Strategies for gaining user support during ERP implementation

November 29, 2017
November 29, 2017 Ken Jacobsen

Strategies for gaining user support during ERP implementation

Analysts for Deloitte recently asked chief information officers from across the country to cite the biggest barriers for a successful ERP implementation. More than 80 percent said internal resistance to change. For professionals who have ever participated in an ERP roll out, this answer should come as no surprise. Employee pushback is often a serious problem for businesses pursuing top-down technology initiatives. Employees do not appreciate disruption, as most maintain familiar if not efficient workflows that, in their eyes, give them the power to be as productive as possible. Of course, an ERP solution can bolster their productivity, especially those utilizing outdated paper-based processes.

Unfortunately, many users tend to overlook new functionality that make an ERP implementation worthwhile and instead focus on maintaining their familiar ways of doing things and resisting process improvement changes creating unwelcome drama. In the end, the resentment can build to such a level that they demand recreation of inefficient processes or outright refuse to use the new system, no matter how useful it may be to the organization. Organizations pursuing ERP implementations can minimize this kind of scenario by focusing on user adoption from the very beginning and deploying initiatives that stoke internal user adoption. Here are some of the most effective strategies for gaining user support for an ERP:

Facilitate collective system design
Unfortunately, many businesses leave end users out of the ERP design and selection phase entirely, instead relying on IT personnel and executive stakeholders to configure key system requirements. This strategy often ends in disaster, as employees strike back against systems designed without them in mind. Adopters should avoid this tactic and instead bring them in on the ground floor of ERP initiatives, according to ERP Focus.

Everyday employees can provide essential insight into how prospective systems actually fit into day-to-day business operations, lending implementation teams the information they need to make informed decisions on system features and other variables. This, in turn, ameliorates any growing resentment among employees, as they feel empowered by having taken part in the implementation process.

Market the ERP internally
While ERP platforms are common across many industries, most professionals are unaware of the more granular features that propel these solutions and how they can impact the business. Enterprises navigating the ERP implementation journey cannot count on employees to research these platforms on their own and develop an understanding of the benefits they provide. ERP teams must instead market the solutions they are building and sell workers on the business benefits that accompany them, IT Toolbox reported.

This is a compelling technique. Why? The benefits of an ERP trickle down. With such a system in place, the business grows and gains a stronger foothold. This results in increased cash flow and more robust employee benefits. Additionally, the time savings that materialize as a result of ERP implementation can sway busy employees who may struggle to balance heavy workloads.

Offer system training programs

Training sessions help build support among users.

Employees are bound to resist software they cannot use effectively. Unfortunately, many firms do not understand this basic truth or downplay it in an attempt to save money on implementation. Either way, a startlingly large number of ERP adopters fail to properly train workers for the new system and suffer mass user opposition as a result. The solution here is simple: Businesses must provide ERP training prior to go-live, according to ERP Focus. Instructional sessions prepare employees for the change to come and give them the knowledge they need to embrace ERP-based workflows without sacrificing productivity.

ERP adopters that pursue these user buy-in tactics are bound to achieve sustainable success and avoid the massive costs that come along with project failure.

Is your organization prepared to adopt an ERP solution? Connect with The TM Group today. We offer implementation services for ERP platforms from a number of world-class vendors. Contact us to learn about how the TM Group can help your business grow.

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