The stark reality is that selecting the right ERP system for an organization is not enough. Most projects get derailed not by the wrong software, but because implementation bogs down and fails to deliver on the promises and capabilities of the ERP solution. How does an organization get from here to there, whether that be from current workstreams to streamlined processes or from disparate software systems to a unified ERP solution? Change management. Every IT and business process improvement initiative should have a change management strategy to dramatically increase the likelihood of success.
Change management takes a good, hard look at where the organization wants to be and gets into the nuts and bolts of what it’s going to take to get there. A path to completion that looks easy and carefree probably means that change management experts have not been given the opportunity to assess the situation and make recommendations. User adoption and business processes changes must be addressed in the change management plan.
Most people don’t like change, especially when it comes to changes in the way they do their job on a daily basis. Change management predicts this resistance and implements tools and training that can smooth the way to user adoption of new systems and processes. It’s just poor planning to wait until the implementation is done to announce to the organization’s personnel that this is how things will now be accomplished. They should feel a part of the process, with milestones of success laid out along the way, not just at the end.
A top-notch initiative to select and implement an ERP system includes an assessment of the business processes that will interact with that system. It is an opportunity for a business to step back and ask “why do we do it that way and is there a way to improve it?”. This enterprise transformation opportunity will pass away without results if an effective change management plan does not define the road the organization must take and provide the resources needed to complete the course. Creating a leaner organization makes change easier to manage, so enterprise transformation can actually make change management easier, not harder. Another benefit of enterprise transformation as it pertains to change management is that user adoption can be better when the underlying processes are streamlined. Users who can see that the entire process has improved beyond a mere software change are more likely to invest in the changes.