How to Improve Relationships Between IT Departments and ERP End-users

All Articles From Jennifer Aldrich April 29, 2013 0

As end-users struggle to learn a new ERP system, frustration can be rampant, and oftentimes, this frustration is directed (rightfully or wrongfully) at the IT department. Not only do end-users sometimes resent IT but executives also tend to not have the strongest relationship with this behind-the-scenes department.

Instead of committing to an IT strategy that is best for the business as a whole, we have seen executives side with end-users and exclusively focus on their specific technology-related gripes and pains. While end-users certainly shouldn’t be overlooked during an ERP implementation, the IT department cannot be overlooked either. Both must be valued and encouraged in a manner that supports the needs of the organization and its overall business strategy.

Encouragement should not only come from executives but it should also exist between end-users and IT. Following are three tips for improving relationships between these two groups:

1.   Listen to the Needs of End-users – The IT department should listen to what end-users want from an ERP system and use this knowledge to configure a system that aligns with business goals and meets employees’ expectations. When the IT department really hears and responds to the needs of employees, end-users will be more inclined to trust the advice and assistance of IT throughout the ERP implementation.

2.   Appreciate the IT Department – When executives demonstrate a respect for IT, it becomes part of the organizational culture and end-users’ attitudes will reflect this. The relevancy and reliability of IT is often not wishful thinking – it is observable truth. Organizations should not view the IT department as a remote silo but as an essential component of ERP success.

3.   Understand Business Relationship Management – An emerging role within organizations is that of the business relationship manager. This role was created by CIOs to address the problem of executives and end-users not appreciating the value of IT. Organizations involved in an ERP implementation should not overlook the importance of this unique role. The business relationship manager can serve as a liaison between IT and the business and can direct the IT strategy that supports overall business goals. Leveraging their knowledge in the areas of both IT and business strategy, business relationship managers can reinforce the credibility of IT staff and communicate relevant issues to end-users. Because of their unique skill set, business relationship managers are able to communicate the complexities of an ERP implementation in terms that end-users understand.

End-users and IT staff each have an important role in mending their relationship, especially if it is threatening ERP success. Appreciation from both sides goes a long way in mitigating common ERP implementation challenges, especially in regard to organizational change management. To achieve ERP success, business relationship management should be a key component of every organizational change management plan.

To learn more, watch our free on-demand webinar, Organizational Change Management A Critical (and Often Overlooked) ERP Implementation Success Factor.

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