Simply put, widespread organizational change management (OCM) is critical to ERP system implementation success because an ERP system – and the changes it necessitates – affects every aspect of an organization. As a result, end-users across the spectrum are often overwhelmed with all the changes to their jobs, including new business processes, new data, new systems and new ways of interacting with all of the above. And since people tend to fear change, stress levels run high and emotions rule the day.
So what’s an organization to do? Yeah, yeah, OCM this and OCM that but how should it really manage change to ensure the best ERP implementation possible?
Well, here’s a start . . .
1. Present Information and Share Knowledge
Employees need more than training to understand the need for (and importance of) the new ERP system. At minimum, organizations must make efforts to communicate:
- Why the organization is implementing the ERP system
- How and when the ERP system will affect their jobs
- How the ERP system will improve their jobs
- How the ERP system will improve the company overall
2. Train and Educate
In our experience, organizations almost always underestimate the amount of education and training needed before, during and after implementation. It’s obvious that ERP-related training is crucial to ensure employees learn the new software but it’s also crucial to ensure they learn the new business processes. These changes in business processes, which are inherent in any successful ERP implementation, create changes in corporate culture and climate. Though less obvious, perhaps, than changes in job functions, these subtle shifts will be very important to your staff and must be managed to avoid resentment, fear and anxiety.
3. Show Support and Commitment From Senior Management
One of the best ways to rally the troops is to present a unified front. From the C-level down through the top management tiers, executives should be on point about the reasons behind and benefits of the ERP implementation. A lack of management buy-in is often a key reason behind ERP implementation failures and resistance to change; do not think that an executive’s disengagement or recalcitrance will go unnoticed by employees.
These are just a few of the ways an organization should, as David Bowie sang, “turn and face the strange changes” wrought by its new ERP system. For more information, please reference our organizational change management page or call 720-515-1ERP to schedule a meeting.