It’s commonly perceived that people in general don’t like change, and ERP involves quite a bit of change. So that may explain why resistance to change is so common on ERP projects. But is there a way to resolve these change obstacles? The good news is that there are some key activities that will help minimize this type of resistance to change:
- Identify change agents early in the project. These should be people that know the business well, embrace change, and are well-respected in the organization. This group of people, which should represent all the functional areas affected by ERP, will serve as champions of the project. They will also be key in helping other employees understand and learn the value of ERP and how it affects their jobs.
- Train, train, train. Very few disagree that training is important. The problem, however, is that many projects tend to focus on training users how to use the new system prior to go-live. While this is certainly important, it does not address other issues such as how key business processes will be affected by ERP. In addition, not enough companies take advantage of on-going training tools such as on-line help, on-going refresher training, etc.
- Involve employees in ERP process. The more involved employees are in the ERP decision and implementation, the more ownership and buy-in they will have into the project. This is not to say that every single employee should be involved. However, involving more employees than just senior management in the decision and implementation planning process will go a long way to make people feel more ownership, which inevitably results in less resistance in the future.
- Over-communicate. There is no such thing as communicating too much with employees. The more they know about why your organization is selecting ERP, how it will benefit the company, and what it means to them and their jobs, the less likely they will be to resist the changes when they are implemented.
These are just a few key areas that are important to ERP organizational change management. There are many others, but these are good starting points for organizations that are serious about implementing effective ERP organizational change management programs.