The decision to make a change to an ERP system is one that Chief Financial Officers don’t take lightly. While an implementation will never be simple, CFOs can get their ERP projects off on the right foot by following six basic guidelines.
If you’re wondering how to approach an ERP project and how to get your business ready for implementation, check out our recent eBook, “Making the ERP transition – A guide for CFO’s and decision makers struggling with the growing pains of successful NZ businesses.”
In our experience working with NZ companies across different sectors and industries, no matter how many compelling drivers and reasons for change a business has, it will never be the ‘right time’ to start down the ERP implementation path without one key thing – stakeholder goal alignment.
Getting an ERP project across the line involves many players, company-wide. And each department will have their own motivations and reasons for selecting a certain solution or blocking change entirely. For example – a CEO is driving the ERP change, but if the COO isn’t onboard, has conflicting goals or his/her needs aren’t being met, the project will stall, wasting valuable time and money.
So, what are these guidelines you should follow to get your company onboard? Keep reading.
1. Educate decision makers and employees about the project’s worth
The success of your project hinges on full buy-in from major players. If your employees don’t have a full understanding of why such a large change is happening within the business, getting them to wholeheartedly assist in the project is going to be a major challenge. Explaining all the benefits to your employees at the outset of a project will ensure everyone is educated on why the new ERP system was considered in the first place.
Keep your management team informed and in the loop on the chosen ERP solution and what it will provide the business (e.g. technology improvements, such as access to ERP data through mobile devices). And make sure the information, statistics and collateral you use to educate them doesn’t just come from the ERP vendor, but also from unbiased third party sources too.
2. Get stakeholders to be vocal about their support
After you’ve explained why your company has decided to make the switch, get business leaders on board to excite employees.
Many employees take their cues from those that are steering the ship, so encourage your stakeholders and decision makers to be vocal about their personal support for the project. As the leaders of the company, it’s important that the buy-in starts from the top so the message is clear and consistent, and the commitment is solid.
3. Keep major influencers involved
Keep important members of your organisation involved by creating accountability and establishing routine meetings to review project progress and discuss roadblocks. This will help continue engagement from start to finish, and keep the project on time, up to standards and within budget.
4. Be a good listener and create a feedback network
One of the best ways to help your employees through an ERP system change is by listening. Give your employees an easy way to voice any feedback or concerns – that way you know what needs to be fixed to ensure your ERP system is fully adopted by business users.
But keep in mind, simply offering a forum for feedback is not enough – you have to make sure it is properly addressed and actioned too. Make time to review employee feedback and decide on steps to be taken. Keep a log of any comments and concerns to help sustain accountability and make sure everyone’s voice is being heard and respected.
5. Train your employees to properly interact with the new ERP system
A system is only as good as its use, so train your employees early on and allow them ample time to adjust to new processes and functions. This helps to make sure the system is used properly and also gets employees engaged and confident in new skills.
6. Check in with your employees even after the implementation is complete
The implementation is complete, but your job’s not done yet! Make sure you continue to check back in with your employees. Are they taking full advantage of the new system – or are they still stuck in their old ways? Are they fully trained in the system – or do they need extra assistance?
Don’t let your time and money go to waste because of employee dissatisfaction that you weren’t aware of – especially when it’s easily avoidable!
The reason most ERP implementation projects are derailed is because the business lacks a clear vision and goals for the future. It’s essential that there is a ‘meeting of minds’ and the business agrees on the direction and growth plan for the future. These 6 guidelines are an excellent starting point for the most important first step of an ERP implementation project – stakeholder buy in.
How do you know when your organisation is ready for an ERP change? Take our short evaluation questionnaire below to find out.
Want to avoid a wasted ERP journey for your business? Download our full guide to get more in-depth insights, advice and strategies to help you achieve stakeholder alignment in your business, so that you can experience the benefits of a modern, efficient ERP backbone for success.