Improve ERP Project Success by Appointing Trainers Early

Improve ERP Project Success by Appointing Trainers Early

It’s becoming increasingly common for CEOs to demand faster, more cost-effective project delivery, and quicker realization of benefits. Engaging a trainer early in your ERP project can help achieve these goals and improve the overall success of the project.

The demand for quick and efficient execution is increasing, and this applies to the implementation of an ERP solution. It is expected that the system functions effectively from the start, and that all involved parties possess the necessary skills to operate it. However, with the current rate of technical and cultural changes, organizations need to adapt quickly to uncertainty and overcome steep learning curves.

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Participating in an ERP program can often require more effort from individuals than their regular job responsibilities. This includes meeting the expectations of the CEO and adapting to new and unfamiliar processes and systems across multiple workstreams simultaneously.

Therefore, it is essential for project teams to receive the necessary support to gain momentum and make tangible progress during the early stages of a project. Training should not be an afterthought, nor should it be entirely postponed until the pre-go-live stage. Generating early adoption and momentum is crucial to the success of any project.

Expertise and experience

Every project team consists of individuals with varying levels of expertise and experiences. While this diversity can be beneficial to the project, it is important for the core team to have a similar base of knowledge regarding the ERP solution they are delivering and how they plan to do so. This includes understanding the project journey, from designing to building and delivering the solution, as well as identifying who is responsible for which tasks and when.

It is also crucial to understand the strengths and capabilities of the chosen ERP solution, particularly if the goal is to implement a non-customized (‘out of the box’) solution. Navigating through the ERP can be daunting, as its functionality is growing exponentially, and it can be intimidating to a beginner.

A project team that is process-aware and system-savvy is more likely to engage with the challenging prospect of delivering a major ERP program and the associated business transformations that come along with this. In turn, the likelihood of successful delivery significantly increases when the team understands the task at hand and has confidence in its personal and collective ability to contribute to its success.

Confidence stems from knowledge and know-how, which are built from formal training, experience, exposure to new concepts, and practice. Top-up training and tailored support are also critical to enhancing expertise. A project team’s ability to deliver cruces on its combined expertise, which can be built through formal and practical training. The sooner the team develops this expertise, the sooner they can benefit from it.

End user training

ERP projects can be executed in-house, by a technology partner, or through a hybrid approach combining both. Traditional waterfall project methodologies delay formal training until the final stages of pre-go-live testing, leaving the technology partner with sole responsibility for all system-related aspects until that point. Although this approach ensures that end-users get fundamental training on the ERP solution for their day-to-day job, it neglects the diverse expertise and business process changes that organizations need.

This also results in an intensive period of upskilling for a large number of key users, presenting logistical and operational challenges for maintaining ‘business as usual’ during the transition to the new ERP solution. Organizations must rely heavily on their technology partner’s support during and after go-live, which may not have been the intention when outsourcing application support initially.

With the shift towards agile and modular delivery approaches and more collaborative working with technology partners, it is logical to equip in-house resources with training at the earliest stages of a program. Organizations should engage specialist ERP training consultancies or include ‘knowledge transfer’ in the partner’s contract to ensure a smooth ascent up the steep learning curve.

To facilitate rapid iterations of Analysis and Design, pre-trained personnel must be able to envisage ‘to be’ processes with ease. End-user training for the wider workforce should be bespoke and based on day-to-day activities, including business processes and essential change messages. Independent training contractors should focus on imparting their expertise, creating professional supporting materials, and a ‘knowledge legacy.

The involvement of specialized ERP training consultancies, such as Onboard, which have business process awareness, extensive industry knowledge, and an in-depth understanding of ERP functionality, can add value at all stages of a program. Their engagement may be required towards the final stages of testing, but early discussions should commence to ensure that organizations receive the necessary guidance without incurring high costs.

Joanne Harrison
Joanne Harrison
Director of Sales

Joanne has worked for Onboard’s parent company Optimum since it was established back in 1998 and has progressed through the organization to Director of Sales. She has overall responsibility for business development and leading the growth of the company. Her role is to expand the value proposition to our clients and target markets, identify new markets, implement strategic partnerships and build valuable relationships with existing clients and system partners.

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