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Change Management is all about people – a review of “Managing Organizational Change during SAP Implementations” by Luc Galoppin and Siegfried Caems

Change Management is all about people – that is, it´s the point where man and machine cross each other to establish new ways of getting things done. Siegfried Caems and Luc Galoppin take this very seriously. While analyzing the original idea, the design and the future implementation, both authors look at SAP implementation from different perspectives on the human aspect. IT is cool, but that’s about it.

Managing Organizational Change during SAP Implementations

Before getting well into the book, you hit three management performance indicators: Management, Structure and Goals are linked with Competences (Know-How), Knowledge (Know-What) and Motivation (Know-Why). Both consultants continue their quest and link the concepts of Know-How, Know-What and Know-Why to the four areas of Change Management: Organization, Communication, Learning and Performance. Rational vs. Emotional, Know-What and Know-How vs. Know Why.

Sounds complex to you? The book is at times confusing, sometimes unnecessary complicated and might just give you the impression that certain chapters have been written to accommodate a previously established table of contents. So many concepts and ideas are at hand that one can, at times, completely lose track. At the same time, I found this to be one of the strengths of this manuscript: all elements are connected and somehow related to each other. Implicitly and explicitly this book gives every consultant valuable insight as to how a project, mostly driven by IT, touches almost every aspect of an organization.

You will find this book to be much more than a soul searching journey: several “Soft Stuff-Radar” and “Hard Stuff-Radar” indicators allow you to evaluate the project simultaneously from two perspectives: how the project itself is advancing (Hard Stuff) and how “Change Management” is making its way in the process. This book is no finished blue print on how to implement a SAP project, but doesn’t ignore project management either. Managers and consultants alike can identify their role as agents of change and use it to their advantage. This book does assume that the reader has some experience in (and knowledge of) project management, but for the more pragmatic manager, several example roadmaps and streams are available.

Managers are urged to forget the Human Resources department as a driver for change, but rather help guide them towards this end. This book will go beyond the ”go live” stage and advise how to make changes permanent when the system is completely up and running. Every phase in a project requires a gradually changing approach in all four areas of Change Management. Yes, even performance is an issue and there is little doubt in when or not to continue an implementation. A Change Manager is a realist.

Don’t buy this book as a bible, but consider it a worthwhile collection of new insights in Change Management. Sometimes complicated and – I admit – demanding persistence to truly glean all the wisdom contained within this manuscript, this book gives every functional SAP consultant the first DO’s and DON’Ts of how to act for change. It’s very organized and with eyes for detail, both consultants master each and every one. This book is a must have for every SAP consultant who wants to look beyond the mere “implementation” and, for once, really make a change.


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