If you’re considering implementing an ERP system, you need to understand the impact it will have on your organisation. ERP software has the power to transform a business from the ground up, bringing a raft of positive changes to your operations.
Given the transformative nature of implementing ERP software, you need to adequately prepare for change across your business. The system will impact every area of your organisation, including day-to-day processes carried out by staff, so managing change will be key to ensuring that the software is adopted and embraced successfully.
In this post, we’re taking a look at change management and how it can aid the successful implementation of ERP software. Use the links below to navigate or read on for the full guide.
- What is Change Management and How Can it Support ERP Implementation?
- What Challenges Does Your Business Face when Implementing ERP Software?
- Change Management Tips for a Successful ERP Implementation
Change management refers to the steps a business takes to prepare for upcoming changes, particularly to its internal processes and workflows. A formal change management strategy can mitigate the ill-effects of change (which include disruption, inefficiencies, and reduced staff morale), as well as helping to ensure that any changes are well received and readily adopted by staff, managers, and stakeholders.
Creating a change management action plan in the early stages of your ERP implementation journey is a powerful way to prepare your business for the new system. Remember, many processes, workflows and day-to-day operations will be affected by the incoming software, so change management can help soften the impact and ensure that your team hits the ground running with the new system.
ERP implementation can be overwhelming, with lots of time and resources required by you and your team to make it a success. And beyond the technical considerations, the transformative nature of implementing new ERP software means that you need to be mindful of potential disruption, particularly to your existing processes and personnel.
Adopting the latest ERP software is about more than just introducing a new management solution. It can redefine and reposition certain areas of your operations, which is why it’s so important to get ahead of incoming changes and make sure your business is properly prepared for them.
When preparing for ERP implementation, you need to consider both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factors.
Hard factors concern the technical elements of onboarding the new technology, and although they present challenges, they should be predictable and manageable between both your internal teams and your software vendor. Accounting for adequate training across your entire organisation for instance, is certainly a must here.
Soft factors, on the other hand, are much more difficult to get right, and the easiest to overlook. They include things like leadership, people management, and staff morale, as well as overall company culture and mindset.
You see, while you may have a perfectly functioning system in place, you can’t call your ERP implementation a success if you fail to bring the rest of the company along with you. If staff and stakeholders aren’t engaged with and ready to adapt to the new system, your new software could be destined to fail from the outset.
Change management, then, is all about accounting for the soft factors that will ultimately dictate the success of your ERP implementation project. From communication and engagement to people management and employee involvement; there are a whole range of things to consider as part of your change management strategy, and these are just as important as the ‘hard’, technical aspects of your ERP implementation strategy.
Adopting new technology like ERP software requires more than just technical adjustments. It sometimes necessitates a complete change in behaviour and culture, something you can only hope to achieve through a considered change management strategy.
To help you get the ‘soft’ factors of your ERP implementation right, here we share our essential tips on making change management a central part of your onboarding process.
- Maximise communication and transparency – from the moment you begin an ERP implementation journey, adopt a transparent approach, and keep staff, stakeholders and partners in the loop. Detail your plans with regular updates, with a timeline of when people can expect changes and how their roles may be affected, where applicable. This can help to maintain morale, creating a positive buzz about the arrival of the new software.
- Make sure team leaders are enthusiastic about the new software – team leaders and line managers have a critical role to play in ensuring streamlined adoption of ERP technology, so involve them from the earliest stages and make sure they’re enthusiastic about the benefits and potential of the new software. Ensuring team leads are on board can make all the difference in building excitement about the new software, maximising support, and engagement for the technology.
- Create a knowledge transfer plan – training employees on the new software is critical to ensuring an effective onboarding period. Working between team leaders and your software vendor, develop a knowledge transfer plan that covers all personnel, with training provision for every individual whose role and day-to-day duties will be directly or indirectly affected by the new system.
- Assess the impact of changes in every area of your business – ERP software can bring unparalleled change to organisations of every size, affecting your operations in more ways than you initially realised. As such, it pays to consider how the software will affect your business, so assessing outcomes and impacts is essential. Involving managers and team leads, consider every area where ERP will bring changes, formulating a plan of action on how to adjust processes and manage staff concerns to ensure a smooth changeover and adoption process.
- Formalise your change management strategy – a change management document is a great resource for communicating your plans with staff, stakeholders, and partners. It should comprise of your change assessment, transparent information about the new technology, and an outline of how end-users will be trained up on the new system. Your strategy document should also cover how you’ll manage and monitor changes going forward, as well as your expectations from the go-live date and beyond.
Onboarding ERP software is about so much more than embracing modern business management solutions. With the potential to alter the very fabric and culture of your enterprise, for the better, it’s critical that you consider the impact of change and how you can keep your people engaged and aligned throughout the process.
We hope this guide proves useful and offers some actionable tips on managing your upcoming ERP implementation. If you want to embrace future-fit business software, the experts at Intact are here to provide help and support every step of the way. To learn more about our services and technology offering, including our flagship Intact iQ ERP system, visit the homepage or contact us today