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Ken Jacobsen, The TM Group Inc.

3 People-oriented Aspects of a Successful ERP implementation


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Companies planning to use a new or upgraded enterprise resource planning software have plenty of technical considerations to make throughout the implementation process. Different platforms, functionalities and delivery methods are just a few of the overarching concerns that companies have to consider when planning for a successful ERP implementation.

Beyond the many technological concerns, however, there are plenty of other needs that need to be addressed as well. A truly successful ERP implementation is one that addresses the desires of a company's staff - the people who will be using the software on a regular basis - as well.

Here are three areas which organizations have to address when it comes to helping employees adjust and interact with a new ERP platform:

1. Education in its many forms
Educating staff about the functions of a new system is simply a given, and an area that will undoubtedly arise in conversation internally as well as with an ERP partner when discussing implementation strategy. The key for the team in charge of managing the installation is remembering that education doesn't mean any one specific type of learning. Staff members working with a new platform have to understand how to utilize it effectively and become confident and powerful users. An overview of the system and its benefits - a big-picture description - often helps staff cope with questions about why a familiar system is being phased out in favor of a new and potentially very different one. In many cases, education will also involve the specific considerations of the IT department who have to manage and maintain the ERP system.

2. A useful and available support system
While no one is suggesting that employees be given a pass on learning how to use a new ERP system when provided with the right resources, it's foolish to think that there won't be complications with adapting to recently installed and possibly unfamiliar software. While a strong educational program will address the majority of concerns and put staff in a position to succeed, there will inevitably be times when a regular user of the software has to learn how to interact with a different module or a new hire has to be brought up to speed. When documentation and other training materials are kept organized and up to date, it becomes much easier to extend the power of training far past the implementation period.

Another aspect companies have to consider is providing personal, one-on-one support in some situations. While it obviously requires a significant dedication of time and resources, having such a support component available under the right circumstances can help staff members who aren't the most technologically inclined achieve success and better contribute to the business.

3. An effective venue for feedback
Ideally, the opinions of employees should be uniformly positive following the implementation of a new ERP platform. Good planning, the help of a valuable ERP partner and the attention of the installation team will certainly help reduce the potential for negative feedback. There may still be instances where modifications or changes to help employees better understand the new software are needed. Having an active channel open for communication makes employees feel that their concerns are being addressed while also keeping those in charge of the ERP system informed of potential problems. Gathering and understanding these questions, comments and concerns will help to make future education and training efforts more efficient while also helping decision-makers understand exactly which parts of a system are harder for employees to grasp or understand.

Learn more about having a successful ERP implementation: How to hit the ground running, ERP implementation tips.

by The TM Group

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