Tag Archives: IBM

Pump Up Your Change Management Competencies

Data Point Tuesday
IBM
recently released an executive report: “Making change work… while the work keeps changing – How change architects lead and manage organizational change.” The report, based on data from their latest “Making Change Work Study” seems a very pertinent one for the times. As a whole, we know that this is a period of significant change for the workforce, we talk about these changes, and how they can and are affecting organizations, but there is significantly less talk around how organizations are successfully managing such change – which is exactly what IBM’s report dives into. As IBM states, “the gap between the magnitude of change and the ability of organizations to manage it continues to widen.” While many organizations are struggling to close this gap, IBM identifies a select few – change architects – that have “found the keys to making change work while the work keeps changing.” IBM’s data is based on survey results from almost 1,400 individuals responsible for designing, creating or implementing change across their respective organizations.

In IBM’s study, they consider only the top 20 percent of organizations to be highly successful when it comes to change management. These “Change Architects” are organizations that indicated at least 75% of their projects were a complete success (i.e. a minimum of three-in-four projects met all predefined goals).Avg. success rate of projects

Change Architects capitalize on “the vortex of change permeating every aspect of business.” Such organizations are considerably more successful at managing projects. Compared to the average in IBM’s survey, Change Architects have at least 56 percent more projects that were a complete success. What do Change Architects do differently to manage change in their organizations? IBM identifies three critical imperatives that allow them to be change-effective:

  • “Lead at all Levels”
  • “Make Change Matter”
  • “Build the Muscle”

When it comes to managing change, organizations must lead at all levels. Many organizations fail to successfully manage change because they have do not embrace a “change-centric” culture, despite, as IBM points out, that change is the one constant that organizations will always face. Driving a change-centric culture must begin at the top from executive management and cascade throughout all levels of the organization. Survey respondents view “Top Management Sponsorship for Change” as the #1 most important aspect for organizational change:

Most important aspects of change
Despite this fact, only 66% of respondents state that their top management is enabled to act as change leaders (for Change Architects, this jumps to 77%). How are top management at Change Architect organizations driving change? IBM identifies three key characteristics that enable leaders to drive change across the organization:

  1. Role modeling throughout the organization.
  2. Engaging employees with a compelling case for change.
  3. Empowering new and passionate change leaders at all organizational levels.

Another critical responsibility of top management in regards to effectively managing change is making change matter. Managers must make sure that if change management programs exist, employees thoroughly understand the activities and benefits of those programs. The majority of organizations invest only 5% or less of total project budgets in change management activities on key projects, and 87 percent of respondents indicate that not enough focus is currently placed on change management in critical projects.

Budget allocation project management vs. change management

Respondents report that when change management activities are incorporated into the overall project plans from the beginning, successful project results are more likely. What then, is preventing change management activities? According to survey respondents, there are five key barriers that keep organizations from pursuing new change capabilities:

  • Change management benefits are not clear (69%)
  • Change management activities are not clear (53%)
  • Role of change professional is not clear (49%)
  • Lack of skilled change management resources (43%)
  • Change management is too expensive (26%)

Last but not least, Change Architect organizations – those that are successful at managing change – have a focus on “building muscle.” 60% of organizations in IBM’s study confirm a formal career path for project managers. This is opposed to only 25% for change professionals. Change Architects often establish a formal career path for change professionals (42% more than other organizations). They use this formalized change discipline for central change coordination; to drive consistent methods, change-related trainings, career developments, asset reuse, company-wide knowledge and best practice sharing.

Formal Change Management methods
While organizations that we can truly call “Change Architects” may still be few are far between, the good news is that between 2008 and 2014 the use of formal change management methods increased significantly. This indicates that awareness for this organizational management need is, at the very least, rising on companies’ radars. Managing change is tough, as we all know. This report suggests that making change management a core competence in our organizations may just make our change experiences more successful in every way. Building and exercising change management muscles may make all the difference!

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Filed under Change Management, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, IBM

How About a Seat at the Spreadsheet?

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HR professionals worry a lot about whether their CEO thinks they are strategic business leaders. Turns out it isn’t the CEO that HR professionals need to worry about. It’s the CFO.

This is according to global survey data collected from three Oracle/IBM sponsored research reports produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit in April and May 2012. CEOs made up 57% and CFOs made up 43% of the 235 respondents.

The resulting infographic is one of the more readable and useful ones of its type that I’ve seen. Among the data points:

  • 80% of CEOs and CFOs want the head of HR to be key in their company’s strategy planning
  • Only 38% of those CEOs and CFOS say that is currently the case
  • Only 10% say the head of HR is “extremely” key in strategic planning right now
  • Only 37% of CEOs and CFOs say their relationship with the head of HR is “close and trustful”
  • Just 28% of CEOs and CFOs say their relationship with the head of HR is among their “most valued” professional relationships

But here are the real zingers:

Oracle Driving HR Forward Infographic March 2013

Ouch!

