What Is Enterprise Change Management?

Enterprise change management is a strategic framework for empowering organizations to embrace and thrive through change. 

This approach, supported by Prosci research, requires a detailed plan that prepares, equips and supports the organization through changes. 

Enterprise change management (ECM) is an important topic within organizational development. Research by Prosci shows that company-wide changes cannot succeed with change leaders simply launching and implementing change efforts. Instead, there needs to be a well-planned approach to prepare, equip and support enterprises through these changes. 

Enterprise change management ensures changes become a regular part of daily operations. This guarantees you integrate changes into organizational operations and your employee mindset.  

Lasting change needs everyone on board—without it, any improvements may be short-term. For real progress, the whole company must unite behind the change for a better future.


The Essence of ECM

Enterprise change management is a unified approach that embeds change management skills, tools, and processes across an organization.  Unlike traditional, project-specific change management practices, Prosci builds change management deeply into the organization's DNA. 

ECM objectives

ECM directs company efforts to enhance performance and adaptability. 


  • Utilize human resources more effectively 
  • Ensure projects achieve their expected returns 
  • Reduce the negative impacts of change saturation 
  • Promote organizational agility to respond effectively to changes 

Lead with these objectives to help your organization navigate through change. 

3 levels of change management

ECM is structured into three practical levels, each with specific aspects of the change process. 


  • Individual Supports one person in adopting new changes 
  • Project – Applies to specific initiatives to mitigate risks and secure outcomes 
  • Enterprise – Integrates change management into the fabric of the organization, making it flexible and responsive to changes 

Address each level to ensure a change strategy that will scale from a personal to an enterprise-wide impact. 

Venn diagram showing the three levels of change management.

Different dimensions of ECM 

The dimensions of ECM are your guidelines for incorporating change capabilities into your organization. 


  • Consistency – Apply the same change management methods across all projects for uniformity. 
  • Competency – Build and strengthen change management skills at every level of your workforce. 
  • Strategic capability – Elevate change management to a key competency within your business strategy. 

Adopt these dimensions to transform change management into the driving force to improve your business.


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ECM as a Strategic Organizational Capability

Enterprise change management embeds change capabilities into an organization's culture and daily operations, rather than only managing change on a project-by-project basis. It enables you to systematically build organizational change management competencies, from leadership to front-line staff. 

ECM converts change management from an occasional tactical tool into a core organizational capability that ensures continued success in the long run. 

Prosci studies show that effective change management leads to achieving goals, staying on schedule, and remaining within budget. Evidence that successful change amplifies advantages across an organization. 

figures to show the benefits of change management

Key components for building enterprise change capability 

Building enterprise-wide change management capability demands focused effort.  This includes treating the initiative as a project and a change, leveraging successful examples, and securing leadership commitment to ensure widespread adoption and integration into the organizational culture.  

Advantages of Deploying Enterprise Change ManagementAdvantages of Deploying Enterprise Change Management. (700 x 397 px)


Download our free eBook to learn why companies invest in enterprise change management and the eight outcomes from a holistic ECM implementation that give you a competitive edge. 

Why Enterprise Change Management Is Important


Modern business climates demand a unique approach to change—this is where ECM steps in to help organizations toward resilience and growth.  

Let's explore in more detail why ECM is important.  

Enhancing organizational agility and effectiveness 

ECM ensures consistent application of change strategies by standardizing change processes and building leadership competencies in change management. 

Over time, change adoption becomes a core competency and cultural norm across the organization. With this readiness and adaptability, organizations can respond more quickly to market dynamics and remain competitive. 

Cultivating a change-ready corporate culture  

Investing in enterprise change management is a strategic move that demands deliberate action and resources. For ECM to take root, an organization must see it as a crucial project and a significant shift in operations.  

To grow change management capability, it is critical to: 

  • Secure a committed executive sponsor with the authority and influence to drive change 
  • Select initial projects that can show quick wins, thus proving the value of structured change management 
  • Engage senior leaders by positioning change management as a catalyst for positive business results 
  • Clarify sponsorship roles, stressing the importance of visible support and active engagement in driving change adoption 

To build a culture that adapts to change, focus on action—get leaders involved, start with small successful changes, and make sure everyone knows their role in making change happen. 

Two women and a man in a wheelchair looking at a laptop and a monitor.

Actionable steps for ECM implementation 

To successfully implement enterprise change management, start with these seven activities that drive actionable results. 

1. Get leadership on board 

What to do – Engage company leaders and get their support for ECM. Explain how ECM benefits the company and why their involvement is critical. 

Why it's important – Leadership's commitment drives ECM's success. Their support ensures that the organization takes the change management effort seriously. 

2. Define the future state 

What to do – Spend time considering how you want your organization’s future to look and how change management can be a key principle in its success. 

Why it’s important – Decide on how you want your organization’s future to look and how change management can be a key principle in its success. 

3. Craft your ECM plan 

What to do – Develop a clear ECM strategy. Define goals, identify stakeholders, and outline the steps needed to integrate change management into the organization. 

Why it's important – A solid plan provides a roadmap for adopting change management practices. It aligns efforts and sets clear expectations.

4. Evaluate and prepare

What to do Assess the organization's readiness for change. Identify potential challenges and areas of resistance, and prepare strategies to address them.

Why it's important – Understanding the current state helps you tailor the ECM approach. It ensures the organization is ready and able to handle changes effectively.

5. Integrate change management into your processes

What to do – Align change management with strategic planning, project management, Lean, and other key processes to achieve a successful change management strategy.

