We’d love to hear from you if you have been involved in a project that had adequate time to prepare and deliver quality training for your ERP implementation! Unfortunately, for this blogger, this is a consistent source of disappointment. If good ERP training has a direct correlation with prepared and engaged employees (a requirement for maximizing productivity during go live), why does the “Incredible Shrinking Scope of ERP Training” phenomenon happen? What can be done to mitigate the powerful forces that squeeze training into whatever timeframe happens to be available between finalizing the system testing and the go live date?
It’s a simple fact. The ERP system is the priority of the ERP project. However, the humans that use the system must be prepared for the new processes and transactions needed to continue operations without disruption. All too often, the users are on the short end of the deal when an ERP project exceeds any of its deadlines. Trainers and users are required to work faster, longer hours, and prioritize as needed to meet the project deadline. “They’ll just have to get it done in less time.” So what is the common result of this adjustment?
Five Results from the Incredible Shrinking Scope of ERP Training
- Training on an ERP system that doesn’t have expected functionality or transferrable data
- Trainees are not trained in the activities that they actually perform
- Access and profiles are inadequately set up which equals wasted time for trainees
- Employees are trained for activities that do not match their roles or address the expected changes to the organization
- Training course content is inadequate
Trainees are then left with a number of negative perceptions, in addition to inadequate training. Possibly most damaging, is the perception that the organization does not understand the work and processes of the employees. The natural conclusion is that the important decision makers are disconnected and unaware of reality within operations. The last thing any employee needs is a lack of confidence in leadership and direction of their organization. This is especially true during times of major transition. Yet, based on the frequency by which it happens, this is an acceptable outcome.
What can an organization do to avoid allowing the ERP training phase to get squeezed beyond recovery? This list is based on lessons learned, in hopes that some of these steps make it into upcoming ERP implementation plans.
Six Steps to Maintain and Strengthen ERP Training
- Validate your ERP project scope with an independent external source to get an expert assessment of the reality of forecasted time and resource requirements
- Incorporate a strong statement into the project vision which enforces the need for quality ERP training and respects the experience of the project team and end users affected by the ERP implementation
- Recognize the connection between productivity and employee output, and the need to deliver quality training, at the right time, for the right activities
- Understand your Steering Committee, appeal to their objectives, they have the power to make decisions that will make or break your training plan
- Engage the involvement of an influential advocate to present the negative impacts which can occur when training timelines and quality of delivery are at stake
- Acknowledge that designing and delivering an ERP training program that addresses complex business process changes and a new system is a monumental task, and should not be considered “additional duties as assigned” for persons with other full-time obligations
If you have had success obtaining the resources and time needed to deliver a solid training program during your ERP implementation (especially during a tough economy), we would love to hear your story! Was there an existing culture which valued training efforts and the employee experience? Or did a key influencer advocate successfully for avoiding the risks associated with cutting training corners?
Blog entry written by Lena Laakso, Manager of Organizational Change Management at Panorama.