tools required to maintain momentum long after project completion.”
“Our approach is to work in close collaboration with the internal stakeholders and the project team, utilising internal resources where possible. And this requires building trust with the team from day one,” says Preetie.
Simone says the seniority of the Glass Rock team gave her confidence from the start.
“These are all highly skilled professionals – and most of them have worked in large organisations before, so they understand the culture piece, the typical politics, and the general nuances that can either propel a project or derail it. This experience makes the difference – the ability to pre-empt issues, to identify risks, mitigate risks… and to be able to deliver real value outside of just ticking off the milestones.
The Glass Rock team immersed themselves in our organisation and, frankly, our problems, and they didn’t shy away from being accountable for what they had agreed to deliver, under any circumstances. I also believe that the seniority of the team meant that they could handle themselves under pressure and also during tough conversations with people.
At times it was erratic, and the Glass Rock team never missed a beat – they simply evolved their role and the tasks required of them – they kept pace seamlessly with everything as it was constantly shifting and changing and retained the highest levels of credibility with everyone they engaged with.”
To ensure minimal or no downtime during the transition, Glass Rock completed a thorough training needs analysis to indicate precisely the knowledge gaps both in system and process. This supported the development and delivery of training that would enable minimal disruption to the business and enable the fast transition to a business as usual environment post go-live.
“The most significant challenge is engaging participants in what they are learning so they absorb information more quickly and easily and we make it our business to make the driest content interesting,” says Preetie.
“This can be challenging when there’s resistance to change, so we focus on understanding the requirement but also focus on meeting people’s emotional needs, enabling high levels of comprehension and knowledge retention.”
The Landcom project was delivered with high levels of engagement across the organisation and was delivered on time and within budget.
“Glass Rock delivered so much more value to us than what was simply required in the scope of their brief,” says Simone.
“Skills like professional facilitation, facilitating negotiations when meetings and discussions got heated, advice around governance, ‘coaching’ our people so they were confident and composed and on point with key messages when they had to present the project to team meetings…
They were really great at general ‘people management’ too… This was actually a key piece, taking the time to talk one-on-one with people, to hear individuals’ concerns, to provide feedback, to allay those concerns… Engaging our people where possible, like the HR team and the Internal Communications group which gave them a sense of ‘skin in the game’ and therefore helped to indirectly influence others as time went on.
This resulted in creating higher morale around the implementation project and a more thorough understanding of what the business was trying to achieve. Glass Rock was able to really articulate the vision and communicate the role everyone within the organisation had in achieving that vision. This created a level of buy-in, acceptance and engagement from the top down and really, in my view, was a key factor in the project’s success.”
For Simone, in her own words, Glass Rock turned, “what could have potentially been a personal career conundrum into a valuable experience and a career highlight.”
“I honestly will say that in the face of all the problems and issues, it was one of the most successful company-wide go-lives I have ever seen. At the end of it, I realised that along the way I’d learned so much more from Preetie about authentically and confidently leading a project into the future. To be honest, that level of support was something that I didn’t expect at all.
“But,” says Simone, “that’s the difference between a company that serves for a paycheque and a company that’s really invested in your success.”
When Simone Heaperman, the program manager, picked up the phone to speak with Preetie Shehkkar at Glass Rock Solutions, she had much to address and set right.
Tata Consultancy Services, a global technology leader with 450,000 employees worldwide, expect the best from anyone who works for them.
When Stuart Freer came to Australia, he was recruited as the Director, IT Service Delivery and Infrastructure, at the University of New South Wales.
Level 23, Collins Square Tower 5
727 Collins Street,
Melbourne Victoria 3008
Australia Square, Level 33
264 George Street,
Sydney NSW 2000
We acknowledge the First Australians as the traditional custodians of this continent. We pay our respect to the elders of the community, past, present and future.