Can You Improve ERP User Adoption (Without Starting Over)?

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It’s well documented that 60%+ of ERP implementations fail. The most common cause of failed implementations is a lack of user adoption, which is why we’ve previously discussed the importance of user acceptance testing. But, bearing all that in mind, can you improve user adoption after an implementation?

Training Never Stops

New software is confusing and people only retain a small amount of what you teach them. Yet most training plans assume that spending eight hours locked in a room with a consultant is all people need to fully understand a new system. You’d be surprised how often a ‘lack of user adoption’ is simply a lack of understanding.

If you’re launching a new ERP system, schedule a quarterly ‘tune-up’ where you reiterate best practices and get people to show you how they’re using the system. If you’re dealing with the fallout of a failed implementation, start by retraining your users on the system you have before you reinvent the wheel.

Document Processes

Another common user adoption challenge is inconsistent processes. Whether it involves users entering the same information differently or using completely different procedures, it quickly results in inconsistent or incomplete data. Once doubt creeps into the system it’s only a matter of time until users abandon it.

By documenting the process users are supposed to adhere to, you make it easier to correct people who aren’t following the procedure and give users a resource to consult when in doubt. It also creates a record of all the processes you’ve trained people on, so you have an answer when someone inevitably says, “But I wasn’t trained on that.”

Improve User Experience

No amount of training will help if the system itself isn’t user-friendly. This can be due to a slower server or workstation, because commonly used functions aren’t easily accessible or useful reports are buried or not easy to read.

Tinkering with user experience doesn’t mean completely redesigning the system. It can be as simple as making a few Quick Links, upgrading a sever to boost speed or rearranging some columns on a report to make it easier to read.

In short, you can improve user adoption after an implementation, but it involves listening to your users and investing in them – and your ERP system – over the long term.

- Cody Pierson, Prophet Business Group, Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP Specialists in Winnipeg

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