Posted: 09 Apr. 2020 10 min. read

COVID-19: Redefining Change

As change professionals we’re living in unprecedented times; so our approach needs to flex too. The challenge presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic, also presents the opportunity to evolve how we lead change. On our large ERP transformation programs, while traditionally preferred via face-to-face, we are now exploring digital alternatives to delivering experiential engagement events, user acceptance testing, Train-the-Trainer, end user training and post go-live support. Now more than ever, this calls for a human-centred approach that promotes virtual and self-directed online activities while supporting people to adapt to this ‘new norm’.

Re-thinking our approach also creates some of the burning practical questions for change professionals. Four critical questions are:

1.     What is our engagement toolkit when working digitally?

2.     How can we conduct a positive User Acceptance Testing experience remotely?

3.     How can we take a ‘virtual first’ approach to training?

4.     How can we provide post go-live business support from a distance?

This article provides practical tips and tricks to manage each of these four questions including the innovative use of space, the role of champions and virtual platforms.

SECTION 1. Business Engagement: Digitising the Change Toolkit

On large ERP programs, communications and engagement typically involves a combination of in-person and digital channels. Traditional direct email marketing campaigns, use of digital newsletters and company intranet sites may increase in importance, but:

How can we make our key change messages stand out amongst the noise, and how can we promote 2-way engagement whilst physical distancing remains in place?

Experience Rooms/Spaces: A favourite format to engage and ‘bring to life’ key moments in the change journey. The delivery is often physical and immersive, seeking to move people through stages of the change they will experience in the near future.


  • If a physical experience room has already been setup, consider recording a video of the facilitator walking through and engaging with the space, then sharing this digitally via the company intranet site or social platform.
  • Alternatively, if in the early stages of development, consider how materials can be converted into a video-enabled webinar for a ‘live’ option. An engaging approach can include switching between sharing online-materials, walkthroughs of the system and physical artefacts via webcam.
  • Split up sessions into ‘bitesize’ chunks to maintain focus and facilitate a relaxed and personal virtual experience, for example by inviting audience members to join over a virtual tea break.

Change Champions: Arm change champions with the tools to digitally engage with their teams and networks.  Encourage video-conference calls for regular team meetings, the use of group chats on company social media platforms, and ensure there’s a central shared location to access all information, messaging and documents.

Tip: Share a virtual facilitation guide to support them in delivering a consistent digital experience, providing tips on how to encourage conversation, contribution, and how to break the ice in a virtual environment.

Virtual and Mobile-enabled Tools: Mentimeter and SurveyMonkey are examples of effective survey tools to compliment virtual live sessions, offering the ability to gauge sentiment and run quick pulse checks for live feedback on virtual communications and engagement methods either on the spot or after a session.

Tip: QR codes are also an effective way to share quick links, enabling participants to access information and complete short tasks on their mobile while grabbing some fresh air on a walk.

SECTION 2. Logging in Virtually: User Acceptance Testing

User acceptance testing (UAT) is a big moment for many ERP programs, as the solution, with the business’ requirements are revealed to the business and presented ready for testing.

In this new world, what are the alternatives to getting everybody together physically?

Mini-UAT: It may still be possible to run a mini-UAT with small groups of 7-8 testers in a well-spaced out and well-ventilated room, depending on official guidelines on physical distancing.

Video Conferencing: Platforms such as Zoom or Skype are a possibility, with testers executing scripts remotely. It will require the UAT Test Manager to be actively coordinating the completion of scripts, but modern conferencing and group chat tools enable testers to ask questions.

Collaboration tools: Tools such as Zoom enable separate rooms to be setup between the tester and the functional team member, and the UAT Test Manager as required.  At any point in time a test case being executed by a specific tester will be shared over Skype for others to observe and validate.

Tip: To provide testers with support while working remotely, post contact details in a common collaboration space and encourage testers to pick up the phone for help.

Working Offline: Where WiFi/4G is unavailable, test scripts can be executed offline with direction provided by a telephone call by the UAT Test Manager team member.

SECTION 3. Training Approach: ‘Virtual First’

With a shift away from face-to-face learning, there are a variety of alternative approaches to delivering face-to-face Train-the-Trainer or end user training. These include ‘virtual first’ or hybrid approaches, which use a mixture of virtual instructor led training, recorded sessions, and self-directed online learning courses.

Tip: Zoom or Google Hangouts are great tools to deliver classroom training virtually. All virtual Q&A sessions should be facilitated live to ensure that people can get answers to their questions in the moment, to ensure they leave the training feeling satisfied.

Introductory Learning: Starting this early is a key success factor for ERP programs. What do we mean by introductory learning? You may be familiar with eLearning modules such as ‘basic navigation’, ‘introduction to the ERP’ or ‘introduction to reporting’ courses, and other content traditionally delivered face-to-face. These tools can be quickly transformed into eLearning inexpensively using authoring tools such as Captivate, Articulate or vendor specific tools such as SAP EnableNow or Oracle Guided Learning.

