Parker Avery often attends events hosted by software providers to gain insights and opinions from companies currently using the solutions, as well as from organizations conducting software selection projects. These events are typically highly informative for us—not only in the many venues the solution provider delivers to showcase their newest products, capabilities, company strategy and future direction, but also in the more casual customer networking opportunities afforded between presentations and during breakout sessions. In addition to being deeply involved in system implementations, these experiences are invaluable to Parker Avery in truly understanding the strengths and weaknesses of vendors and their solutions so we can leverage that knowledge for our clients.
A couple of weeks ago, Parker Avery participated in the annual Oracle Industry Connect (OIC) event. Even though there were multiple industry verticals in the holistic event, each industry area within the company essentially hosted their own event, with Oracle Retail having perhaps the longest heritage; they’ve been conducting these events for a number of years, and they do it well. As with similar events, OIC combines software vendor strategy updates, client presentations, and valuable networking among the software vendor, industry peers, and service providers. There were the standard updates on new software, with exciting business capabilities as well as potential technology enablers.
However, the big surprise was not that Oracle Retail was enabling much of their suite in cloud offerings, but that the solution vendor and many of their customers are emphasizing the need for business change management in any solution implementation or deployment.
Historically, many solution providers focus on the ease of deployments and installations—even avoiding any need for business process and change focus. This is primarily done to try to mitigate customer anxiety about the effort and complexity involved. However, Oracle Retail is embracing the management of inherent business change as a true critical success factor—a move which we applaud.
In our experience, it is rare for any successful solution initiative to not have an appropriate focus on the process and potential role changes required, and the management of these changes can be a significant effort. Note that our definition of success includes not just go-live, but user adoption and attainment of clear business value. Whether it was opening presentations from the Oracle Retail executive team, keynote sessions from marquee customers, or breakout sessions and networking—leveraging leading practice processes, getting to the business value, and requisite change management were indeed constants throughout the event.
The additional nuance or corollary to business change management is the change required for many customer IT groups to understand the evolution of their technical roles and resource requirements for a team as they shift from on-premise solution management to a cloud offering, whether it is full software as a service (SaaS), or platform and infrastructure as a service (PaaS and IaaS). Essentially, change management efforts are critical not only for the end users in the business, but also for those supporting the new systems.
In last week’s blog post (“Ask the Experts” Change Management), we focused on key fundamentals and success factors for change management programs, so the apparent interest at the Oracle event was indeed a timely coincidence. We also touched on change management in Parker Avery’s latest quarterly newsletter, the Retail Advisor, along with other key tenets for retail success.
If you have any questions about your own initiatives and change management efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact The Parker Avery Group.