Most ERP project teams understand the value of training. Ensuring that employees understand how to complete transactions in a new ERP system is very important, and training in an ERP software package helps enable that level of understanding. However, much more than training is required to ensure all stakeholders have a solid understanding of the new system and how it affects them. Therefore, it is important to include a comprehensive communications plan as part of your organizational change management and ERP project planning activities.
For example, employee communications is just as important as training. Throughout the deployment, employees should be apprised of the status of the project, as well as how and when the rollout will affect them. Employees should know when they can expect to be trained, when they will be expected to convert to the new system, and what tools they will have at their disposal should they have problems or questions. Perhaps most importantly, employees from each workgroup should be informed how their business processes and day-to-day jobs will change. These types of employee communications go a long way to help alleviate the anxiety and confusion of an ERP rollout.
In addition to communicating with employees, it is important not to overlook other key stakeholders. For example, customers and vendors also need to prepared for what to expect from your ERP project, especially if you are involved with a high-visibility organization or ERP implementation. What precautions are being taken to ensure customer deliveries aren’t delayed? Are there changes to the ways orders will be processed? These are just a few examples of items that should be proactively defined and communicated with customers and employees.
Finally, but certainly not least importantly, it is important to keep your executive stakeholders informed as part of your communications plan. What is the status of the project? What are the major risks and risk mitigations in place? Where do you stand on budget vs. actual? Regular updates and meetings with key executives should also be incorporated into your project’s communications plan.
Many of the above items are handled by the project management team. However, often times these items can fall through the cracks and should be handled by the organizational change management team to ensure there is focus on these important activities. These communications are critical to an effective organizational change and ERP benefits realization plan and should be carefully considered during your ERP planning efforts.