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Guiding People Through Change: A Look at OCM in ESR

A business-focused initiative, Enterprise Systems Renewal (ESR) introduces a lot of change to UC San Diego as projects reengineer how we do business. So, as complex processes are streamlined and systems are retired, replaced and/or upgraded, it can be all too easy to lose sight of the people we are asking to adopt universitywide change. Fortunately, Organizational Change Management (OCM), the people side of change, is one of three ESR program pillars: 

  • People 
  • Process 
  • Technology

The ESR program and projects have dedicated OCM teams to lead change to ensure that all individuals are aware, engaged and able to adopt and sustain the changes introduced.

What Do We Know of Change?

Change inherently represents a disruption to how we operate in our daily lives. It can be positive or negative, but in terms of our work, unexplained and unanticipated change can be met with heavy resistance and undesired results for both individuals and the organization. As new processes and systems are introduced, people can become concerned and want to know more... How will this impact me? What do I need to learn? Will I be able to do my job without my performance impeded? OCM teams understand that managing change has a direct impact on individuals, shaping how they view their work and the university as a whole. 

What Is OCM?

OCM is a discipline focused on managing and transitioning individuals and organizations across change. ESR employs OCM to guide how we prepare and support individuals, our teams, fellow departments and the campus community at large to successfully adopt and sustain change, in turn ensuring the university's continued success.

As ESR’s Strategic Organizational Change Management (SOCM) Director Lynn Underwood said, “OCM is about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, helping people understand the personal impact of the change. With OCM, we create awareness, and motivate people to engage, learn, perform and sustain the change. We recognize that change takes place one person at a time so that we may collectively change the organization. In other words, we all matter in change and how we go about managing change matters.”

What Does OCM Do?

In broad terms, OCM frames, enacts, communicates, fosters, empowers and seeks to sustain change from the perspective of both the individual and the organization. OCM directs its efforts towards people facing change, from initial planning stages of a project through and beyond go-live. 

“OCM provides the tools to prepare to implement a new project,” said Jennifer Ford, Change Lead for the Kuali Conflict of Interest project and Director of Conflict of Interest, Research Compliance. “The organizing and the planning required for OCM create a foundation to be proactive rather than reactive to a brand new system. OCM allows people to be prepared for a change. Every project must use OCM to succeed!” 

What Is the Value of OCM to ESR?

OCM ensures the entirety of the project at every phase remains focused on the business enacting the change and those being served by the change… that each ESR implementation is not only successful and lasting through continuous improvement, but a proud achievement within the teams bringing about the change. 

“Having gone through the Change Management training in preparation for the implementation of UC OATS, we’ve realized how valuable some of the tools are for other projects we are involved in, especially during this time of working remotely” said Lynn Field-Karsh, Change Lead for Online Activity Tracking System (UC OATS) and Director, Academic Process Development & Training.

In a nutshell, OCM makes change sensible and welcome rather than jarring and unexpected and a great deal of that can be accomplished by thoughtful planning and simple actions. 

Sarah Parnell, Change Practitioner and Analytics Community of Practice Manager, added, “OCM has given us a framework to increase our communication both quickly and effectively. The research around OCM has also supported our belief that transparency and openness to incorporating customer feedback are hallmarks of true customer service. Many things have been changing for us and our customers - following OCM best practices has helped alleviate stress and make the transition smoother for not just our customers but ourselves.”

The full scope of OCM and its impact was showcased during the Kuali Research project, which launched in January 2020. "OCM has been critical to building the foundation needed for behavior change," said Nicole Joyce, Kuali Research Change Lead and Assistant Director, Educational Initiatives and Client Services. “Without it, we wouldn’t have been nearly as successful. It’s been incredible to see its effectiveness first hand."

Category: ESR Behind the Scenes