“Change is the only constant”. That’s one proverb we have heard way too many times. It is quite true that people resist change. It is even more protuberant in organizations that are on their way to make some significant changes in their working patterns. Employees are hesitant about new methods, policies, systems, etc. This is precisely why change management should not be viewed as a ‘redundant expenditure’ or as something which will happen on its own. The success of ERP Implementation depends largely on how the change from existing way of working to a new way of working is managed during the ERP implementation.
While considered a linchpin in any organization’s success, ERP system software tends to face resistance from its potential end users. In their exhaustive study, A taxonomy of players and activities across the ERP project life cycle, Somers and Nelson say,
“Many ERP implementations fail to achieve expected benefits possibly because companies underestimate the efforts involved in the implementation of change management system. Such activities appear to be important from the early stages of the project, and continue throughout the adaptation and acceptance stages.”
In this blog post, we will discuss the dire need for change management for the sake of ERP implementation to be successful.
1. Communication is the key to successful ERP implementation
It is important to realize that one of the biggest hurdles in change management is that your employees will have their fair share of doubts and apprehensions regarding the new system that they are supposed to get used to. There will be people in various departments like Sales, Purchase, Accounts, Production, etc. who would view the ERP software system as a means of putting a regulatory check on their activities. Such binding accountability can make one skeptical and would fill them with founded or unfounded doubts, thus causing a panic.
It is, thus, the duty of the management to communicate to their team, the imperative need of ERP system. ERP implementation affects the nature of tasks or job roles for people; therefore it is imperative that the employees are taken into confidence before implementing a new ERP software system in an organization. You need to assure your employees that the new system is not only for the best interest of the company but also for theirs.
To ensure that you have buy-in from every office and region. If you do not have buy-in from everyone in leadership, it may risk making the ERP implementation unsuccessful. Changes can be accepted, even gracefully embraced if you have personnel buy-in and management support to help the organization reach predetermined goals from the onset of the implementation of ERP system.
3. Training and Employee Engagement
In his book, E-business and ERP: rapid implementation and project planning, Murrell G Shields show that change management activities are either overlooked or short-changed because much of the work involving them occurs towards the end of the ERP implementation process, with both time and budget already falling behind the scheduled pace.
ERP software requires the end users to acquire a set of knowledge to fully understand the new system. Change management system need to focus on training the end users to first get fully acquainted with the ERP system and make use of the ERP software in the most efficacious manner.
One important tip: Make sure that your ERP vendor has a strong, established implementation training process to make sure your employees get sufficient training. Clear communication between you and the vendor will also play a key role in a successful training process across all the departments. That is why it is important to have all communication between you and Vendor through the respective SPOCs (Single Point Of Contact). The SPOCs have to be the ones who are authorized to take all the decisions on the behalf of their company in all matters related to ERP implementation process.
4. My way or highway
Despite the best of Change Management efforts and trying to communicate to employees about the ERP, it is possible that there would be employees who will not be willing to align with the Company’s ERP vision. Howsoever crucial these employees may be for the company, they have to be told that since they are not aligning with the vision of the company, it is time to part ways. You will be required to take such tough decisions as well in the interest of the company. All this is a part of the Change Management process in ERP Implementations itself.
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