Every single ERP project, no matter the size, is about change. We all know that a new ERP system demands that organizations change the way they do business, otherwise why else would a company go through the painful process of an ERP implementation, right? The whole purpose behind selecting and implementing a new software system is to improve the organization and its processes. Most of the time the challenge is not the system itself, but the people using the system. Bringing a new software system means that people will have to adapt to a new way of doing things, and let’s be real, people do not like change. Even though most companies out there talk about how important their people are, somehow they seem to leave the organizational change management topic for a different conversation.
Many organizations seem to be very enthusiastic in the early stages of an ERP project about executing an organizational change management strategy, but for some inexplicable reason, the initiative vanishes slowly as the project moves on until they finally decide the budget is not enough to invest in the human factor. It is also common for organizations to think that it is the responsibility of project managers to execute an OCM strategy. Unfortunately, most of the time project managers do not have the necessary experience or what’s more important, the time – remember they are managing the project – to run an effective organizational change management plan.
A comprehensive organizational change management strategy must be an integral part of any organizational transformation. It is undisputable that those projects that include a solid OCM strategy have a higher likelihood of success. A positive organizational change management strategy calls for a holistic take in regards to preparation and readiness. Companies need to plan ahead in order to overcome the resistance to change. If an organization hasn’t started organizational change management until end-user training comes along, then the project may be set up for a failure and the financial implications will reflect eventually by reducing benefits realization.
Do not wait until is too late and your own internal resources are depleted. Take charge of your ERP project from day one and make sure that the backbone of your implementation is in fact your team. Don’t focus just on getting to the Go-Live date, instead focus on getting to the Go-Live successfully; these are actually two different things. Your organization should not only prepare for an initial decline in production, as well as for an initial increase in resistance from its people, but also for the fact that no matter how great your organizational management strategy is, you will never eliminate the human challenge completely.
Unless your organizations have a firm plan for training and a clear and committed organizational change management strategy, your new ERP system will just be another expensive effort to increase the bottom line. You must commit to your people and your people’s strategy before selecting your new ERP system. The other option is not really an option and the last thing you ever want to hear from me is I told you so!