Change Management

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Change Management

No one likes change; it can be hard to accept as it takes most of us outside our comfort zones. Managing this change before, during and after an ERP implementation is vital to allow an organisation to reap the benefits of their investment.

The decision to change ERP system is made at the head of an organisation. Key productivity benefits, costs savings, a reduction in the duplication of data, improved data visibility and access are just some of the common benefits sought after.

To make this a reality people throughout an organisation may need to work in a different manner, switch focus or even move to another department as their role becomes redundant. A daunting prospect for many employees.

Not being aware of the ‘end game’ and the organisations’ objectives, employees can feel isolated and anxious about changes to the company’s ERP system. Without information from ‘the top’ staff can feel vulnerable, with risk of redundancy once the new system is implemented being the most common fear. In some instances job losses may be inevitable as organisations move to reduce their cost base. However, a new ERP solution cannot operate on its own and in many cases needs people to leverage the desired benefits.

Is enough time and resource invested in change management? I would suggest no. Change management can help prepare employees and management teams for the ERP implementation.

So how do you take your staff with you along this journey, encouraging them to embrace the change during what can be a difficult and challenging time?

The answer – With good internal communication and thorough training.

• Engage your staff by providing clear statements about the boards desired operational benefits. This will get your staff thinking about their specific role and encourage them to ask how they can help and be part of the process.

• Invest in staff training to prepare them for the new ERP solutionallowing ample time to tackle their natural fears or worries.

• Publish regular progress updates and milestone announcements to keep everyone on track and focused.

• Consider a structured phased approach – as the saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant?” “In small pieces.”

• Train your staff and cascade information via your management teams to introduce new business processes in manageable pieces, rather than in one big bang. This will give your team’s time to adjust and adapt to the system over a period of time.

The most successful ERP implementations are well planned, managed and communicated. The key to managing change well is keeping employees ‘in the loop’ thoroughout the entire process; alliviating fears and promoting the positive aspects of the changes ahead.

An ERP project should be considered not just as a physical investment in software, but also as an investment in people.

Phil Snowe
ERP Sales Consultant
phil.snowe@cpio.co.uk

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