All aboard: getting staff buy-in for ERP implementation

ERP implementation

Paul Kruger, DXC Oxygen

Paul Kruger shares his insights on how to increase the chances of an ERP project’s success, by getting your people on board.

No matter how advanced and automated our technology becomes, it’s our people that drive our organisations forward and ultimately, determine our long-term success. It’s for this reason that any major digital transformation project should place a high priority on end user adoption if it’s to have any chance of success.

An ERP implementation should be viewed as a notable change management project. One of the biggest mistakes to make during any change management project is to make assumptions about how people work without consulting with them first. Whether you manage frontline teams directly or not, you need to ensure you have a comprehensive picture of their daily tasks to understand the challenges that may arise during a new ERP implementation. This will allow you to work collaboratively on solutions ahead of time.

One thing that still amuses me is when IT leaders are shocked at employees who don’t pick up the new system straight away. Tech literacy will vary widely in any organisation, as I’m sure even Google has a couple of employees who need help with the printer. That means a one-size-fits-all approach to training simply isn’t going to work for everyone.

Your team training strategy

Check with your vendor to see what types of training options they have available. If it’s classroom style training that’s involved, be aware that not all of your team members will be able to attend and even if they do, not everyone learns well in these environments. Video tutorials and modules are becoming a more popular component of the training mix, as they can be completed in an individual’s own time and quickly reviewed whenever they need a quick refresher.

No matter how well you plan, consult and train with your staff, there will always be people who are reluctant to adopt a new system. Look at it from their point of view: if they’ve been in the workforce for a while, there’s a good chance they’ve had poorly integrated systems forced on them at some point. It’s now wonder they view innovative technology with some degree of skepticism.

Lead your team

Good leadership is crucial here as communication and emotional intelligence will allow you to better understand their point of view. Create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to share their concerns about the new system and make sure these concerns are followed up with the appropriate levels of support, maintenance and training if necessary.

It’s also important to share success stories with everyone. While it’s important for senior leaders to be informed of the value your new ERP is delivering, don’t forget to share those stories across your organisation. Some people may save their objections for private conversations with colleagues but if you’re countering small amounts of negativity with an overall positive narrative, you’ll find that negativity won’t easily spread.

None of this is to say you’re always likely to encounter widespread pushback from an ERP implementation, but it it’s always advisable to be proactive in leading your people through the change management process. If you select the right system for your needs and partner with a vendor who is willing to help you at every step of the implementation process, you’re giving any new system the best possible chance of being widely adopted.

This article is sponsored by DXC Oxygen. Paul Kruger is director of regional SAP sales and marketing, DXC Oxygen.

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