Implementing or upgrading a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is a big deal and not something that will happen overnight. While of course, the technical side of an ERP project is important to get right, without change management the project could be a disaster.
This is the second in a series of articles that outline the profile of a successful ERP project. We began with the importance of Subject Matter Experts, now we’ll shift gears and talk about the people-side of this organizational change.
What is Change Management
It may sound vague and nebulous, but change management is simply the various actions needed for the people in your organization to feel prepared and positive for an organizational change that affects their daily work lives. In the case of implementing a new ERP system, this could mean that a significant portion of their responsibilities may change methods or procedures.
People don’t like change. That’s just a fact. But they dislike it even more when it feels like it came out of nowhere. Change management speaks more to the psychological preparedness of an organizational change over a technical one. The most successful ERP projects are ones where the stakeholders are positive about the change and confident in its benefits.
No matter how many benefits come with upgrading your ERP to the cloud or implementing a new ERP, you will likely have some staff that will resist. The good news is that you can get ahead of the resistance and help mitigate their urge to fight the inevitable.
When it comes to resistance management, it’s crucial to have internal change champions. They are the people who will sing the praises of the new ERP and will enthusiastically talk up the elements they are looking forward to—reduced manual data entry, time saved, improved inventory control, etc.
For those who seem reluctant, having one-off meetings with these people can help ease their minds. Show them one on one how their specific job and processes translate to the new system.
In all things, communication reigns supreme. Establishing a constant level of communication about the ERP project is absolutely essential. Just like in a relationship, communication breeds trust between both parties. Your staff members need to know you have their back and have carefully considered this massive change and how it affects them.
Have a plan for who, when, and how you’re communicating in place ahead of time. Set recurring check-ins with all staff affected and be prepared to answer any questions the team may have. This also helps break down silos across the organization since there will likely be overlap in certain new processes.
Early Training and Adoption
People who fully understand their job and its processes can do their job more efficiently and effectively. If you’ve ever decided to just “wing it” at work when you’re not sure how to do something, you know what we mean. It feels uneasy, and there may be consequences down the line that make you wish you had all the information. That’s where proper ERP training comes in.
You’ll need to get people familiar with the system so that they aren’t lost and struggling to complete their responsibilities on the go-live date. Like we mentioned in the previous blog, SMEs will likely be doing the training. They would have been heavily involved at the beginning of the project, and at this later stage, they should be experts in the new ERP.
At Rangeline Solutions, we’re with our clients every step of the way, from analyzing business processes to supporting staff after solution implementation. It’s not enough to get the technology working efficiently if its people struggle with adoption and use. Rangeline Solutions guides our clients through the entire change process.