ERP Change Management Tips for Implementation Success

ERP Change management is about getting the people ready by ultimately enabling them to either think, feel or do something differently than they do today.

Too often in ERP implementations, we see a lot of focus on the ‘do’ and not enough on the ‘think’ or ‘feel’. These latter elements are neglected at an organisation’s peril. It’s the emotional buy in that will help employees through the disruption and it’s changing thought processes that will lead to the ERP system being used effectively. Having a proper change management plan that addresses all the elements is therefore essential. So, let’s delve into some top tips for running a successful ERP Implementation!

5 Keys to ERP Change Management

Prioritise Change Management

“It’s just a tech programme…”

The words to send shivers down the spine of every change management professional. An ERP business case can reach the millions (in some cases tens of millions) yet too often adding provision for change management is baulked at with it being seen as a ‘nice to have’. Then, delivery of change management activities is left to a small and overstretched change team. Finally, when timelines or budget becomes tighter closer to go-live, it’s the change management activities that are sacrificed.

From the outset, change management resources should be considered and built into the business case with enough people to resource the activity. This may require seconding and backfilling people to do so. Additionally, the message needs to be clear, that change management is the responsibility of every layer of leadership, not just the Change Lead/Manager and that change management capability may need to be upskilled in your organisation.

Ensure Leadership Buy-in

ERP programmes get bumpy.

They expend considerable resource; disrupt normal operations and they can come with delays and overruns.  When these inevitable bumps in the road occur, it’s absolutely essential leaders are steadfast in support. Openly critical leaders will destroy confidence amongst their teams which, once lost, is incredibly difficult to re-establish.

That’s why it’s so important to take time at the exploratory stage to really step through the risks and impacts to their teams but also the benefits to organisation. Encourage leaders to ask questions and provide critical feedback, get everything out on table avoiding the dreaded ‘soft yes’ (where you see a nod in agreement without really bought in), then once the decision has been made to proceed, hold leaders to account in maintaining support for the programme.

Address Employee Fears and Concerns

Any new major technology programme will inevitably raise concerns from the workforce. Commonly, these are related to reductions in staffing numbers, changes in roles or responsibilities and levels of disruption the organisation may need to endure. The key to combat this is to be as honest and specific about the changes as soon as you possibly can be.

Conducting a detailed impact assessment with people who understand how business processes work on the ground will mean you can tailor you change management interventions more effectively and able to give greater specificity in your communications.

Consider Past Change Successes and Failures

Leveraging your organisations earlier experiences of change can be an effective starting point in designing what should (and shouldn’t) be part of your change management activities. Does a particular method of training work well? Did your employees respond to a particular set of communications? Carrying out a retrospective of major change initiatives to highlight and document these nuances and learns can often save you headaches come implementation.

Create a Change Roadmap

A common mistake organisations make is believing that the ‘change’ is at the point of go-live. An ERP system can be delivered in releases, or it can be delivered in a ‘big bang’ approach. In any event there will be changes needed in the lead up to any go-live (data cleansing, changes to processes, training, shifting behaviours) that need to be communicated. Creating a clear roadmap for of these changes that includes other initiatives on your change portfolio, will help create clarity and trust amongst your workforce, highlight pinch points and help you better land change more effectively.

 

ERP Change Management is our bread and butter, and we love talking about it! If you’ve got any questions or upcoming projects then we’d love to help! Simply get in touch

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Change Management Process?

Simply put, a change management process are the steps and associated tools and methods used to encourage someone to think, feel or do something differently to what they do currently.

What is the Role of Leadership in Change Management?

Leadership should be active supporters and take ownership of how changes associated with the system will land in their areas of control. They should role model changes and communicate the overarching vision to their teams and most importantly they should hold the line when bumps in the road appear!

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