But here’s the real irony:  CFOs are more confident about HR’s understanding the needs of the business than they are about the business of HR! Low confidence by CFOs that HR can lead the HR function, can evaluate employee performance or can identify and recruit key talent.

That’s not good news – especially since CFOs spend significantly more time with CEOs than CHROs do. I wonder what the CFO and CEO are talking about with regard to HR? Is the CFO supporting the CHRO? Given this survey data, I wonder.

Maybe CEOs aren’t HR’s biggest challenge after all. Maybe CFOs are the ones toward whom HR professionals should be aiming their strategic attention. Maybe instead of pining after furniture HR should be pining after spreadsheets!

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Filed under C-suite, CEOs, China Gorman, CHROs, Data Point Tuesday, IBM, Oracle

CHROs: the Sally Field* of the C-suite

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The report of a global CEO survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by IBM and Oracle (an interesting pairing) just crossed my desk.  The CEO Perspectives Economist Intelligence Unitreport, CEO perspectives: How HR can take a on a bigger role in driving growth, is not very encouraging.  Either CEOs are talking out of both sides of their mouths (HR’s choice, I’m sure) or global CHROs are in bigger trouble than we thought.

The survey – conducted in May 2012 – included 235 C-level executives, 134 of whom are CEOs.  A total of 38 countries were represented from North America (47%), Western Europe (40%), Eastern Europe (8%) and the Middle East (4%).  A range of industries were included and half of the companies had $500 million or more in annual revenues.  Additionally, 6 in-depth interviews were conducted with 4 CEOs and 2 respected academics.

While the Economist Intelligence Unit authors tried to spin the results in a positive way, there’s just no getting around the conclusion that even big company CHROs are having a hard time getting access to the strategic business discussions at the top of their organizations. While 76% of the surveyed CEOs say their relationship with the head of HR is close and trustful, only 55% report that the head of HR is a key player in strategic planning.

CHRO at the table EIU

What I found really interesting was the perception by the authors that the way to greater inclusion in strategic decision making is to become “a confidante and informal executive coach” to the CEO.  “If the CEO has repeatedly relied on the head of HR for certain important matters, and they still see eye to eye, he or she is more likely to invite the HR head to participate in other areas as a matter of course.”  So, developing a personal, “therapeutic” relationship with the CEO is the first best practice the report’s authors recommend.  But you’re doomed, I guess, if you don’t see eye to eye.

Becoming liked and trusted by the CEO is the way forward to weighing in on strategic business decisions.  This, despite the finding that 50% of the surveyed CEOs spend 5 hours or less a month – in either one-on-one or group settings – with their head of HR. I wonder how you figure out if you even see eye-to-eye in less than 5 hours a month.

CEO CHRO monthly time spent Economist Intelligence Unit

The report has lots of interesting – and depressing – data, and you should probably take a look.  But I think this gets filed under: Duh!

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s bottom line appears to be that CHROs whose CEOs like them get more involvement in the business. I hope IBM and Oracle didn’t spend big bucks on this research.

*Here’s Sally Field’s famous Oscar acceptance speech:

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Filed under C-suite, CEOs, China Gorman, CHROs, Connecting Dots, Economist Intelliegence Unit, IBM, Oracle

Social Technology + Business = Social Business

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Last week we discussed the difference between social media and social technology.  There’s more.

IBM logoThe IBM Institute for Business Value’s report, The Business of Social Business, is full of research and survey data that can help in understanding how organizations are “seeing the value of applying social approaches, internally as well as externally.  Social business can create valued customer experiences, increase workforce productivity and effectiveness and accelerate innovation.”

That’s a mouthful.  But the point is that organizations going beyond counting “Likes” on their Facebook pages and using LinkedIn to recruit new staff members are optimistic about the value of embedding social technology into business processes that enable communication, collaboration and insight into customer, employee, supplier and business partner behavior.  And they’re prepared to invest mightily in social tools that will help them achieve those outcomes.

HR should be particularly aware of two areas that are seeing increased adoption of and investment in social technology – or social business, as IBM defines it:  creating valued customer experiences and accelerating innovation.

Moving far beyond promoting brand awareness on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, social business is becoming embedded in the end-to-end customer experience including lead generation, sales and post-sales service:

Uses of Social Business IBM

Look at the anticipated growth in the use of social technology to create stronger more persistent customer relationships.  Organizations are are preparing to move far beyond marketing applications to sales and services applications.

In HR, we all talk a good game about the need for innovation and collaboration – whether or not we’re talking about social technology.  Many HR professionals are leading these charges within their organizations while the inhabitants of the C-suite are looking for every competitive advantage their employees, suppliers and customers can offer.  The systemic use of social tools to enable communication and collaboration between and among these groups are powering some formidable product/service innovation and HR needs to understand them:

Uses of Social Business 2 IBM

Savvy organizations are using social technology to deepen the customer relationship by customizing the customer experience.  This goes way beyond branding and messaging through social media.

