One of the big advantages of ERP is visibility to enterprise data. Companies without ERP often times have fragmented silos with no knowledge of what is going on in other departments. For example, when a customer calls customer service to order a product, the CSR may not know when an out-of-stock item is due to be replenished. Or, product managers may not have access to pending sales of a particular product. Problems such as these tend to go away with ERP software.
The downside, however, is that increased access to information often means more employee anxiety and uncertainty. In order for organizations to realize the benefits of ERP, employees need to leverage improved processes and functionality. The best way for them to do that is to understand what is expected of them.
In our example above, what is a CSR supposed to do when a customer places an order that’s out of stock? In the old world, maybe they just transferred the customer’s call to purchasing to find out when the product was going to be ordered. Or maybe the CSR would put them on hold, call purchasing to find out the answer, and verbally give the status to the customer. But in a new system, they need to understand what this new information means and what they are expected to do with it.
A big reason for ERP implementation failure is that employees do not understand process changes such as these. Therefore, rather than utilizing generic system training, organizations need to implement a comprehensive and process-based training program that is specific to the organization. This should be an integral part of the company’s ERP organizational change management program.