top of page

Articles

Organisational Change Management

Updated: Mar 11

Introduction


A picture depicting change

Organisational Change Management (OCM) ensures that organisational changes—processes, technologies, or structures—are implemented smoothly, effectively, and with lasting positive outcomes. But what exactly does this entail, and why is it so crucial for organisations today?


ITIL v4, the latest IT Infrastructure Library framework iteration, strongly emphasises managing the human aspects of technological changes. It recognises that a systematic approach to change management is indispensable for an organisation to grow, improve, and evolve.


This article delves into the essence of OCM as outlined in ITIL v4, exploring its objectives, methodologies, and significant role in steering organisations toward success in an ever-changing IT service environment.


"If you want to make enemies, try to change something."– Woodrow Wilson

 

The Purpose and Scope of OCM

Purpose of OCM

The primary goal of Organisational Change Management within ITIL v4 is to facilitate smooth transitions that lead to adopting new practices, processes, and technologies across an organisation.


It's about managing the people side of change to achieve the desired outcomes without disrupting services or stakeholders.


By focusing on the human elements—such as culture, values, and behaviour—OCM ensures that changes are implemented, well-received, and integrated into the organisation's day-to-day operations.

Purpose of OCM

Description

Facilitate Smooth Transitions

Ensure that transitions related to processes, technologies, or structures are conducted smoothly, minimising disruptions to services and operations.

Manage the People Side of Change

Focus on human elements such as culture, values, and behaviour to ensure that changes are implemented, well-received, and integrated by all stakeholders.

Integration into Day-to-Day Operations

Guarantee that new practices, processes, and technologies are not only adopted but also become part of the regular workflow and operations within the organisation.

 

 

Scope of OCM

The scope of OCM in ITIL v4 is comprehensive, addressing changes across all areas of an organisation that impact IT services.


This includes, but is not limited to:


  • Product and service portfolio changes: Ensuring that modifications or additions to the organisation's offerings are effectively communicated and adopted.

  • Organisational structure changes: Managing transitions in how the organisation is structured to optimise efficiency and adapt to new ways of working.

  • Technology changes: Implementing new technologies or updating existing ones while minimising disruption and resistance.

Key Concepts and Terms in OCM

A solid grasp of the foundational concepts underpinning Organisational Change Management (OCM) within ITIL v4 is essential for anyone looking to implement or manage change within their organisation.


This section explores critical terms and ideas that form the backbone of effective OCM practices.


Change, Transformation, and Evolution


  • Change refers to modifying how tasks are executed, aiming for efficiency and productivity improvements without altering the essence of the work.

  • Transformation is a more profound, fundamental shift involving beliefs, values, and organisational culture changes. It's about adopting new ways of working that fundamentally alter the organisational system and behaviour.

  • Evolution represents the continuous journey of improvement through both change and transformation. It's built on constant adjustments in values, beliefs, and behaviours, incorporating feedback to foster ongoing development.

Understanding the distinction between organisational change and transformation is crucial.


While both aim to improve the organisation, they differ in scope, depth, and impact. Recognising whether an initiative is a change or a transformation helps select the appropriate management strategies and tools. 


A diagram of change, evolution and transformation relationships
A diagram of change, evolution and transformation relationships


  • Change leads to efficiency and productivity improvements.

  • Transformation causes fundamental shifts in beliefs, values, and culture.

  • Evolution connects Change and Transformation and is defined by continuous improvement and adaptation.

Emotional, Social, and System Intelligence


Effective OCM requires attention to the human aspects of change. This involves developing:


  • Emotional Intelligence: The ability to understand and manage one's emotions and those of others, facilitating smooth transitions during change.

  • Social Intelligence: Building on emotional intelligence involves understanding the emotions of others and navigating social interactions effectively, which is crucial for fostering positive relationships and collaboration during change processes.

  • Systems Intelligence: Recognising the broader system's dynamics within which changes occur. It involves understanding how individual actions affect the system and vice versa, which is essential for holistic and sustainable change management.

Values-based Organisational Change

Values-based Organisational Change Management (OCM) aligns individual beliefs with organisational values to facilitate meaningful transformation. This approach hinges on the idea that when employees' values resonate with the organisation's culture, change is embraced more willingly, resistance minimises, and motivation is heightened.


Core Principles


  • Values Alignment: Aligning personal and organisational values is central to this approach, ensuring changes are seen as a collective journey towards a shared goal rather than top-down mandates.

