When an organization is switching to a new ERP system, at the outset, it is crucial to have a solid transition plan. In order to lay the groundwork, we need to first understand what factors contribute to a successful project implementation. In short, our primary goals should be to avoid implementation failure and operational pain.
Let’s take a look at what a successful implementation looks like. Regardless of the size of the organization, the key markers of an implementation success are whether we can finish on time and within budget. Many studies in the past decade have pointed out that change management is one major contributing factor that largely predicted the success of any digital transformation. Many Project managers may mistakenly believe that selecting the right ERP system is the first step. However, even before we consider the software of choice, we need to form a steering committee and get everyone on board. Preparation and giving plenty of warning at the start of the project will provide enough time for everyone to understand and accept a new system.
In the fast-paced business world, project managers are compelled to steer the projects at a rapid pace in order to meet the deadline and to stay within budget. This can be challenging if employees show resistance to change due to perceived risks and reliance on habitual practices. Thus, as a first step, it is important to enlist the support of the HR team to make your change management smooth. This will help make your job easy to get the message across to all stakeholders.
As we know, change management starts with open communication with sponsors, executives and end users. Getting everyone involved in the project at the early stages will help to set organizational goals and be clear on expectations. Even before we talk about the new software, we need to take stock of our current processes and map out all the limitations and drawbacks and assess the effectiveness of the current system. This is when we need to address the fears and perceived risks of the employees in embracing the new system. Next, we need to inform everyone about the new ERP system, its benefits and what the system can deliver. Giving a general description of the new software will help employees understand how the ERP will work and how it operates in all divisions. Furthermore, knowing how the new ERP is going to enhance their job will help the employees adjust and accept it more easily. Addressing their fears at the onset will ensure everyone embraces the new system with less resistance.
It is important to be transparent about the whole project and continue to have the communication channels open throughout the project. Team meetings should be held often, consistently and send out a clear message about the goals and expectations of the project. Everyone should be able to recognize why your organization needs this new system. Giving an in-depth overview of the new system and explaining its main features and functionalities will help employees embrace and adopt this change with less resistance. All stakeholders need to clearly understand the reasons for investing in the new ERP and why we are moving away from an outdated and inadequate system.
As we know, a key reason for ERP project failure is poor user adoption. Providing proper end-user training will help us avoid costly errors in the long run. Find an appropriate partner company who have a high level of industry knowledge, functional and technical capabilities and financial expertise to adequately train your team. Very often partners offer a level of expertise hard to find internally at a company. They will be able to scrutinize the project and help avoid some of the pitfalls. Hands on training cannot be replaced by one off demos at any cost. It has to be on-going and relevant to the end-users. The trainers should be able to provide real-time insights into end-to-end systems. Effective training strategies at all levels will undoubtedly lead to organizational cost reduction, higher operational productivity and increased end-user satisfaction and adoption.
Planned change management help us create long lasting success. Your training strategy should be able to allocate sufficient budget for post implementation support as well. We need to recognize that ERP change management work is not complete after Go-Live. It is important to provide on-going support and further training for end-users. Besides having a strong support structure in place to address technical issues and offer real-time assistance is indeed mandatory. During this time, it will also be useful to explore ways to automate time-consuming, tedious processes. We also need to take a pro-active approach and offer feedback to optimize the new ERP. Along with early detection of performance problems, looking for ways to customize and improve the software to maximize operational efficiency will have long-term success.
As you can see, switching to a new ERP system can be stressful, fraught with challenges and become a burden to the already over-stretched end-users. We at 2MG can make your digital transformation straightforward and effortless. Allow us to implement your digital project and have the peace of mind knowing everything is taken care of. We can provide your end-users with the necessary trainings and continue to provide on-going support. Reach out to us to find out how we can help.