Implementing a new ERP system can be an imposing task for any organization, no matter how big or small. Make sure that your organization achieves the maximum return on investment by also investing in your people! A competent and trained staff can vastly increase your organization’s chances at creating a successful ERP implementation.
Training is a crucial part of creating a smooth transition from your legacy system to a robust, powerful, and state-of-the-art ERP. However, training must be implemented the right way, and it must be tailored to your staff in order to maximize its effectiveness.
Avoid the following eight training pitfalls that can lead even the best organizations and team members off track, and your organization will be sure to reap the benefits of a proficient and effective workforce.
#8 – Training the wrong people
When implementing a new technology, it is important to select a team of key individuals that can lead your technology initiative. Assembling a team made up of the right members of your staff can be critical to your project’s outcome. Consider the qualities needed for this project such as being able to meet tight deadlines, working well with others, and having team members who possess a wide range of skills that will be needed for the project.
Picking a team that is made up of individuals who are either resistant to or hesitant about the objectives of your project, or who don’t necessarily work well within groups, can lead to missed deadlines or disruption of the project. Properly assessing the skills that are considered to be specific to your implementation strategy should be given priority.
#7 – Not training enough people
Some organizations will rely on training as few as one or two individuals during their implementation process and expect these individuals to train everyone else. This train-the-trainer approach can be effective for some organizations.
For others, training only one person can have overwhelming limitations. Position and career moves, or even a simple sickness, can dramatically impact your teaching plan.
Training one, two, or even three individuals really is not enough for an ERP implementation, whether a traditional ERP or cloud-based technology. The reality is that an implementation team needs to be able to make informed design and configuration decisions. This means that decision makers who are involved in every aspect of the business need to be present, so they can learn how the new technology can improve their area of the organization.
# 6 – Incorrect mix of eLearning
A great tool to help build new skills for employees is eLearning. When formally training for an implementation, the stakes are too high—too much reliance on eLearning has two primary fault points: unanswered questions due to lack of face-to-face, instructor-led training and negation of the learning methodology best suited to the user.
Perceptions of Interaction: The Critical Predictor in Distance Education, a study by Dr. Catherine Fulford, showed that student-to-student and student-to-instructor interactions are a critical part of the learning process because students can feel a sense of community, as well as enjoy a mutual interdependence and build a sense of trust from having similar goals.
However, every project will benefit from well-placed and appropriately managed eLearning and its natural sustainment benefits.
#5 – Opting for public vs. private training
Did you know that public training courses are sometimes canceled with little to no notice because of an insufficient number of students? Going through the hassle of finding an appropriate public training offering, paying to register your employees, paying for your staff to travel, and then potentially having the classes canceled can be a frustrating and expensive experience that brings little to no return.
Beyond the travel cost impacts are the real costs associated with the impacts to your implementation schedule. One canceled class can cost an organization tens of thousands of dollars and delay the implementation by weeks or months.
Private, on-site training also allows you to save on travel costs to potentially have more of your staff trained.
#4 – Training at the wrong times
Project-team training and end-user adoption both fall to very specific stages within your implementation. Training your project team too far in advance of your project start means that they can forget what they have learned or lose some of the positive momentum involved with any new project. Training them too late won’t allow your staff to be prepared for Fit/Gap analysis and Conference Room Pilot (CRP) sessions, potentially creating project delays and indecision about new processes.
In order to get the full benefit of your solution, training your end users should be done early enough that your team is ready to use their new processes on day one. However, the just-in-time nature of training for new processes and the finalization of that documentation create a small window of time to train the users across an organization.
#3 – Assuming the strategic implementation (SI) partner is also going to be responsible for training
One mistake that many organizations make, particularly with newer cloud software, is assuming that their strategic implementation partner is also responsible for training, when that is almost never the case. Many SIs are beginning to build relationships with training partners to join with them on their bid for precisely this reason. If training was not a part of your SI’s bid, then you likely do not have any training scheduled and will need a dedicated training partner to provide your team with project-team training and end-user adoption services.
#2 – Incomplete training: leaving end users and project teams in the dark
Did you know that, according to a study by the META Group, 76% of users have a below-average competency with their ERP solution?
It is paramount to the success of the project to make sure your project team and end users are adequately trained. How will your users create an invoice? Issue a refund? Change a customer’s account information? All of these processes will likely be changed when you implement your new technology, which means your end users will be forced to change the way they do things. Leaving your users in the dark is a recipe for failure, as they will be more likely to try to do things “the old way,” which is now “the wrong way.”
How will your project team work with your SI to design new processes or configure new systems if they have no knowledge of it? How will they provide valuable input during Fit/Gap analysis sessions that have enormous impacts on how your organization will use the software?
For this reason, it is important to have one training partner throughout the project lifecycle. The ability of a training partner to understand your new project’s plan and goals from the onset, and then to execute that plan throughout the project’s life provides a level of service necessary to adequately provide training to your project team and end users—giving you training that best meets the unique needs of your organization and your ERP implementation.
#1 – Not training at all
According to the Gartner Group, “Of all technology implementations, 50% are severely challenged, 25% completely fail, and 25% succeed. The primary reason for this is training, or lack thereof.”
The bottom line is that if your organization is going to implement ERP software, there is a right way to do things and that begins with a training plan suited to your ERP implementation project. This involves assigning a great project team to head your implementation, training them so that they make informed decisions, and then carrying over that training to your end users.
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