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Change Management: A Key Factor in Your ERP Successful ERP Implementation

Laura (Heinbockel) Schomaker

Laura Schomaker, Marketing Associate

July 13, 2018

There is a big difference between successful implementation of a new ERP, and the actual success of the ERP as part of your organization’s infrastructure and day-to-day functions. One of the most common pitfalls for companies with a new ERP is not managing change with a well-planned and organized approach. As part of your journey to ERP success, change management should be at the very top of your list of priorities. Along with change management, involvement from upper-level management, project management, and a structured training are also key success factors for your ERP journey.

Successful ERP Implementation Change Management Starts with Proper Planning

As with almost any successful endeavor an organization will undertake, preparation and planning are essential to the seamless execution of a project. This of course, begins well before the actual ERP implementation.  A clear vision needs to be established about why an ERP change is needed and which resources will be allocated to support the project. This vision needs to be well-articulated and expressed by leadership and well-understood by the rest of the company affected by the change. Project leaders and upper management supporters must be defined, as well as a chain-of-command for the entire implementation team. Analyze how the organization has managed change in the past and be aware of both points of strength and areas of improvement identified from past projects. All this information can reveal important details about what can make the ERP implementation project a success or a failure.

 

Once these points have been taken into consideration, a list of initiative priorities can be made along with a project roadmap/timeline that highlights resources and budget. This exercise will be the first building block for your change management plan; knowing where your company stands gives you a good idea of what your implementation strategy should be. The best way to prevent resistance to change is to make sure your staff members understand why it is needed and how it will benefit their individual activities within the company.

Defining ERP implementation Roles

Your entire ERP implementation team needs to be on the same page: expectations, roles, and responsibilities need to be clearly defined and understood. Decision-making and communication structures need to be ready so everyone understands where to channel feedback, escalate risk, and deal with issues in an organized fashion. Involvement from business leaders is a great way to cover the needs of each department, but the communication must be structured in a way that ensures project streams are integrated between each other and that no important information goes unnoticed.

 

With accurately defined roles and decision-making and communication structures, project execution and the technical side of the ERP implementation should go through a mostly seamless initial phase. The aftermath of that implementation is where companies run into most of their change management issues, which is why it is of utmost importance that the ERP’s end users understand what changes are happening and what behavioral adjustments they’ll need to make to use the new software.

Support the End User

In the post-implementation phase of your ERP journey, end users will feel the effects of the change most strongly. Project managers and those in charge of deployment are often well-versed in both use and problem-solving associated with the new software, but many end-users will be using the ERP for the first time after deployment. Implementing an in-depth training phase as part of the project will lessen resistance to change once the new ERP system goes live; this needs to be developed with a proper assessment of current skills and which learning requirements are indispensable; this ensures that as many issues as possible are addressed during the training phase.

 

Once the ERP is live, analyzing performance, employee behavior, and getting feedback will be key to mitigating the impact of change. Establishing a “change network” can be a helpful; the most confident users can help others with tips, hints, and tricks on how to make the most of the new ERP system. This creates an internal support system for change saving time and money. Schedule regular meetings with your project support and implementation teams to make sure your end users’ concerns are being heard and handled effectively. Remember, the end user can make or break your ERP journey, so give them what they need to be successful!

You can find out more about our ERP solutions and how we can help you manage change by visiting our website. You can also follow us on Twitter and  LinkedIn for ERP news and information!

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