I’m just young enough to be addicted to text messaging, but not young enough to fully engage in text talk. Rather than texting someone a message saying LOL (laugh out loud), I’d prefer to actually laugh. Although I understand and use newer technologies like text messaging, Facebook, and Twitter, I also have one foot in the world of “older” technologies like ERP systems. Most CIOs and executives we work with are in a similar position.
But what about those that are under 30 or just coming out of college? How will they adjust to more complex business processes and technologies? While this demographic may be used to unstructured and informal tools like Facebook and Twitter, where one can say whatever one wants whenever they want, ERP software requires quite a bit more discipline and structure. In addition, the interwoven business processes in most organizations and their enterprise software mean that there is a ripple effect anytime a new process or transaction is triggered, something that newer technologies may not prepare you for.
The irony is that this disconnect may actually underscore the need for organizational change management in the future. Traditionally, organizational change was more dramatic for heavily tenured and older workers that were making dramatic changes from outdated legacy systems to more modern ERP systems. Now, the pendulum has shifted and it’s the younger workers that will likely create resistance when it comes to forcing structure and timeliness on employees that may not be used to it.
Here are some tips that may may help ease the organizational implications of migrating these types of employees to the world of ERP:
- Provide systems that have a look and feel similar to the newer consumer technologies in the marketplace. Many ERP vendors like Infor are launching user interfaces with consumer grade interfaces to address this concern.
- Help these newer employees understand why well-defined processes are so important. They need to understand that while they can update their Facebook status or watch the Evolution of Dance whenever it strikes their fancy without any consequences, there are very compelling reasons why you have to go to the other extreme and enter customer orders in a timely basis.
- Provide a variety of organizational change management and training tools. Younger employees are very familiar with a variety of non-traditional learning tools, such as on-demand videos (think: YouTube) and interactive, hands-on “try it yourself” training. Traditional classroom-based training alone won’t cut it with this group.
ERP vendors are doing a fairly good job of beginning to address this shift in the first point above. However, it is up to your ERP implementation and organizational change management teams to address the latter two points; even the easiest-to-use software won’t enforce the discipline and structure required to run an effective and efficient business operation.