Training Scheduling: Training scheduling will need to take place in the usual way, albeit assigning users to virtually-delivered sessions.

Track and Measure:  Maximise mechanisms to direct, track and measure completion of self-directed and virtually-delivered learning. For example, by using the assessment functionality in a Learning Management System or outlining learning in a digital ‘guided workbook’. Of course, other online tools (and even SurveyMonkey) can be used to track completion and success rates of knowledge checks, or scenario based assessments, before granting system access.

Tip: Attendance and completion of courses and knowledge checks can be tracked via a Learning Management System, enabling the program, business leaders and the learners themselves to keep track of learning progress.

SECTION 4. Business Support: Post Go-Live and Hypercare

Helpfully, at least in larger organisations, IT helpdesk staff are already set up and well-versed to provide remote and virtual support, using screensharing and control functionality, over mobile, Skype or instant message. But there are a number of other go-live and hypercare launch and support activities that need to be re-imagined.

What happens to the physical go-live launch materials, posters, banners and DeskDrops? How do we help people to still feel supported, if the visible support channels, such as floorwalkers wearing their gaudy t-shirts, manning drop-in clinics and Genius Bars, disappear?

Digital Launches: Share materials through computer desktop backgrounds, screensavers and company intranet homepage banners, as well as traditional digital communications via video, skype call and email.

Tip: Some organisation’s computer networks can automatically launch a short silent video when people turn their laptops on for the first time of the day.

Virtual Help Forums: The roles often given to Change Network “Super Users” providing physical on-site support need to be re-imagined. Work with Super Users and/or Trainers to set up regular Virtual Help Forums and Q&A learning sessions post go-live. Targeting these to specific functional groups, prevents people joining a large call where swathes of Q&As aren’t relevant to them. Ensure these questions are logged and added to an FAQs repository online ASAP following the call. Make ‘screensharing’ the norm amongst support groups and teams, rather than static screenshots over email.

Phone Check-ins: Organise team phone check-ins amongst Change Network members to understand their teams are adapting to the changes, rather than waiting for requests for support to be raised. Also use Mentimeter and live survey tools to enable shyer participants to voice their queries and feedback.

Tip: Targeted ‘check-in’ calls bring a more personal connection to the interactions and offer a safe and controlled space for conversation and feedback.

Technology Investment: Consider investment in technology to support users to help themselves post go-live, relying less on people around them. In-system help and support functionality, such as SAP EnableNow, provide in-built and customisable help text prompts, simulations and guided tours of processes accessible within the transaction they are completing. Platforms such as KNOA, also enable analysis of the usage of the system, driving objective and data-driven insights into user behaviour, enabling a proactive approach to managing behaviours/processes within the system, while reducing the need to rely on gathering subjective feedback.


As change professionals, we have the digital toolkit and the drive to be the leaders in accelerating global change.  Now is the time for us to create rich virtual learning opportunities, create unique professional development opportunities and support each other to continue to build connections with impact, as we navigate this global challenge together. Our key takeaways are:

1.     The digital engagement toolkit means we can continue to engage users on “what’s in it for them” and the business too on what changes the ERP program will bring.

2.     It is possible to deliver a positive User Acceptance Testing experience remotely using the latest video conferencing and collaboration tools.

3.     Take a ‘virtual first’ approach to training with Zoom or Google Hangouts, or record sessions for viewing later, but always make sure to offer a live Q&A opportunity.

4.     Consider virtual help forums and the latest collaboration tools to provide post go-live support remotely and give users the opportunity to ask questions and get help.

More about the authors

Adam Quigley

Adam Quigley

Human Capital, Consulting

Adam is a Director in Deloitte's specialist technology enabled change practice. His particular area of focus is SAP S/4HANA, SAP Ariba and other SAP technologies. Adam is a change management expert, and uses analytics-based insights to help clients capitalise on their technology investments. He is also experienced working with senior leaders and HR teams to help embed new technologies and transform the way organisations do business.

Alice Currie

Alice Currie

Human Capital, Consulting

Alice is a Senior Manager within Deloitte’s Human Capital Consulting practice specialising in large-scale technology enabled transformations. She has both local and global strategic change management experience across large and complex organisations, with a particular focus on SAP technology implementations in the Energy and Resources sector. Alice brings a human-centred and behavioural insights approach to technology change, focussing and prioritising change efforts based on user needs, as well as the behavioural and mindset shifts required to make the change stick. She builds collaborative working relationships with stakeholders of all levels across organisations, from senior leaders to end users, to successfully deliver, sustain and continually improve new ways of working as a result of new technologies and processes.