December 13, 2022
3
MIN READ

Change Management Planning: a Guide for CFOs

Finance

Are you implementing a change management plan? Here’s your full guide on where to start and what to include.

Change doesn't just happen by accident inside scaling businesses. Or at least, effective, successful change doesn't.

Most scaleups go through an almost-constant cycle of change. To survive the journey from a small founding team to a sophisticated, multi-functional growth business, flexibility and adaptability are critical skills. Scaleups can expect to pivot as market conditions and competitors force a change in strategic direction, and pivot again as new people, processes and operations are added.

Change is vital to sustained growth – but in a competitive market, and amid challenging economic conditions, it needs to be managed thoughtfully to ensure it adds value. Over 70% of change management processes fail, for reasons including lack of buy-in, poor communication, lack of tooling and more. To retain their position in the market, scaleups need to carefully plan, control and execute change, and make sure they're among the 30% that get it right.

What is change management?

Change management is the process of ensuring changes are successfully implemented across the business. It takes into account the end-to-end process of change, from identifying and scoping change projects, to designing and executing them, to communicating them and encouraging uptake.

As growth leaders within the business, CFOs have a clear mandate for taking the reins on change management, and establishing a robust framework for guiding the rest of the business through it. But with so many other workstreams to oversee, and competing demands on their attention, it can be difficult to know where to start.

At Cledara, our goal is to equip CFOs with the tools and processes they need to successfully implement change that adds value, and gives scaleups a solid foundation for sustainable growth. Here's our guide to getting started with change management planning: the elements to include in a change management plan, the steps to follow, and the projects that can add the most value.

What to include in a change management plan

Effective change management plans are thorough. They think through the whole process of change – from the needs of the business today, to how they might evolve and expand after the change has been implemented. Valuable change shouldn't just answer a short term need, but set the business up for sustainable, scalable success. As such, CFOs need to think in detail about every element of their change management plan – not just execution. Here are the stages we think it's critical to consider, the questions CFOs should ask to ensure they've covered all their bases:

Identify the change

  • Reasons: what are the factors that have led to the need for change? Is implementing the change business-critical? What value could it add, both internally and externally?
  • Scope: how narrow or extensive should the change be? Does it need to be implemented by all teams across the business, or just one? Could the change be managed gradually or phased? What is the timeline for change?
  • Goals: what are the desired outcomes of the change project? What are the most meaningful metrics by which to measure success? Are the systems in place to track those metrics?
  • Resources: what is the current level of capability for managing change? Does the business have people with the right skillset to implement the change? Do those people have the capacity to do so? Does the business have enough budget for new hires or tools to support the change?

Consider the options for change

  • Potential solutions: what are the different ways the desired outcomes might be achieved? Could new systems or processes be leveraged, or will new hires be required? How would that change current systems, processes and relationships?
  • Costs: what would the preferred solution cost? Are there any hidden costs that might be incurred? Where is the budget coming from?
  • Risks: will the change interfere with business continuity? What risks does it pose before, during and after implementation?How could these be mitigated?

Define the change approach

  • Stakeholders: which people across the business will be involved in the change process? Consider the target audience for the change, people that can help implement, and people that might be blockers to implementation.
  • Blockers: Are there any obvious barriers to change, either operational or cultural? Are the issues clearly understood? Is there a plan to navigate and overcome them?
  • Team: Who needs to be included in the change management team? Are they clear on their responsibilities? Are they able to prioritize the project?

Implement the change

  • Execution: What are all the actions that need to be completed as a part of the change? Who is responsible for them? What is the timeframe?
  • Communication: Have all the affected stakeholders been informed of the change? Do communications take into account their different needs and levels of understanding, and are key messages and takeaways clearly defined?
  • Training: Will stakeholders need specialist training in order to leverage and drive value from the change? What is their current skillset, and what new skills will they need to learn? Who will deliver training, and when?
  • Tech: Do stakeholders have the IT and software support they need to leverage and drive value from the change? Does new tech need to be implemented? Does it already exist inside the business?

Review the change

  • Monitoring: Have key success metrics been identified? Is someone tracking and reporting on them regularly? Have clear criteria been established to measure success and failure?

Where to start with change management planning

In a fast-moving scaleup environment, it can be difficult for CFOs to identify the changes that will drive the most business impact and support growth. Often, it feels like everything needs their attention at once, and that can be overwhelming. Our advice is to step back, and think carefully about how change could add value to three fundamental business areas:

Culture:

A strong team is a scaleup's biggest asset, and most critical driver of business success. Are there any change initiatives that could improve employee engagement and collaboration, help employees develop in their careers, or reduce churn among the workforce?

Tools:

Tools, especially cloud software, can help scaleups punch above their weight. They enable the automation of repetitive tasks and the addition of new functionality, without the cost of additional headcount. Are there any tools that could introduce efficiency gains and cost savings across the business?

Process:

Process is often an afterthought in scaleups, where the priority is to do things quickly rather than necessarily doing them optimally. But strong process is an important foundation for future success – especially in the Finance team. Process ensures consistency and predictability, which is important to keep business growth on track. Are there any processes that could reduce risk and make business operations run more smoothly?

How Cledara can help with change management planning

Improving SaaS management is one change CFOs can introduce to add value across all three of these touchpoints. Centralizing and automating software management gives businesses full visibility over subscriptions while empowering teams to own and manage their applications. It helps CFOs improve visibility, reduce risk and costs, and protect company culture.

At Cledara, we help scaling businesses make more of their software subscriptions by unifying and automating their entire SaaS journey – from discovery and purchasing, to management and cancelation.  Proactively implementing SaaS management processes means that businesses don’t have to restrict control and prevent creativity, but can thrive by making the most of their software subscriptions.

To find out more about how Cledara helps streamline SaaS management so businesses can scale faster, book a demo today.

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