One of the biggest mistakes we commit with ERP projects today is not realizing the need for organisational change management. It is a curse that many organisations feel that change management is an unnecessary expense. Change management is often misunderstood and devalued by higher-ups who think that simply instructing the employees to use the new ERP application without any internal changes would work. However, the reality starkly contrasts this belief.
Change management is integral to ERP implementation. One must thoroughly understand the impact of the new ERP application on business processes and the key users prior to implementation. The approach towards organisational change management should be based on business objective along with factors such as region, culture, language and experience.
Why Organisation Change Management is a must for successful ERP implementation?
Here are some of the reasons why an organisation implementing ERP application needs organisational change management:
- A new ERP application affects the entire organisation, irrespective of its size. Organisation Change Management helps prepare the employees for the impending transformation that otherwise may not be well accepted.
- Employees need to know as to why the organisation moved to a new ERP system and how will it benefit the organisation. It is quintessential that the all the employees are on the same page as the top management.
- Since ERP implementation directly impacts the employees’ day-to-day activities, it is important to treat it as learning curve that can be effectively managed with Organisational Change Management initiative.
- Employees can’t embrace what they don’t understand, so it is vital for them to get familiarised with the features of the new ERP application through a well-planned and executed change management programme.
Understanding the Components of Organisational Change Management
Globally, organisational change management comprises the following components:
- Core Team Buy-in
Make sure that you get significant buy-in from leadership spanning every department, office, and region. While employees may report to the home office, their allegiance lies where their leadership resides. If you don’t have sufficient buy-in, your ERP project is doomed for failure.
- Accept Cultural Considerations
Language, education and demographic factors play an important role in determining how employees perceive the goals, risks, and benefits associated with the new ERP application.
- Constant Employee Engagement
Organisational readiness assessments are critical with global ERP projects to ensure all issues and opportunities are captured across the enterprise. While this is often skipped on account of budgetary concerns, investment incurred in engaging employees leads to quantifiable benefits realisation in the long run.
- Communication is the Mantra
Communication within a global ERP project is absolutely vital but incredibly difficult. While email is very effective, face-to-face communication is certainly more effective. For instance, most employees would like to hear about project updates from their managers during team meetings. Project and communications teams must work in tandem to deliver the message in a manner that results in expected behavioral changes. Lest we forget, language, culture and level of education of the end-users govern the communication strategy employed and its effectiveness.
- Training Strategy
Change management plans must be devised to address workforce transition to the new ERP system with clear demarcation of super-users and trainers. A comprehensive training strategy should account for organisation specific nuances, locations and testing prior to go-live. Failing to fully develop a training strategy can have serious implications on the success of a global ERP implementation.