Organizational Change Management Case Studies


What makes one data integration project succeed, while others fail? The answer lies in the cultural, political and personal environment of the enterprise. Organizations that foster respect, trust, and communication for all team members succeed much more often than those that don’t.

At Universal Data Models, we have had the benefit of being involved in many data integration efforts. In our efforts, we have researched and analyzed the question: “What the keys are to successful integration?” Below are two examples of projects we worked on, each with very different results. By reviewing other efforts, we can understand how human dynamics can affect your project and learn how we can improve our chances for success.


Project #1

Background: Knowledgeable, highly intelligent staff, total management commitment from the CEO down, $150US million budget, some of the best skills, great tools, used latest technologies.

Result: Failure. After several years and a tremendous amount of resources were spent, the effort was cancelled. Useful systems did not arise from the effort, and there was very little perceived business benefits from this effort.

What Went Wrong? Teams were competing against each other. Many of the teams didn’t want the data management team to succeed because they were all competing to “climb the corporate ladder” and if the data management director succeeded, they perceived that it would be at their expense. The teams viewed the data management organization as a competitor and as an obstacle in doing their own work. When the data management organization’s funding ended, other project’s could then do things exactly the way that each project wanted. This led to more disparate data, more un-integrated data, and lower data quality.


Project #2

Background: Community college with a $250,000 budget, uncommitted and skeptical top management, four month to complete, basic tools and technologies.

Result: Huge success. Universal Data Models, LLC, helped deliver an integrated solution in four months. After this initial success, several million more dollars were allocated and used effectively to further increase the quality of data and better serve the community college system. This project and program was written up in several magazines.

Why Did We Succeed? Our client fully understood the various motivations at work, created a team that understood and trusted one another, and established a common vision and goal that everyone was excited about and working towards. Each part of the team (including the business community) was allowed to contribute useful ideas, and all perspectives were honored (even if they were not implemented). Hence, participants in this effort felt empowered had a team perspective, and delivered huge value.


To ensure success on any integration effort, it is imperative to understand and invest in the cultural, political and personal environment. Most enterprises agree that the biggest barrier to integration is not technology – it is people. So why not invest in the area that matters most? Based upon our research of many efforts over the years, we believe that there are 6 Key Principles that are important for successful integration.



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