Last week I began to demonstrate the value a Business Analyst (BA) brings to the table in the area of Solution Validation by talking about how they bring value by ensuring the thorough testing of the solution prior to implementation. Let’s continue in this area with an often overlooked and underutilized task of the BA “Assessing Organizational Readiness”.
It would be unfruitful for an enterprise application development team to take a project through the project life cycle (PLC) and implement the solution if nobody in the organization is going to use it. I have witnessed many times a solution gets implemented and the business users don’t like the new process and often times find ways around it. Business users try to continue on a path of “doing it the way we have been doing it for years”; which makes the job of the BA more difficult as he/she is the Agent of Change within the organization. To get the business users out of that mindset and accept new, more efficient, ways of doing things is one of the goals of assessing organizational readiness. This task is centered on identifying whether the organization, and the people in it, is ready to effectively use a solution ready for implementation. The Business Analyst should identify the forces that support and oppose the proposed change to the organization. In this way the BA can work to mitigate the opposition of the change, by identifying any training needs or other techniques that will make implementation of the solution go more smoothly and be effectively used for its intended purpose.
Some of the techniques that a BA may use to assess the organizational readiness are Data Flow diagrams and Process Models, to show the change the proposed solution will have on the organization and business users; Organizational Models to help identify stakeholders or groups of stakeholders that will be affected by the proposed IT business solution; Focus Group, Interviews and Surveys can help identify business users’ concerns about the proposed application solution; Risk Analysis helps identify all potential risks to the organization for implementing the proposed solution and develop a mitigation strategy for each risk; Force Field Analysis to identify the forces for and against the IT business solution; and SWOT Analysis to identify the organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in preparing for the proposed change.
When doing these techniques to identify the organization’s readiness to accept the change required, the BA needs to be aware of the Culture of the organization and the impact the proposed solution will have on it; Operations and how the IT business solution will change how the organization accomplishes its processes; Security, physical and electronic, how the changes the solution will bring about affects the security of the organization; and Stakeholders, stakeholder groups, locations, functions, processes and concerns in relation to the enterprise application being affected.
An organization of Cincinnati, Dayton or other business community can benefit by effectively utilizing a BA for assessing the readiness of the organization to accept and effectively use an IT business solution by enabling necessary change management practices, decreasing solution implementation timelines, freeing up other project resources to move on to other responsibilities, identifying training needs and assists in identifying transition requirements necessary for solution implementation.
Do you do any type of Organizational Readiness Assessment prior to IT business solution implementation?