As HR becomes a knowledgeable proponent of social technology and its tools – not just social media – it can become a more relevant partner in their organization’s transformation from a traditional 20th century venture to a 21st century social enterprise.  Clearly that’s where business is heading — social business, that is.

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Filed under China Gorman, Connecting Dots, HR Credibility, IBM, IBM Institute for Business Value, Social Business, Social Media, Social Technology

Social Technology vs. Social Media

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In the land of HR,  folks tend to think inside their bubble.   And when it comes to social media, some are early adopters (think using social media for talent acquisition) and many are laggards (think writing policies that keep people from accessing Facebook while at work).

But the truth is that there is so much more to social technology than social media. And HR needs to go to school on this.

I was pleased to attend IBM’s Connect Conference last week.  I was there to get insight into IBM’s acquisition of Kenexa and its commitment to building a Smarter Workforce – the brilliant marketing extension of their Smarter Planet campaign.  Social business is huge.  Social business at IBM is enormous — and growing.

While at the conference, I received a copy of the IBM Institute for Business Value’s report titled, “The Business of Social Business:  What Works and How it’s Done,” that should be required reading for every HR person.   It’s a sort of primer explaining what social technology is and how it is transforming the way businesses are competing in the global marketplace.

Based on survey data from 1,161 respondents and interviews with 21 executives responsible for implementing successful social business practices around the world, this report is easily consumed by non-technical business leaders (that’s you, HR pros) and creates a much larger context for understanding the opportunities that social technology brings to an organization — and that will be coming to your organization soon!

IBM Social Business

Despite Applebee’s and HMV’s unfortunate handling of recent experiences with social media, note that the IBM survey identified three primary areas of social business in which organizations around the world are currently investing:

  • Creating valued customer experiences

  • Driving workforce productivity and effectiveness

  • Accelerating innovation

I found it fascinating that when drilling down into the second bullet point, driving workforce productivity and effectiveness – HR’s domain – the focus was on learning and developing talent, not acquiring it.  There’s a head snap for you.

Take a look at the report and look for more useful information from the IBM Institute for Business Value.  And download the free “IBM IBV” app for iPad and Android from your app store so you don’t miss any new research!

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Filed under China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Early Adoption, IBM, IBM Institute for Business Value, Social Media, Social Technology

A Whole Lotta Business Going On!

Last year I wrote about the HR Technology Conference and titled my post “HR people doing business. Wait.  What?”  I attended this event for the first time last year and was struck by the business activity going on at the conference.  It wasn’t about swag; it wasn’t about recertification credits; it wasn’t about getting autographed books.  Some of it was attendees really having buying conversations with vendors; some of it was vendors doing business with other vendors; and some of it was organizations having hiring discussions with candidates who happened to be attendees, vendor employees, speakers, etc.  And all that was happening this year as well.  You just can’t escape the feeling that business is going on when you walk the halls and floor of this conference.

There was an added dimension to the floor this year.  And maybe it was there previously and I just wasn’t aware.  But there was lots of money at this conference looking for investment opportunities.  I talked with a number of VC and other investors who came to see what was new and to make relationships for investment purposes!

There’s a lot of money flowing into the HCM space these days – untold numbers of VC outfits; strategic buyers like IBM, Oracle, Salesforce; the public markets with IPO offerings like Workday.  With talent issues being top of mind for every business leader with a Chief in their title, it’s no wonder that money is seeking opportunity in this field.

And you could absolutely feel it at HR Tech which concluded in Chicago yesterday.  Investments were being poised to happen in start-ups as angel investments, start-up investments, series A, B and C investments as well as outright purchases.  The talent management issues of organizations all over the world are creating opportunities for innovative solutions that will help us get better talent more efficiently with a great likelihood of longevity.  That’s what we want as business leaders.  And money was there looking for opportunities to make that happen.

As Mark Hurd, President of Oracle, told the conference attendees, “I want the best people at the lowest cost that I can get them.”  Exactly.  As an organization leader who “gets” HCM’s value, Hurd is no longer in the minority of C-suite leaders.  And that means greater emphasis on productivity and efficiency and cost.  And that opens the door wide to innovation and investment.

The HR Technology Conference is the one conference to attend to find out how to make your HCM infrastructure more productive, more efficient, more cost effective and more future oriented.  It’s the one conference to attend to meet senior business leaders who are focused on winning through talent and systems to manage that talent.  It’s the one conference to attend to get a glimpse of what will be possible in the future to ensure organization success.  If it isn’t on your agenda for next year, it should be.

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Filed under C-suite, Conferences, HR Conferences, HR Executive Magazine, HR Technology Conference, IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, Talent Management, Workday