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Engaging a team of Change Agents for your ERP Implementation project is a critical success factor not to be overlooked. This role will provide support to your project and could provide the additional assurance needed for a successful ERP implementation. Experience has shown me that, without a solid team of Change Agents, the technical implementation team will continuously be faced with conflicting priorities.

A Change Agent is the direct liaison between the technical project team members and the end users. The Change Agent understands the new business process being implemented and understands the impact of that process to the business.

The role needs to be a formal role, well defined, and well recognized in the end user population. Without formal definition the role may be confused or overlooked and will not be able to provide the needed support to the ERP project.

A Change Agents is an experienced employee who is considered at or near “super-user” status of the current system. A change agent is a highly influential employee and is respected by their peers. Change Agents make perfect trainers and will become lead users. Most importantly they are good communicators, progressive thinkers and are focused on continuous improvement.

There is a delicate hand off between technical team members and Change Agents. The technical team is greatly involved in understanding the business requirements, designing new business processes and configuring and testing the system. The Change Agent accepts the newly designed business processes and focuses on socializing the new process, obtaining buy in and eventually training users if required. To often we see chaos just prior to “Go-Live”. Technical team members scrambling to complete testing, approving and possibly even creating training documents, being involved in cutover activities all while being involved in very critical executive reviews of the system. With a team of Change Agents on board, the technical team can stay focused on the technical aspects of the system while the Change Agent introduces, promotes and delivers the new ERP system and processes to the end users and stakeholders.

With a strong team of Change Agents in place the technical team members will never be faced with competing priorities and the end users will be introduced to the new ERP system in a timely and methodical manner.

Blog entry written by Ruth Hagen, an ERP consultant at Panorama Consulting Group.

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