Rick Smits, Apollo Transformation & Engagement team ABN AMRO Bank

How do you get up to 10.000 employees and stakeholders involved and engaged in what must be the biggest IT transformation until now? That is the challenge Rick and his colleagues are facing at ABN AMRO. The transformation ahead: bringing hundreds of programs and applications into the cloud and introducing DevOps: a new way of working.

How do you get started on such a big transformation?

The way we work is by taking leaps. Every two months, a selection of several teams starts with the transformation. To make sure we get everyone on board, we were looking for a way to get a notion of the people’s readiness and willingness to change. Because you pick up on some negative whispers down the hallways, but we found it very important to back it up with data. I remembered a few former colleagues had successfully worked with The People Side Of Change. So I got in touch with Erik Steketee to see if he could support us. And we signed up for the Prosci Change Management Certification Program.

How has the Prosci Methodology helped you?

For us the ADKAR methodology has made a huge difference. It’s a very specific tool to measure the willingness and readiness for change with your team. It gives you the right questions to ask so you can have your gut feeling backed up with the right data. There are a bunch of questions to ask where people have to give a rating from 1 to 5. When all the answers are in, you can see where there’s some more work to do. Everything with a score lower than 3 is something to focus on.

What insights did it give you?

We were positively surprised by the results! They showed us that the awareness of the need for the change ahead was high, as well as the desire to support the change. This taught us that the whispers that got to us, were not a right representation of the mass.

What we did find out, was that we have some work to do on the third pillar: the knowledge of how to change. It was something we’d predicted that could be an issue. To have it backed up by the results of the test, made us shift gears quicker and look for ways to change that.

Why would you recommend the Prosci Methodology to other companies?

It gives you the tools you need to collect data and discover if you are on the right track and whether or not everyone is on board with the transformation ahead. Not only to have your gut feeling backed up with data, but also to have specific details to inform members of the board why certain steps are necessary. I would definitely recommend it to all companies who have a transformation ahead!

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