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Change Management

Case Study Department of Social Services  

Background 

The Department of Social Services (DSS) went to market seeking  professional services in organisational change management and product delivery management.

DSS is modernising its IT environment, moving to a single protected environment and implementing the Microsoft Office365 suite. This involves transitioning around 4,200 staff across multiple sites nationally.

To ensure success, DSS required a structured change communication and engagement strategy that aligned the program objectives with broader departmental requirements. 

There also needed to be well-developed, effective strategies and plans to manage the people impact of the proposed changes, including oversight of  related change communication, training and stakeholder engagement.

Objective  

DSS required Chalfont to lead and engage across all business-critical areas to design, develop and implement high-quality communications for target audiences using appropriate channels.  

Our team needed to ensure all change-related materials, guides, information and communications were available through the appropriate knowledge management platforms. 

We achieved these objectives by working to ensure a clear understanding of the business functions, requirements and critical business areas to enable: 

  • Communication and change strategies that presented the change benefits and outlined key business engagement messages to be communicated throughout the project; 
  • A business impact assessment representing how new technical capabilities would change business operations to ascertain if there would be disruptions to business continuity; and 
  • Direction setting, planning and leading organisational change and design initiatives by ensuring the change aligned with the overall project objectives and implementation plans.  

Solution 

Our solution was to provide a team of professionals experienced in organisational change and ICT delivery to ensure DSS could transition staff to the new Protected environment and Microsoft suite. 

We have implemented this solution by:

  • Working closely with the Communication Services Branch to design, develop and implement high-quality communications for the varied target audiences using appropriate channels; and 
  • Ensuring all change-related materials, guides, information, and communications were available through the appropriate knowledge management platforms and by ensuring their accuracy, currency and effectiveness at meeting the needs of staff; 
  • Developing activities to manage customer journey maps aimed at driving adoption of end-user experience services; 
  • Helping to prioritise delivery of products, encouraging and facilitating continuous improvement while managing the people impact of proposed changes and projects; and
  • Ensuring staff-related benefits and risks were well understood and managed including activities that contributed to post-implementation benefits realisation. 

Objective

DSS required Chalfont to lead and engage across all business-critical areas to design, develop and implement high-quality communications for target audiences using appropriate channels.

Our team needed to ensure all change-related materials, guides, information and communications were available through the appropriate knowledge management platforms.

We achieved these objectives by working to ensure a clear understanding of the business functions, requirements and critical business areas to enable:

  • Communication and change strategies that presented the change benefits and outlined key business engagement messages to be communicated throughout the project;
  • A business impact assessment representing how new technical capabilities would change business operations to ascertain if there would be disruptions to business continuity; and
  • Direction setting, planning and leading organisational change and design initiatives by ensuring the change aligned with the overall project objectives and implementation plans.

Solution

Our solution was to provide a team of professionals experienced in organisational change and ICT delivery to ensure DSS could transition staff to the new Protected environment and Microsoft suite.

We have implemented this solution by:

  • Working closely with the Communication Services Branch to design, develop and implement high-quality communications for the varied target audiences using appropriate channels; and
  • Ensuring all change-related materials, guides, information, and communications were available through the appropriate knowledge management platforms and by ensuring their accuracy, currency and effectiveness at meeting the needs of staff;
  • Developing activities to manage customer journey maps aimed at driving adoption of end-user experience services;
  • Helping to prioritise delivery of products, encouraging and facilitating continuous improvement while managing the people impact of proposed changes and projects; and
  • Ensuring staff-related benefits and risks were well understood and managed including activities that contributed to post-implementation benefits realisation.

Approach

Chalfont recognised the need to manage change in an enterprise environment through the adoption of the Prosci ADKAR® model.

To achieve the objectives, our team:

  • Ensured staff-related benefits and risks were well understood and managed through the change activities and the communication messages released;
  • Drove adoption of end-user experience services to improve learning outcomes and delivery by establishing a group of early adopters, whose role was to help scale up the transition to new technologies as part of the Office365 suite;
  • Strategically engaged with business-critical areas across DSS to develop effective relationships and influence the successful delivery of change initiatives;
  • Worked closely with the program manager and Communication Services Branch to ensure change communications were understood and embedded into schedules; and
  • successfully managed risks and issues by applying PRINCE2 methodology to implement suitable mitigation and treatment strategies.

Managing Risk

Through engagement with business-critical areas, 4 high risks were identified and recorded in the risk register, summarised below:

  1. Out-of-date ICT policies will not reflect new technologies;
  2. Data migration for systems supporting ministerial processes and procedures reliant on external support;
  3. Baseline clearances required for all staff before the move to a Protected environment; and
  4. inconsistent security markings on emails due to staff incorrectly applying classifications from attachments.

Chalfont addressed these risks by defining mitigation and treatment plans in consultation with affected business areas. We then presented high risks to the program board and monitored them to ensure achievement of mitigation strategies before transitioning the department to new technologies and practices.

Overcoming Challenges

Challenges have included:

  • The engagement didn’t have an experienced program manager to drive the planning activities, schedule, and deliverables. Chalfont, in addition to our specified roles and responsibilities, filled this gap to ensure the program still achieved the deliverables and objectives;
  • An absence of technical solutions has limited the ability to transition faster. Chalfont’s business impact assessment demonstrated to the program board that DSS was not ready to transition due to their needs not being met. Further change and engagement activities needed to be undertaken to ensure business requirements were understood, and business continuity was not disrupted; and
  • Machinery of Government changes saw IT support moved to Services Australia in February 2020. This has resulted in the loss of key IT personnel with specialist knowledge of the DSS technical environment. Chalfont has addressed this by strengthening our ICT relationships, forming a program board to monitor progress and resolving risks and issues that present themselves in the delivery cycle to get the program back on track.

Outcomes Delivered

Chalfont’s Organisational Change Manager and Delivery Manager have engaged business areas early and often, working collaboratively and incrementally to deliver tangible value to DSS. We have: 

  • Strengthened business relationships by instilling confidence that the department’s needs and requirements were being represented as part of the change strategy;
  • Served as business advocates by providing feedback to the technical team to improve the technology solutions and maintain business continuity;
  • Ensured availability, accuracy and currency of all change-related materials, guides, information and communications through the appropriate knowledge management platforms;
  • Continuously improved services and ways of working by capturing and applying lessons learnt, reducing duplication and maturing our processes;
  • driven adoption of end-user experience services across the program to improve learning outcomes and delivery by establishing a learning pathway hub for staff to access videos, articles and content to help them transition to the new technology platforms; and
  • Applied problem-solving skills to identify and overcome obstacles by serving as business advocates, providing feedback to the project team to improve the platform and address business challenges.