Early User Training is Crucial to ERP Implementation Success

Early User Training is Crucial to ERP Implementation Success

When considering a new ERP system, it’s easy to get caught up on the technology itself. However, it’s important not to overlook how the system will be utilized within your organization.

Despite the importance of technical compatibility and capability, focusing solely on these factors can detract from the wider people and process elements that drive business success.

To simplify this, it’s crucial to carefully consider end-user training at an early stage for three main reasons. Firstly, if no one knows how to use the new ERP system, it will be a failure regardless of its flawless performance. Secondly, planning and developing role-specific training materials and courses can take longer than expected. Finally, poorly trained users can develop bad habits that can be challenging to change, ultimately impacting the business in the long term.

End-user training is vital as it connects technology to real-world outcomes, and it should be considered from the start. In this article, we will explore the fundamentals of ERP user training and why it’s crucial to consider it early in the system implementation process. We’ll also provide tips on achieving positive training outcomes.

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How early?

It’s worth noting that for smaller projects, the window for developing and delivering effective training programs will be much shorter than for larger projects. The ideal time for planning and training to begin will vary depending on the project. It’s also essential to recognize that training programs must be bespoke and tailored to the organization’s specific system build, users, processes, and use cases. Underestimating this can cause disruption and uncertainty later in the implementation.

ERP training plan stages

A training plan typically consists of several stages. It’s important to wait until after User Acceptance Testing (UAT) to develop and deliver training, as system errors may surface during this phase, requiring amendments to any training materials created prior to UAT. The planning for the training phase of a project should ideally start around six months before the go-live date, with the development of training materials beginning approximately 3-4 months before go-live or towards the end of UAT. Training should be delivered three weeks before go-live to ensure that users remember what they’ve learned.

However, the actual timeline for training can vary significantly depending on a range of variables, including the size of the organization, number of locations, number of languages, complexity of the ERP system, and any additional ISVs being implemented. For example, larger organizations may find it more challenging to align corporate strategy with departmental needs and communicate changes effectively, while multiple locations can make it difficult to schedule classroom or train-the-trainer activities. The presence of multiple languages may also complicate communication and require more time-consuming training. A complex ERP system or the addition of ISVs may also necessitate more robust and extensive training, requiring additional planning time and resources.

The benefits of planning ERP training early

Planning end-user training early has numerous benefits, including allowing ample time to determine the most suitable training model for the organization and ensuring users are prepared for the system’s changes when they occur.

Discovering the right training model

Identifying the right training model is critical, and early planning ensures you can make the best choice. Combining an internal cascade approach with professional support can mitigate risks associated with either strategy, resulting in high-quality outcomes from the outset. It’s recommended to leverage both internal and external resources to train staff effectively. Planning early allows enough time to obtain professional support if necessary and identify ‘super users’ who can provide ongoing training resources.

Developing the appropriate materials

Developing effective training material is a time-consuming process, but planning early helps create tailored materials that align with your specific operations and use cases. It’s essential to consider learning styles, identify your audience, and define roles to ensure a successful training program.

Getting training right

A successful ERP implementation hinges on how quickly users can adapt to the new system. Even the best technical system won’t succeed if people are unable or unwilling to use it. By planning early and getting the training right, you can ensure a smooth transition to the new system and achieve the desired outcomes for the business.

How to optimize your training program

To optimize your training program, it’s important to thoroughly assess the organization’s requirements and training needs, and then deliver the program in the most effective and cost-efficient manner. Here are some steps to help you achieve this:

Step 1: Establish clear goals

Setting clear goals is the most critical step in developing your training program. It’s important to gain stakeholder buy-in and ensure everyone is aligned on the program’s objectives.

Step 2: Choose a training model

Although using internal resources for training is beneficial, it can also be limiting. Consider engaging third-party training partners to supplement your resources and provide expertise in areas where you lack internal capabilities.

Step 3: Create a plan for developing the training material

Your training material should be developed after user acceptance testing (UAT) but before go-live. Make sure to give yourself enough time to create high-quality, tailored materials.

Step 4: Start early with UAT

UAT is a crucial opportunity to fine-tune the system and identify potential super users who can become trainers later on.

Step 5: Pilot your training program

Running a pilot program with real users in real scenarios is a great way to identify what’s working and what needs improvement. Be sure to collect feedback and incorporate lessons learned into your program.

Step 6: Rollout to a broader user base

This is the time to build excitement and awareness of the ERP rollout. Ensure you have sufficient resources and contingency plans for training sessions that may need to be postponed or rescheduled.

Step 7: Continuously improve

Training is an ongoing process. Collect feedback and assess how well the training content is being applied in the new environment. Use this information to improve future training programs.

How can Onboard help?

Effective training is crucial for the success of any ERP system implementation. Partnering with a professional training provider can ensure that your business has the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve the desired outcome.

Onboard provides flexible and high-quality training solutions for any ERP system, which can be tailored to your organization’s specific needs and requirements. With over 25 years of experience, we have successfully delivered training for more than 750 ERP projects.

If you need assistance with any aspect of your training program, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help and look forward to hearing from you.

Jordan Locke
Jordan Locke
Service and Delivery Manager

While Jordan was studying International Business and Politics in South Korea, he gained his first experience of teaching while working as an English teacher at the university. This is where he gained an insight into how valuable to the learner it can be to impart knowledge in a way thatis simple and accessible. He recognised these skills could be transferable to business systems training and hasn't looked back. Jordan has progressed with the business from developing and delivering a variety of training solutions to now taking on the role of Service and Delivery Manager, overseeing the operations of the business.

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