Utilities: DMS Upgrade – Change Management

Power Lines Utilities

Client Description:

Largest state electric and natural gas utility, delivering power to more than 1.5 million electric customers and more than 500,000 natural gas customers in the region.

Business Challenge:

The client’s current Distribution Management System had reached the end of life for hardware and application support and required an upgrade. While the upgrade was “like for like” it still resulted in new user interfaces, changes in functionality and changes in workflow processes, impacting several business groups. Olenick was engaged to apply a formal Change Management (CM) framework, track and manage the changes, and improve adoption of the new system.

Key Service Areas:



  • Adapted Prosci ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Resistance) methodology to existing client Change Management methodology, focusing on knowledge transfer and training to align with the system’s Go-live date.
  • Established artifacts to guide CM efforts and compliance (Change Environment & Adoption Reports, Stakeholder Lists/Matrixes, Communication/Training Plans, Evaluations, Communication Notices, job aids).
  • Identified impacted groups and tracked all changes in technology, user experience, system, and process/workflow.
  • Determined best mitigation strategies for resolving gaps in knowledge, ability and user resistance.
  • Set communications cadence for frequent updates: planned, scheduled and facilitated bi-weekly SME meetings, created and sent formal IT communication emails, and delivered weekly presentations to stakeholders and leadership.
  • Coordinated training with client and vendor (including 3 pre-SAT training sessions, Train-the-Trainer, end-user training plans, special topics, and 10+ targeted workshops to demo new processes, SME assignments and schedules.
  • Coordinated and shared user manuals and documentation with trainers and SMEs.
  • Facilitated Lessons Learned discussions at the end of each iteration or increment.


  • Ensured that all appropriate stakeholder voices were heard and that stakeholder concerns were addressed.
  • Identified user impacts early and established appropriate training and resistance mitigation plans in time for Go-Live.
  • Increased comfort level with the new system and processes, and improved user adoption by ensuring that the most vulnerable impacted groups received targeted Change Management support.
  • Ensured that Lessons Learned were captured, that knowledge was transferred between project leaders and stakeholders and across utilities, and that success stories were shared and celebrated.


Contributing Editor: Eric Byville

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