Integrating ERP solutions into organizations brings to mind many factors, such as how to best migrate from legacy systems, ensure data integrity and seamlessly connect existing applications. Disruptions in customer service can’t be tolerated. The “fit” in your organization’s culture, however, may not get nearly the attention it deserves when it matters most – during the selection and implementation process.
Unfortunately, a lack of internal alignment can undermine even the most successful technical integrations of ERP. Flawless on the IT front doesn’t necessarily translate into an optimal outcome. The impact on and value to your organization will largely depend on how well your people adapt to change. Their willingness is not a given.
Many may be frustrated with existing system and reporting challenges, yet they “know” this environment and are accustomed to workarounds. Related familiarity and activities can all be sources of pride as well as job security. Change often naturally fosters resistance. Taking this fact for granted is especially problematic when it comes to ERP.
People in ‘Make or Break’ Roles
Internal “acceptance” begins with involvement. Your internal stakeholders and users are all part of the solution, regardless of overall ERP objectives. Their integration into the process will ultimately be more important than that of any system. Their productivity, workflow and decision making are what’s truly at stake. It matters little if the systems implementation is on target if they fundamentally can’t or don’t do their jobs more effectively.
Your people need to understand how a new ERP system will affect daily responsibilities. Some aspects may become automated, which can easily fuel concerns: “Is this going to ‘replace’ me?” And, if that feeling exists without rooting out and addressing it, how supportive will they be at any juncture upon going live or beforehand?
A lack of internal alignment ranks among primary reasons when ERP projects fail. We know this for a fact, and not just because of what research shows; many customers who come to us after a failed implementation don’t actually recognize this root cause or how to deal with it. We make integration into corporate culture more than a priority. It’s imperative, and we take the steps and precautions necessary to help your team adopt and adapt in every respect – and not just as you get started. People can become alienated or lose sight of the value if it’s not continually reinforced.
Presentations Foster Skepticism, Participation Fuels Results
The advantages of a proven ERP solution usually make perfect sense to everyone treated to an overview presentation. That’s not where you win or lose hearts and minds. It comes down to how you engage people before, during and after deployment. If you don’t give credence to concerns that may be brewing in the background, with hope or aspirations of, “They’ll see the light when we complete implementation,” don’t count on it. Such approaches seldom work well, if at all.
Give voice to your people. They’ll help you spot potential pitfalls or hurdles no one else sees or expects. You need ambassadors of change. Understanding and input are crucial in achieving any milestones. It’s essential to address how routine tasks will change, improve and elevate the organization.
Straightforward Communication All the Way
Buy-in and shared experiences as well as expectations (good or bad) deserve open communication. If this isn’t already a fundamental aspect of your corporate culture, a new ERP solution can help shape it in this positive overall direction.
The challenge is more about instilling confidence that what you’re doing is going to deliver on the realistic expectations you set. An experienced solution and service provider makes a profound difference, as we have already heard all the naysayers, typical pain points and what to do about them from the onset.
Your organization may not fully appreciate, at least at first, being told that too many redundant activities and inefficiencies plague operations and warrant the need for more effective insight. They may not recognize the value and advantages of streamlined communication between departments, a single source of truth, or other myriad ways ERP makes organizations better.
Successful enterprises never rest on their laurels, of course, but they can easily become complacent or entrenched in existing ways despite associated shortcomings. Some individuals may even see identifying and fixing data or reporting errors as a primary aspect of their value. They don’t readily view centralized reliable data as inherently good for them, regardless of the organization’s need to transform – and the benefits to every aspect of the business, service to customers and individual proficiency and value contribution.
It’s a mindset adjustment that must be nurtured in a methodical manner. Instead of viewing ERP as just a different way of doing what they already do, you need them to be change agents who grasp the value and reality that existing processes and capabilities are preventing them (and your company) from reaching full potential. They need to take it personally!
Opening the Door to New Ways of Thinking and Doing
The reality is that the right ERP solution and implementation can give everyone in the organization the ability to do more in less time, to increase individual value as well as personal fulfillment. Innovative projects and other progressive undertakings that are in the backs of minds today, due to existing system or reporting limitations, can now come to the forefront. All of these considerations should be part of a comprehensive approach, including:
- Identifying and engaging key participants early on from both management and staff perspectives
- Clearly explaining purpose of ERP solution, selection process, migration plans, team/individual roles
- Realistic depiction of what all should expect during implementation, after go-live and longer term
- A structured means of conflict resolution to capture and address any concerns that may arise
- Comprehensive training that instills confidence as well as change-management best practices
At times like these where uncertainty is prevalent, ERP can serve as a source of inspiration and refreshing change. No other technological move can strengthen an organization on such an end-to-end basis. If your people “get it” early on, feel included and heard in the endeavor, they’ll not only walk through that ERP door, they’ll make the investment especially rewarding to the company, its customers and ability to grow under any circumstances.
When you work with VistaVu on ERP solution selection, planning and implementation, your organizational and technical challenges are met with equal resolve and competence. You’ll see the difference, and your people will too. Learn more about how and why. Giving you this perspective – and confidence – is all part of OUR culture!
Written by VistaVu Staff