Investing in ERP training for your employees

March 15, 2016 Ken Jacobsen

Investing in ERP training for your employees

Many modern business leaders seem to carry a persistent bit of unrealistic optimism: they think employees don’t need ERP training and job related education. The Washington Post shared a variety of industry reports that discovered the amount of time and resources invested in bringing new staff members up to speed has shrunk since 1979, with the most recent Accenture survey on the subject finding only one-fifth of employees reported they received training in the past five years.

It seems organizations are slow to retrain workers when the company implements new business strategies or software solutions. This is problematic because researchers such as Forrester have found a staff’s inability to respond effectively to change contributed to 37 percent of ERP implementation failures, according to The Office of Finance Blog.

If a company truly wants to commit to a business software purchase, it must allocate time and resources to getting employees on board with new ideas and processes. Here are a few investments organizations should make in their employees if they expect ERP training to achieve desired results:

Have a clear understanding of daily tasks
Does a company need a mobile ERP solution? Should data processes be moved to the cloud? What about ERP and CRM integration? Businesses need to contemplate these questions before they even think about purchasing a new software product. To find the answers, implementation team leaders must know exactly what end users do and how ERP solutions can help.

Business leaders need to invest time and resources to audit and observe daily operations. There is no room for guesswork in ERP implementation. Decision makers have to know exactly how the solution should improve normal operations so they can make effective pitches for employee and ownership buy-in.

Measuring the speed and accuracy of current operations gives implementation leaders a bar by which to measure ERP success. It can also show which existing systems work fine and how the new ERP system should function with existing effective solutions. Managers shouldn’t replace business assets that employees like for arbitrary reasons; new choices must have justifications for adoption.

Evaluate level of interest
Once you calculate current needs and explain to employees how a new ERP solution should help them achieve their goals, different employees will probably respond in their own unique ways. InformationWeek said workers resistant to change in general will harm ERP implementations if leaders don’t account for their objections.

On the other hand, employees could be excited for new systems. Managers need to recognize when workers want a new solution and show interest in helping with changeover. At the very least, staff invested in new technology implementations can serve as a model for other people in training, but decision-makers should see if software enthusiasts deserve a place on the implementation team.

Work with an ERP provider with training solutions
Most companies don’t have experience with software implementations and should seek assistance from an ERP consultant. As implementation teams search for an ERP provider, they should locate a company with a history of successful implementation and the ability to assist in training.

Many organizations offer hands-on guidance for companies adopting new software. It’s best to locate an ERP partner that can offer one-on-one training and strategies for your specific needs. During the vetting process, decision makers should see if they can trim the list of potential providers to ERP consultants with experience in their industry and can offer examples of how solutions worked for similar businesses.

Solve problems sooner rather than later
One of the major investments managers have to make when preparing for an ERP implementation is time. A software adoption schedule should include time for research, meetings with ERP consultants, testing and training. An ERP partner should be able to detail how long they expect training to take after getting a close look at an organization.

Even when schedules are built on hard data, companies should be ready for possible setbacks and surprises. It’s important companies invest time up front, so they don’t end up with inefficient process or a stop-gap solution that won’t last for long. If a problem is found during training, managers and ERP implementation teams need to take the time to sort it out before moving on.

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