  • Utilising Resistance: In a values-aligned environment, resistance becomes a tool for insight, identifying misalignments and opportunities for further growth.

  • Cultivating Culture: A supportive and adaptive culture, rooted in shared values, fosters innovation, commitment, and a climate of trust, essential for navigating change.



Diagram of Alignment of personal and organisational values
Diagram of Alignment of personal and organisational values


Implementing Change

Implementing values-based change involves:


  • Clearly defining and communicating the organisation's core values.

  • Engaging the organisation in discussions about values and their role in change, ensuring buy-in.

  • Using feedback mechanisms to assess alignment and make adjustments, keeping the organisation responsive and adaptable.

 

Values-based change is more than managing change; it's about inspiring it by aligning personal and organisational values. This creates organisations that are resilient, adaptive, and ready for the future.

 

Implementing OCM - Strategies and Processes

Organisational Change Management (OCM) within ITIL frameworks is pivotal for businesses looking to adapt and thrive amidst evolving market demands and technological advancements.


The essence of OCM is encapsulated within two core processes designed to guide organisations through change effectively and sustainably:


  1. Organisational Change Lifecycle Management

  2. Management of Change in an Adaptive Environment

Organisational Change Lifecycle Management

This structured process transitions an organisation from its current state to a desired future state. It is a comprehensive process encompassing various activities to ensure the change is strategic, well-planned, and implemented efficiently.


These activities include:


  • Initiation: Understanding the need and scope based on inputs like change requests, organisational vision, and financial constraints.

  • Planning and Formation: Creating a change team, devising a vision for change, and planning for quick wins.

  • Implementation: Communicating and leading the change, enabling operations to align with the new direction, and anchoring the new state of the system into the organisation's fabric.

  • Sustenance: Ensuring the changes are sustained through continuous review, feedback, and adjustment to maintain alignment with organisational goals.



Organisational Change Lifecycle Management Process
Organisational Change Lifecycle Management Process

Each step transforms key inputs into valuable outputs, such as a new organisational structure, behaviour changes, new roles, and capabilities supported by role descriptions, guidance materials, and lessons learned.


Management of Change in an Adaptive Environment

In contrast to structured lifecycle management, this process emphasises the fluidity and ongoing nature of change within adaptive organisations.


It involves:


  • Understanding Internal and External Influences: Analysing organisational values, previous change reports, and external factors to optimise the organisation's response to change.

  • Creating an Adaptability Improvement Plan: Initiating improvements within the OCM to enhance the organisation's adaptability and resilience to future changes.

This process aims to embed change into the organisational culture, making it a natural and expected aspect of its evolution rather than a series of disruptive events.


Process of management of change in an adaptive environment
Process of management of change in an adaptive environment

Both processes highlight the importance of strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, and continuous improvement in managing organisational change.


By embracing these processes, organisations can navigate the complexities of change more effectively, ensuring they remain competitive and responsive to new challenges and opportunities.


The Role of Technology and Information in OCM

Technology is crucial in facilitating Organisational Change Management (OCM) in today's digital era.


The right tools and technologies can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of change initiatives, making the process smoother for all involved.


Importance of Information Exchange in OCM

Effective OCM relies heavily on accurate, timely, and relevant information exchange. Information about organisational strategy, changes in process, stakeholder feedback, and the impact of changes needs to be communicated efficiently.


Technologies such as enterprise social networks, collaboration platforms, and project management tools enable this exchange, ensuring everyone is aligned and informed.


Automation and Tooling Solutions for OCM Activities

Automation can streamline many OCM processes, reducing the risk of errors and freeing up human resources for more strategic tasks.


For instance:


  • Workflow Automation: Simplifies the management of change requests, ensuring they are processed efficiently and promptly.

  • Collaboration Tools: Facilitate better team communication and collaboration, especially when managing change across multiple locations.

  • Data Analytics: Provide insights into the impact of changes, helping to measure success and identify areas for improvement.

Examples of Technology Supporting OCM in Organisations

Technology Type

Description

Role/Effect in OCM

Collaboration Platforms (e.g., Slack, Microsoft Teams)

Online platforms that facilitate communication and collaboration among team members, regardless of their physical location.

Enhances communication and collaboration, ensuring all stakeholders are aligned and can easily share information and feedback during the change process.

Project Management Tools (e.g., Asana, Trello)

Software that helps plan, execute, and monitor projects, including tasks, deadlines, and progress tracking.

