ERP implementation, as we’ve stated in many of our previous articles, is never an easy or comfortable topic for many business executives. Too many managers have gone through such bad software implementation experiences that they are now hesitant to upgrade their current out-dated system, only because they fear to go through a similar implementation process again.
Implementation of any major software system is not always as easy as many claim it to be. It is not difficult in the sense of IT programming and such, but more in terms of employees getting used to or accepting big changes to business processes. Users are likely to resist new ways of completing tasks and many may not fully understand how to properly use the new system from the get-go. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Read Accepting Change during & after IT Software Implementation
So, what’s the secret to a successful, smooth ERP implementation?
The Secret is User Support & Training
One of the biggest and most overlooked challenges companies face is user resistance. Management tends to solely put all responsibilities on the IT experts however, for a project of this magnitude, all parties are responsible for the success of implementation. How the users will react can, in some cases, be the reason for implementation failures or major delays. Users have such a huge impact on an ERP implementation that the whole experience (mood, atmosphere, cost, length, challenges, stress, pressures) can highly depend on how your users are adjusting and how well they are embracing this new system.
Top management needs to carefully manage the whole implementation project and support their team throughout. A time like this can be difficult for employees, who are facing big changes and need to learn a whole new system from scratch. Management needs to be unified in support of the implementation and should continuously encourage their teams to not give up or fear the change.
On top of this, user training cannot be put on the backburner. Most ERP Providers will include in their proposals an optional section for User Training. To cut costs, many companies opt out of having the ERP Provider train their team and decide that their employees can simply read the software documentation and guides to learn how to use the system on their own. Unfortunately, most employees do not have the time to read all the documentation on these systems and therefore, do not know how to properly use the software. Investing in proper training will allow companies to reap the full benefits of using an ERP system. Everyone will know how to use the system the right way and work as efficiently as possible from the start. Training can begin during and post-implementation.
Read our article on “The Importance of User Training during software implementation”.
Of course, having the right ERP Provider and implementing a good system that fits well with your business is essential to a smooth implementation as well. That of course goes without saying. Never ever purchase an ERP system solely based on price or how popular it may be amongst large organizations. This does not mean it will automatically be a good fit at your company.
Therefore, User Support and Training are the secret to a successful ERP implementation. Without the proper support from management and effective user training, employees are likely to resist change and therefore reject the new system before it can even be implemented. Work as a team with your IT Provider and your employees to have a smooth transition.