Effective and efficient ERP training is the cornerstone of every successful organizational change management (OCM) plan. Training end-users and preparing employees for system go-live directly contributes to bottom-line results and ERP success. But what does effective ERP training look like and how can organizations avoid the mistake of squeezing training into the smallest timeframe possible?
Many organizations wait to train end-users until right before go-live because they fail to see the value in an extensive training program. While a detailed training program may seem excessive, the benefits of knowledgeable and prepared employees are unmatched. Preparing employees for the business process reengineering associated with new ERP software ensures that employee productivity doesn’t plummet after go-live and business operations continue without disruption.
Following are five strategies for developing an effective training program that adequately prepares employees for the changes ahead:
- Begin training at least 60 days before ERP go-live. Verify that the project team has enough time to conduct training by working with an independent, external source to validate project strategy and scope and assess forecasted time and resource requirements.
- Recognize that employee productivity depends on not only on the timing of training but also the content. End-users should be trained in both the technical use of the system and any new business processes that will change the way they do their jobs.
- Rather than offer ERP training focused on transactional processes (wherein users are trained how to complete basic transactions with the new software), provide contextual training that explains how the new business processes relate to the old.
- Take advantage of internal resources, including super-users and organizational change leads, who can serve as proponents of the new system and help the project team communicate about training schedules and expectations.
- The organizational culture fostered by your organizational change management plan should directly feed into and affect training activities. Throughout ERP training, discussions should be welcome and communication should be open and frequent.
When an organization leaves ERP training to the last minute, end-users are left with the perception that the organization does not understand nor care to understand the business processes or job-related needs of its employees. When carefully planned and executed, however, ERP training can lead to a successful ERP implementation that achieves all expected business benefits.