Those of us that have been involved with ERP projects know what it’s like to experience the thrill of an ERP go-live. It’s exciting, confusing, difficult, and full of opportunity, all at the same time.
While it may be a huge step in a long battle, it is by no means a final step. It seems that many project managers use the go-live date as their primary milestone and key measure of success. However, just getting to the go-live date on-time and under budget is just one piece of the ERP benefits realization puzzle.
What about the effect the new system has on the organization? Are people using the system effectively? Is the software making the business more efficient? Is it adding value to the organization? These are many questions that go unanswered until well after go-live, which is why it is important to have a solid user support program in place to supplement your technical cutover activities.
Although pre-go-live end-user training can mitigate many of the risks that organizations face at the time of cutover, there needs to be additional reinforcement after go-live. For example, core project team members (or “superusers”) should be leveraged to provide general support and answer simple, process- and system-focused questions. Immediately after go-live, about 80% of user issues are related to lack of understanding of rather than a problem with the system, so superusers should be the first level of support.
In addition, providing additional tools, such as cheat sheets and training documentation, will make employees more comfortable with the system more quickly. Refresher training should also be provided as needed on an on-going basis.
By clearly defining your go-live and on-going support processes as part of your overall ERP planning, you will better leverage your ERP technology to realize real business benefits and ROI from your ERP project.