Businesses that use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software perform more efficiently as ERP enables companies to save time and streamline everyday tasks with the help of automation, where multiple processes are consolidated on one platform.
While it certainly has the potential to add real business value through optimised operations, implementing an ERP system can be a complex and challenging process. It generally takes time for all stakeholders to get onto the same page when migrating to an ERP platform.
Since most changes happen simultaneously, this creates a steep learning curve for users. Below are the five top user issues encountered when implementing an ERP system and some tips for avoiding them.
1. ERP requires investment in training and engagement
Communication is key. If users are left in the dark about new processes related to ERP implementation, it is likely that some will be confused about what to do and how to optimise their time using the new software. From the initial discussion to its final usage, the effective running of ERP must include clear communication with employees.
ERP is a big undertaking and it is easy to forget that your employees are the key to its success. One of the main functions of an ERP system is to assist staff in performing their jobs. Therefore, it is essential that they understand what it is and how to use it properly.
Can!do supports businesses using several proven methodologies. For example, guiding employees with blended learning materials empowers them to learn the ropes in a thorough and efficient manner. Every employee should have access to support during the transition period.
Company environments differ the world over, so it is vital that support is adequately specialised. Can!do understands this and offers customised support tools to ensure each user learns to perform and complete their daily tasks on the new system, through practice and offering a range of training resources.
2. Employee buy-in is critical for ERP success
Employee buy-in is another important factor that can affect the successful implementation of an ERP system. While buy-in from senior executives is essential, getting all teams on board early on can determine the long-term effectiveness of the ERP.
When implementing new technologies, such as ERP software, it is necessary to take everyone along on the journey through proper change management. Obtaining buy is an important part of change management. Engaging with employees in this way fosters a culture of higher acceptance, curiosity and a willingness to try new things. Higher engagement ultimately means a higher return on investment in the ERP system.
3. ERP requires appropriate change management
ERP implementations involve changes to business processes, organisational structure and IT systems. This can be highly disruptive to the organisational status quo and day-to-day operations. Change management is critical to the success of an ERP project because it helps to control the impact of these changes on employees, processes and systems.
According to Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, “an organisation’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” Agile organisations can quickly adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs, allowing them to stay ahead of their competition.
With this agility, organisations can innovate faster, respond to challenges more effectively, and deliver greater value to their customers. ERP systems support business agility, but because they disrupt the existing status quo, the implementation of this system requires careful change management.
Change management involves preparing, supporting and guiding users through a planned change initiative, such as an ERP implementation. With around three decades of experience in user adoption, Can!do offers change management for large-scale ERP implementations to prepare, support and guide you through this change.
4. End users experience poor integration during ERP implementation
As with any project, successful implementation of an ERP system requires careful planning. During this planning stage, it is vital to screen and earmark all aspects of the business to ensure that one system includes accounting, payroll and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Successful integration between all these different systems allows employees to collaborate more efficiently across departments. It has the potential to radically improve individual and team performance. If proper planning does not happen before installing new software, then daily operations won’t run smoothly after implementation. Being able to integrate with legacy systems is also key to the success of ERP implementation.
5. ERP needs careful monitoring
Without appropriate feedback mechanisms, it is impossible to track the progress of the ERP implementation. The first step to getting feedback from users is to engage with them – in person, over the phone or via email. Both formal and informal engagement with users can be used to evaluate the effectiveness and user uptake.
Catching problems when they are small and manageable saves time and effort. Businesses should set up an ERP system that allows users to give regular feedback. This should be in place throughout the implementation process, allowing issues to be identified and resolved early on. As entrepreneur Jim Rohn said; “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”
The best way to avoid user issues with ERP implementations is by engaging employees early on in the process and being transparent about what they can expect. Most importantly, organisations need to set clear goals on how ERP technology can support them.
South African enterprises, in particular, can benefit from an ERP system due to the data-intensive nature of present-day business. Large organisations can harness the power of ERP software to simplify and speed up business processes. For more information about our services, please contact us today.
Can!do works with large enterprises in South Africa to maximise the value of their employees, technology and business processes. To do this, we offer three fundamental services; change management, capability development and performance optimisation.
We have 30 years of experience in these fields and have worked with leading companies in South Africa. We are a certified Level 2 B-BBEE company and a leading provider of new business systems and processes that drive user adoption. For industry insights and news, please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.