Streamlines the planning and implementation of change initiatives, providing transparency and accountability for tasks and milestones.

Enterprise Social Networks (e.g., Yammer, Workplace by Facebook)

Internal social media platforms are designed to foster communication and community within an organisation.

Supports informal communication and the building of a community culture, aiding in disseminating information and encouraging support for change initiatives.

Workflow Automation Tools (e.g., Zapier, Microsoft Power Automate)

Tools that automate repetitive tasks based on predefined rules, reducing manual workloads.

Reduces the risk of errors and speeds up processes crucial for the change, freeing human resources for more strategic tasks related to OCM.

Data Analytics and Reporting Tools (e.g., Google Analytics, Tableau)

Tools that gather, analyse, and visualise data to provide insights into various aspects of business performance.

Offers insights into the impact of changes, helping to measure success and identify areas for improvement through data-driven decision-making.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) (e.g., Moodle, Cornerstone)

Platforms for delivering educational courses and training programs online.

Facilitates the efficient delivery of training and development programs to upskill employees and ensure they have the necessary knowledge and competencies to adapt to new processes or technologies introduced by the change.

 

Challenges and Best Practices in OCM

While OCM is essential for organisational growth and adaptation, it has challenges. Recognising and addressing these challenges is vital to implementing successful change.


"The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday's logic."– Peter Drucker

 

Strategies for Successful Implementation of OCM


  1. Define clear, achievable goals for the change initiative that align with the organisation's vision and values.

  2. Effective change leadership is distributed throughout the organisation, not confined to top management. Leaders at all levels must be committed to the change and capable of guiding their teams through the transition.

  3. The process should be designed with a deep understanding of the stakeholders' needs and values. Engaging employees in the change process and addressing their concerns can significantly reduce resistance and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Common Challenges Faced During OCM Implementation


  • Resistance to Change: Often rooted in fear of the unknown or a sense of loss, resistance can derail change initiatives if not correctly managed.

  • Lack of Effective Communication: Failure to communicate the reasons for change, its benefits, and its impacts can lead to misunderstanding and resistance.

  • Inadequate Leadership and Support: Initiatives can flounder without strong leadership to guide and support the change process.

Best Practices for Overcoming These Challenges


  • Engage Stakeholders Early: Involving employees, customers, and other stakeholders at the earliest stages of the change process helps to build buy-in and reduce resistance.

  • Communicate Clearly and Often: Use a variety of channels to communicate about the change, ensuring the message is consistent, clear, and repeated.

  • Provide Support and Training: Offer training and support to help individuals adapt to the change, addressing concerns and providing the skills needed for the new way of working.

Tips for Maintaining a Change-Enabling Culture


  • Foster an Environment of Continuous Learning: Encourage a culture where feedback is valued and prioritises learning from successes and failures.

  • Promote Flexibility and Adaptability: Highlight the importance of flexibility and adapting to new challenges and opportunities.

  • Celebrate Successes: Recognise and celebrate achievements along the way to maintain momentum and morale.


Measuring Success in OCM

The final piece of the OCM puzzle is measuring the success of change initiatives. This not only demonstrates the value of the change but also informs future improvements.


Key Metrics and Performance Indicators for OCM

Metric/Indicator

Description

Example Measurement

Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

Measures how positively employees feel about the change and their level of engagement with the organisation post-change.

Survey results show increased satisfaction scores post-change.

Adoption Rates

Tracks the speed and extent to which the new processes, systems, or technologies are embraced and used by employees.

Percentage of employees using a new system within the first month of launch.

Business Performance Indicators

Assesses the impact of change on overall business performance, including efficiency, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth.

Increase in customer satisfaction scores; reduction in process cycle time; revenue growth.

Change Readiness and Resilience

Evaluates the organisation's preparedness for change and its ability to adapt to and recover from challenges encountered during the implementation of change.

Pre- and post-change readiness assessment scores.

Feedback and Continuous Improvement

Gathers insights on the change process from stakeholders, identifying areas for improvement and adjustments for future initiatives.

Number of actionable feedback items collected and implemented.

Cultural Alignment

Assesses how well the change aligns with the organisation's culture and values, contributing to long-term sustainability of the change.

Qualitative analysis of cultural alignment through focus groups or interviews.

Leadership and Management Support

Measures the effectiveness of leadership in guiding and supporting the change, including communication, stakeholder engagement, and addressing resistance.

Leadership support scores from employee surveys.