What is important – Change management doesn’t need to take over how you run your organization, but it also shouldn’t feel like an add-on. Integrating with other critical processes ensures that leaders and employees work together toward the same goals, so the organization achieves intended results. 

6. Train and support your team 

What to do – Offer training and resources to managers and employees. Equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to manage teams and help them adapt to change.

Why it's important – People are at the heart of change. Effective training and support equip people to contribute positively, engage with the change, and overcome the barriers that cause resistance.

7. Track and adjust 

What to do – Monitor the progress of ECM initiatives. Use feedback and data to make adjustments as needed. 

Why it's important – Continuous improvement ensures the ECM strategy remains effective and responsive to the organization's needs. It helps identify what works and what needs refinement for better outcomes. 

By following these steps, your organization can start laying a strong foundation for ECM to ensure that strategies evolve with the business. 

ECM Process

Learn the differences between ECM and traditional change management and get tips for applying it in your organization.  

Understanding the uniqueness of ECM 

ECM makes change management a fundamental part of an organization's operations.  

Unlike traditional methods that often focus on single projects, ECM involves the whole company. It needs support from top leaders, clear planning, and developing new skills throughout the organization.  

The goal is to achieve big-picture objectives, prevent overload from too much change at once, and make the organization more adaptable. 

Traditional Change Management Versus the Prosci Approach to ECM

Traditional change management practices
Prosci Enterprise Change Management (ECM) approach

Scope of impact 



Primary focus 

Individual projects

Strategic intent, mitigating change saturation, and improving agility  

Application methodology

Ad hoc, as needed 

Systematic and embedded into organizational fabric 

Processes and tools consistency

May vary from project to project 

A common set of processes and tools applied consistently 

Leadership competency scope

Often limited to project teams 

Developed at all levels, from front-line supervisors to senior executives 

Strategic capability for change

Limited to project outcomes

Enables organizational flexibility and responsiveness to changes 

Change management perspective 

Tactical, often reactive 

Strategic, proactive and integrated 

Implementation approach

Focused on managing the human side or "people side" of a change

Comprehensive, involving change management maturity assessment and strategic alignment, as well as planning and deployment of the overall ECM effort. Often involves developing a Change Management Office

Behavioral change scope

Specific to project goals

Requires new behaviors, activities and skill sets organization-wide

Level of sponsorship needed

Requires active and visible sponsorship from leadership for the project or initiative

Requires active and visible sponsorship from senior leadership for the overarching effort to deploy ECM

Final outcome

Project success and ROI improvement

Organizational agility, change-readiness and competitive advantage



Build your business case for enterprise change management with our free template.       

The necessity of building and investing in ECM capability 

Our experiences across multiple sectors reveal the high price of neglecting ECM, where even multi-million-dollar projects can flounder without the requisite buy-in and engagement from those affected.  

The shift in perspective from viewing change management as an optional or last-minute consideration to recognizing it as an essential component of project budgets shows a broader acknowledgment of its value.  

Correlation of Change Management Effectiveness With Meeting Objectives 

Correlation of CM Effectiveness

Organizations with excellent change management are 7X more likely to achieve objectives, including financial returns. Deploying ECM takes change management to a new level by increasing change management maturity across the enterprise-amplifying capabilities and building organizational agility. 

You can get the most out of change at an individual and enterprise level with Prosci Licensing Solutions, which includes many resources and toolkits. 

Practical tips for implementing ECM 

Building enterprise change capability with Project ECM demands treating the effort as both a project and a change.  

This involves moving from the current state—where change management is inconsistently applied and misunderstood—to a future state where change management is an integral part of every initiative, with clear expectations, resources and processes in place.  

The transition requires two things.  

  1. A technical approach to implementing solutions and mechanisms for change management. 
  2. A people-oriented strategy to build support and commitment across the organization. 




For organizations aiming to strengthen ECM processes, here are some things to keep in mind: 

  • Start by treating the organizational change management competencies as both a project and a critical change initiative, in line with the approach of Prosci ECM Framework.  
  • Select change initiatives initially that highlight the immediate benefits of structured change management, focusing on projects that offer quick wins to demonstrate efficacy.  
  • Address both the technical and people sides of change—ensuring the necessary systems are in place for the future state while building buy-in and support for the transition. 
  • Leadership plays a pivotal role, not just in sponsorship but in actively promoting and embedding change management practices within the organization's DNA.  

To make ECM work, focus on practical steps and get everyone on board. Ensure leaders lead the change, pick projects that show quick benefits, and blend technology with team support to enable the shift to a culture that embraces change.

Prosci ECM FrameworkProsci’s ECM Framework- Showing 5 Capability Areas

Success story: Prosci helps SoCalGas build enterprise change management capabilities 

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), the largest U.S. natural gas distribution utility, faced challenges while upgrading 6 million gas meters due to the absence of a structured change management program and the need for consistent, successful project outcomes. 

Prosci solutions: 

  • Formed an enterprise change management team. 
  • Gained access to Prosci change management resources. 
  • Created a Strategic Roadmap to improve project outcomes, establish a unified change language, and enhance agility. 


  • Increased the change management maturity score from 1.7 to 3.9. 
  • Improved project outcomes significantly, achieving 100% training completion and increasing process speeds by 145%. 

Prosci offers a common-sense approach to change management, easy ways to clearly define and measure the success of our change initiatives, and training focused on building capabilities.

– Cathy Chargualaf, Change Manager, SoCalGas

To read more success stories like this, click here.  

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