We have definitely repeated this point more times than we care to mention, but if does bear repeating – an ERP implementation project does not end when you hit “deploy”. Unfortunately, there is no big, final “deploy” button you can hit to triumphantly mark the end of the process.
Without a carefully managed roll-out and transition process you can never hope to achieve one of the true end goals of ERP implementation: end user adoption. Without the buy-in, cooperation and support of the people who use the system day-in-day-out to do their jobs, you can never hope to call your project a success.
That is why we consistently make a case for a rigid end user training program to take place after software implementation. Not convinced? Here are 4 reasons end user ERP training is important.
Adoption and change management
To call an ERP project a failure unless you get the majority of users to adopt the software may sound a bit dramatic, but realistically, if you do not get your end users onboard and using the system to its full potential, you really have not gained anything from implementing the new software. It could even be that in moving away from your old, well used system, you might even experience some setbacks. We have made the case previously for getting end users involved early on at the very start of the project, taking them through the business case for the new system, and keeping them updated on progress throughout the project. This is the first step in the right direction for successful end user adoption. If they feel involved and informed of the process, they are much more likely to be onboard once it is deployed. You should then follow this through with a structured functional training program, tailored to each department or role, as early as possible after deployment. You might even consider beginning training with the new software on a development or testing server, but that is up to you and the logistics of your business.
All of the increases in efficiency and productivity and decreases in costs you promised the board when making the case for the new ERP system will go up in smoke without successful end user adoption. Humans will always find a way around things if they have to, and if they are let loose on a new tool without training, they may figure out a convoluted way to do something, or simply replicate the inefficient way they used to do it. Similarly, they may still try and perform a task manually which you have probably gone to great lengths to automate as part of your business process review. With proper training, you can ensure that end users are utilising the software to its full potential, and that all streamlining opportunities are fully realised.
It may not be immediately clear, but training up your end users can be a great morale booster in the long-term. There is little worse in the workplace than being confronted with something you have never used before and being told to “get on with it”. Your end users need structure and guidance to help them get used to the new tool, and in the long term they will reward you by being champions of the product, the project and the wider team. If you can train up and bring a few key office opinion leaders on board, you have pretty much won over the whole team. This will make any further updates to the system or future projects much smoother and easier to get off the ground.
Getting your end users trained up the software is not only a great way to ensure they are using it to its full potential, but also to identify further areas for development. If a user is not familiar with the software as it is, and does not and cannot take the time to “play around with it” and explore its capabilities, they are not in position to suggest areas for improvement. However if they are taken through the functionality and features comprehensively, they will inevitably start to spot things that could be enhanced or streamlined to improve their day-to-day productivity. Granted, some of this can be covered off in testing, but extensive daily use is the main thing that will be bring up opportunities for further improvement.
Whether you are yet to embark on an ERP implementation project or you are just about to close on one, it’s always an important time to be talking about end user training. Clear Business Outcome have decades of experience delivering ERP training in a wide range of businesses. If you would to chat to us about your ERP project, get in touch.