Project Delivery Metrics

Specific to the change initiative, these metrics evaluate the project's success in terms of scope, budget, and time, as well as the quality of outcomes delivered.

On-time, on-budget project completion; quality audit results.

 

 

The Role of Continual Improvement in Measuring OCM Success


Continual improvement is integral to OCM, ensuring the organisation learns from each change initiative. By regularly reviewing and assessing the outcomes of changes, organisations can refine their OCM processes, making each subsequent change smoother and more effective.


the principle of continual improvement stands as a cornerstone for achieving long-term success and resilience. This iterative process not only facilitates the measurement of change outcomes but also ensures that the organisation is perpetually evolving and refining its approach to change management. The integration of continual improvement into OCM processes enables organisations to harness lessons learned, adapt strategies, and enhance overall effectiveness with each iteration of change.


Embedding Continual Improvement into OCM


1. Establishing Feedback Loops

Central to the ethos of continual improvement is the establishment of robust feedback mechanisms. These loops engage all stakeholders in providing insights on the change process, outcomes, and personal experiences. This feedback becomes a valuable resource for identifying successes, pinpointing areas for enhancement, and understanding the impact of change from various perspectives.


2. Metrics and Analysis

Quantitative and qualitative data play a critical role in measuring the effectiveness of change initiatives. Key performance indicators (KPIs) related to change adoption, employee engagement, operational efficiency, and customer satisfaction are tracked and analysed. This data-driven approach allows for objective assessment and supports the identification of trends over time, offering insights into the long-term effects of change initiatives.


3. Learning and Knowledge Sharing

The insights garnered from feedback and data analysis are transformed into actionable knowledge. Lessons learned are systematically documented and shared across the organisation. This practice not only prevents the repetition of past mistakes but also cultivates a culture of transparency and collective learning. Knowledge sharing sessions, workshops, and internal case studies are effective tools for disseminating learnings and best practices.


4. Iterative Planning and Implementation

Armed with insights from ongoing assessment and knowledge sharing, organisations are better positioned to plan and implement future changes. Continual improvement encourages the adaptation of strategies based on real-world feedback, allowing for more tailored and responsive change initiatives. This adaptive approach reduces resistance, enhances stakeholder engagement, and increases the likelihood of successful outcomes.


5. Enhancing Change Resilience

Over time, the continual improvement process builds an organisation’s capacity for change resilience. Employees become more adept at navigating change, while the organisation itself becomes more agile, capable of responding swiftly to new challenges and opportunities. This resilience is a competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced business environment.


Case Study of OCM


An international university embarked on a President-sponsored 2025 technology initiative, necessitating an OCM strategy for over 6,000 staff and faculty across global locations. Faced with challenges like geographic diversity, department head buy-in, resistance to change, varying levels of technical literacy, VIP user support, and an unexpected COVID-induced shutdown, the university partnered with ETI for a comprehensive solution.


ETI developed a global OCM strategy to address geographic diversity using the intranet for 24/7 training access, including quick start guides, user manuals, and webinars. ETI facilitated engagement sessions post-CIO introduction for department head buy-in, integrating feedback into the OCM strategy. Adoption champions were appointed in each department to mitigate resistance and support less tech-savvy senior staff with special training and one-on-one sessions.

VIP users received personalised training and a dedicated hotline for post-deployment support. To empower the help desk in supporting the new technology, ETI outlined detailed workflows for potential issues, creating a trained, dedicated team for efficient user support.


The result was a well-supported, university-wide adoption of the new technology before deployment. Department heads became key advocates, while department champions and tailored training for non-technical users facilitated a smooth transition. A tiered support structure ensured effective post-deployment assistance, demonstrating the critical role of strategic OCM in navigating complex change initiatives.



Conclusion

Organisational Change Management within the ITIL v4 framework is a complex but essential process that requires careful planning, execution, and measurement.


Organisations can navigate the waters of change more effectively by understanding the key concepts, embracing the right strategies, leveraging technology, and addressing challenges with best practices.


As we move forward in an increasingly digital world, the ability to manage change will continue to be a critical factor in the success and resilience of organisations.



 

This article discusses concepts and practices from the ITIL framework, which is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited. The information provided here is based on the ITIL version 4 guidelines and is intended for educational and informational purposes only. ITIL is a comprehensive framework for IT service management, and its methodologies and best practices are designed to facilitate the effective and efficient delivery of IT services. For those interested in exploring ITIL further, we recommend consulting the official ITIL publications and resources provided by AXELOS Limited.

Comments