Three steps to creating a robust ERP change management plan

Geoff Whiting | Feb 14, 2018
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Implementing a new ERP will impact almost every aspect of your company. Nearly every person, position, team, manager, and business decision will shift. That’s a major change, and it needs to be planned for to have it be a successful change. That’s where change management comes in, and why you need to start looking to your fellow employees for help,

Change management plans are designed to document and contain all information you need to manage project change from inception through delivery and long-term reviews. Putting this together during your planning phase is a best practice for making your transition smooth and for maximizing your ERP ROI.

Here are three essentially steps you need to follow to ensure your ERP change management plan is successful.

Step 1: Create and share your purpose documents

Successfully adopting an ERP requires you to establish a compelling business case that makes implementation necessary and shows what benefits you expect to realize.

These documents should look align with as many company verticals as possible, so everyone who interacts with the ERP will have a reason to use it. Leadership often receives the most attention because their buy-in helps secure funding. Start there and make a value case.

After securing executive interest, explain business applications to ERP users so that they have a strong reason to change their habits and use the system. Executive buy-in disappears, and blame materializes quickly after implementation if no one uses the ERP to replace old, inefficient processes.

Step 2: Build your team and communication plan

Identify leaders in the groups that will be impacted by your new ERP. It’s going to be a large group.

Get these team members together and discuss the plan plus the requirements they have, or solutions they need. Demonstrate how the ERP will address those concerns and give them materials to bring back to their respective groups to share that information.

Take time to create a plan for this communication and how it can live on beyond a meeting — whether that’s handbooks from the vendor or your own documentation.

One added benefit from this team creation is that you have a comprehensive list of people to help you look out for issues, perform gap analysis, and determine the best path to reach out to existing employees.

Step 3: Design for end-user training

At the heart of change management is a plan to shift behavior, whether it’s something as complex as an ERP or as simple as having people wash their hands. So, ultimately, all your efforts come down to the ability to create this behavior change.

Change comes with repetition and training. Your change management program needs to look at the workforce transition to the new ERP and identify different levels of training. Ask and answer questions about who will use the system, the varying degrees of interactions, and who should be first to learn of updates or changes.

Identify the people who have the temperament to train others down the road, plus be on the lookout for individuals who will use the system most often and need to reach “super-user” levels.

Build out a comprehensive training schedule and strategy that digs through all the nooks and crannies to discover what needs to be known, what needs to be taught, and who is best positioned to uncover these and other hidden concerns.

 

Guest author, Geoff Whiting writes for ERP Focus and Explore WMS. He is an experienced journalist, writer, and business development consultant with a focus on enterprise technology, e-commerce, and supply chain development. Outside of the office he can be found toying with the latest in IoT, searching for classic radio broadcast recordings, and playing the perpetual tourist in his home of Washington D.C.

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