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April 3, 2018
The estimated time to read this article is 4 Minutes

Four Critical Steps to Include in your ERP Change Management Plan

Having made the decision to implement an ERP system, the adventure has just begun. In order to reap the benefits of everything your ERP promises to deliver, you need a robust change management plan. Implementing ERP software requires smooth organizational transformation. With a staggering two-thirds of business change programs failing, you need to ensure you have outlined the right steps for the right people.

Step 1 – Build Organization-Wide Buy-In

You understand why a new ERP system is going to benefit the company but does everyone else? Communicating the benefits is an imperative first step in any business transformation. Outline the purposes of the change, the positive impacts that colleagues will benefit from and disclose the ROI. Not only will outlining the vision help the wider organization feel positive about the changes, but it will also help you form the right KPIs and create relevant workflows and action plans.

Step 2 – Create Your ERP Project Management Team

A significant change requires commitment from a team of capable and committed colleagues. Assign one of your senior management team as the overseer and project lead. This one senior exec will take the input from the wider management team but will be the ultimate go-to for the rest of the change management team.

Other project management team members should be as follows:

1)One project manager responsible for managing timelines and budgets
2) One IT manager to work closely with the vendor
3) Multiple Super Users -one from each department within the organization

It is important to appoint enthusiastic team members to your project management team but equally important that they listen and respond sympathetically to those who are less enthusiastic. Select team members who have exceptional communication skills, have relevant experience and are comfortable with new technology. Excellent problem-solving skills are also important. The challenge here is often that the best people for the job are very busy with other projects because of their high skill levels and commitment to the business. Ensure you delegate the responsibility to team members who can cope with the extra workload and be ready to help liberate them from other less critical projects where possible.

Step 3 -Invest In Training

When forecasting the cost of a new ERP system, you should already have factored training into the equation. Do use the training offered by vendors but ensure you are giving tailored support for your departments and individual colleagues. You might even opt to pay for additional external training but ultimately you will still need a strategy that fits your company culture and structure. Your HR department can help here too. Different individuals learn in different ways so having multiple training methods can really help give everyone the opportunity to adapt fast. Consider some of the following methods as part of your training strategy:

– Departmental workshops
– Vendor Demos
– Super User one-to-ones
– Intranet knowledge database and FAQs
– Video Tutorials

Marello has training opportunities for Enterprise users.

Step 4 – Measure and Communicate Success

Communication shouldn’t stop after training. As a part of the transformation process, you will be measuring progress against the KPIs you set out at the start of the project. Have you seen an improvement in sales forecasting? Is your fulfillment team shipping orders faster than before? Are you gaining competitive advantages?

Don’t keep the successes in the boardroom. Share every piece of good news and see how those with less receptive attitudes begin to get on board. Of course, not all news will be good, there may be teething problems no matter how strong your change management strategy. Monitor the hiccups and share the details when they have been overcome.

Change management strategy comes into play for any major software rollout, however, what change management is really about is people. Planning how to bring your people and technology together ahead of implementation is the key to success.

This blog was written in collaboration with Helen Peatfield, from ERPFocus. Helen is a writer, editor, and marketing consultant with a wealth of experience in ad tech, supply chain management and SaaS.

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