Part 6: Enterprise Flexibility

By Dee Carri, Thursday, 5th June 2014 | 0 comments
Filed under: Business Development, BPM, Process Thinking, SOPs, TPSoP®.

How much do you love your SOPs Part 6: Enterprise Flexibility - Are your Change Management Processes Agile?

By Dee Carri

Read the introduction to our 'How Much Do You Love Your SOPs' blog series here >

Constant Change

“Change is the only constant” declared the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, and so it is for compliance and quality but with three important differences: the enterprise change agenda is growing, it is becoming more complex and demand for faster change cycles is increasing.


Reasons for Change

Change appears in many guises: change arising from more regulation in more jurisdictions with more activities subject to regulatory scrutiny; change in business as a result of divestments, mergers and acquisitions (just think of the enormity of the task facing Astra Zeneca and Pfizer if their merger goes ahead); change as a result of downsizing (thousands of pharma and financial jobs have been lost in the last 5 years) and scaling-up; change as a result of outsourcing and from the introduction of new technologies; change in response to competition; change resulting from an internal desire to do better with OPEX and the currently fashionable “Transformation Programmes”. And let’s not forget change can also be the end result of regulatory inspection, regulatory failure or as a result of an individual improvement initiative. All of these changes affect how people do their jobs which in turn affect SOPs and Work Instructions.


Agile Change?

Are current change practices agile? I’m afraid not.

Most organisations aspire to being flexible and adaptable but many organisations struggle or fail to realise it. Change cycles are cumbersome and linear, sometimes taking years to implement in large, regulated, multi-national organisations. Many change projects and programmes are condemned to execute a tortuous change process that begins with establishing the current (AS-IS) status in order to understand the impact of the change: on the organisation, on work practices as described in SOPs and Work Instructions. Many organisations have convoluted change management SOPs that are difficult to understand and follow, leading to unacceptable delays in implementing even simple, local changes. Still others fail to implement changes and, as a result, suffer substantial financial losses and some businesses fail to keep pace and cease trading.

How can a process-based approach make the change practices more agile?


Company Change Control Process(es)

Change procedures can be documented as processes, clearly identifying the accountabilities, service levels and activities involved in each type of change, whether that is a business-as-usual small change or a mega change such as a merger or acquisition.


Managing Complexity

Organisations are likely to be affected by not one, but many simultaneous demands for change in different parts of the business. With a Process Architecture linked to regulations, policies and standards and appropriate Governance in place, it is possible view inter-relationships between them that will ensure a change does not introduce new risks.


Process-based Scenario Planning

In an enterprise where business processes are documented, it is possible to plot the effect of a proposed change across all segments of the enterprise and all processes to gain a fast understanding of the effect of the change. With this visibility, the change can be managed and implemented quickly and in an orderly manner.

Leveraging the process architecture, scenarios can be explored and developed such that it is possible to view the proposed change from several different perspectives, including:

Regulatory: understand the regulatory impact and quality /compliance & policy impact;

Organisational: understand the scope and organisational impact;

Process: understand the business process / SOP / Work Instruction impact and develop TO-BE processes that can be shared and validated collaboratively across the business;

And Role: identify who will be affected by the change.

Interrogating existing documented business processes, this activity will take days or weeks, but not the more usual months or years. In turn, this information can inform a project plan, a communication approach and a training / implementation plan.


Implementing and Training on Change

Because TO-BE processes can be viewed through a Role lens, roll-out of the TO-BE processes can be greatly accelerated. (See part 4 of this blog series: “Time to Effectiveness”)



Assess the quantity and scale of change required in your organisation in the coming 12-18 months.

Assess the performance of your organisation in implementing change in the past i.e. the lag between the demand for change and the actual time to deliver change within your organisation .

Estimate the reputational and financial advantage of changing and adapting faster than competitors.

Armed with this information, build the business case for process-based change! 


The next blog in our SOP series will be the final post in the series and will conclude our findings. If you missed the introduction, you can find it here >
In the meantime, we invite you to provide feedback, comments and your experience in the comments section below.


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