Managing Change and USAA
The United Services Automobile Association (USAA)’s potential for accentuating and strengthening its ability to create, deliver and sustain support and services programs for its members is becoming increasingly dependent on its ability to automate key processes using both (BPR) and the selective use of key technologies. Underscoring both the process- and system-centric change is the need to fundamentally change how the organizations’ employees do their jobs, interact with and rely on systems and processes, and make these two critical areas of change successful. As many organizations realize after fine-tuning processes through BPR and (BPM) efforts combined with information systems development, the greatest inhibitor to becoming more productive is gaining support for organizational change. The intent of this paper is to discuss the implications of organizational change on how technology can cause organizations to move from a present to future state to increase effectiveness, an overview of the responsibility managers have to implement change, and the areas that managers must be knowledgeable in to make change more effective over time. There are also the factors of defining preparedness of the USAA to deal with resistance to technological change, and the ability of companies to communicate changes in both process and systems areas of their business to customers, illustrating how these factors will make them more responsive.
Technology as the Catalyst of Change
The many attempts by companies to better understand their customers through the use of (CRM) applications that spanned all customer-facing processes have been fraught with a lack of success from a change management perspective. By far the greatest impediment to CRM software implementations being unsuccessful has been the continual rejecting of new processes and software by sales representatives, managers, and directors, many of which see them as independent as and more accountable to customers than to reporting processes that CRM systems represent. CRM systems however could provide significantly greater insight into the customers they serve and also make them more efficient, yet often CRM software is presented as a solution to a sales problem, not as a means to attain higher levels of performance. As a result of this positioning of CRM within organizations, there is significant resistance to change.
Technology however can be a major catalyst of change when used as the foundation for at USAA more concentrated on delivering exceptional service to customers while streamlining the tasks employees must do. The lesson learned from many CRM implementations is that developing a change management strategy that concentrates on getting those most affected by the change to “own” the change is critical. The success of salesforce.com in the CRM marketplace underscores how technology specifically designed to address users’ unmet needs to become more productive yet not constrained by technology is a case in point. Technology that enables higher productivity and meets needs yet does not restrict users’ flexibility in managing their work how they want succeeds.
Managerial Challenges and Responsibilities for
When rapid organizational change is attempted, managers need to confront and often deal with internal organizational cultures, which are often impediments to rapid change. For any manager involved in rapid change, the challenge of slightly modifying an organizations’ culture can be daunting. For USAA, as the organization is already adopting a process-centric view of change and working to integrate systems so that employees will be better able to serve customers, the habit of change, so to speak, is beginning to set in. Yet in many organizational cultures, the more rapid the organizational change attempted, the greater the resistance. Schein (1992) defines culture as…”a basic set of assumptions that defines for us what we pay attention to, what things mean, and how to react emotionally to what is going on, and what actions to take in various kinds of situations.”
Implicit in this definition of culture is the clear fact that managers first must change the cultures of companies if specific strategies will take hold and be successful. Galpin (1996) suggests that because changing the basic assumptions and beliefs of the underlying culture is very difficult, the best approach for influencing specific aspects of a culture that need to be changed for an it initiative and strategy to be successful needs to be on an exception vs. all-inclusive basis
Managerial Expertise require to make Change Management Strategies Work
Countering resistance to change that starts with fear of the future takes nothing less than a leader who is passionate about making change part of the company’s culture. Leadership behaviors to initiate and sustain the momentum of transforming it initiatives into high value and lasting business strategies is never a one-and-done proposition for any leader. It must be a constant passion to bring change into a company if any leader is going to be successful. Aguirre, Calderone, Jones (2004) argue that the CEO and senior management team must band together and have a consistent and strong show of support for any strategy to be successful.
Combined with a strong sense of purpose that drive a passion for change, managers need to transform themselves into leaders and also have exceptional grasp of BPR and BPM approaches to ensure both the processes re-defined and