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A new ERP system is the perfect chance for a business to create long-lasting change across the organisation. If you want to ensure your new system (which will impact your entire organisation and its processes, no matter how large or small it is) is embraced, adopted and sustained, you need to prioritise organisational change management.

Here are five steps to effective change management in an ERP implementation project:

  1. Gain management buy-in
  2. Prioritise stakeholder engagement
  3. Tailor your messages based on the audience
  4. Assess the impact of the change
  5. Create a structured change journey

1. Gain key stakeholder buy-in and maintain engagement

Change management ERP projectPhoto by Karolina Grabowska

You must help your organisation recognise and understand the need for change. In this case, it’s a new ERP system.

This includes:

  • Analysing stakeholder mindsets and motivations
  • Aligning their mindsets and goals
  • Building awareness and engagement across the business as the project progresses

It’s particularly important to gain buy-in from leadership across all offices and region. This is fundamental when implementing a new solution. If management and leadership are bought into your vision, they can champion your ideas and inspire the wider organisation to also jump and stay onboard.

2. Assess the impact of the ERP project

A new ERP system affects an entire organisation, no matter how large or small the company. Even if you’re ‘lifting’ and ‘shifting’ to a new software version and it essentially looks the same, it’s still a new system. So, there may be changes of varying intensities to processes.

With this in mind, you must consider the impact these process changes will have on your end users. How might it change their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities? How might it change their role?

In addition to that, the project as a whole will impact the business. For example, resources may be seconded to the project which means other resources will need to be shuffled to compensate.

That’s why you must assess and analyse the impact this ERP project (as well as the system) will have on your business. You should work with key stakeholders to better understand the current processes and how they may change.

3. Tailor your messages based on the audience

ERP implementation strategy

Resistance to a new solution is often caused by a lack of communication. Employees struggle to understand why things are changing and they may not get the right answers precisely when they need them.

It’s important to note it’s not just about receiving answers quickly. It’s about receiving the right answers. So, you must tailor your messages depending on the stakeholder group.

That’s where activities such as holding workshops with key stakeholder groups to better understand their pain points and challenges will help. The better you understand things like:

  • Their goals and how they align with the ERP project
  • Where they are in their personal change journey

…the easier it will be to tweak your messaging based on the audience.

4. Create a structured change journey

This refers to more than your ERP implementation timeline. A change journey, which we mentioned above, will depend on the stakeholder group and outline:

  • The stakeholder’s state of mind prior to the change management process
  • Your ideal destination (how do you want them to feel, think and act?)
  • Any potential hurdles that may crop up along the way and how you’ll mitigate
  • Any activities required to keep them engaged

During this stage, you should create change journeys tailored to each stakeholder group.

5. Have a training strategy in place

Planning change journeyPhoto by Kampus Production

No matter how big or small an organisation is, a new ERP system will likely change an employee’s day-to-day tasks. With that comes a learning curve that must be addressed if you’re going to keep them engaged throughout the ERP project and using the system after go-live as per best practices.

A wide-ranging training strategy should account for local nuances, locations and testing prior to ERP go-live. End-user training should be ongoing and include classes, workshops and practical sessions right through to the implementation process.

In other words, it should be organised early on in the ERP project, not only after go-live.

Continuous training can be achieved by having readily available access to industry-specific business process modelling. Columbus helps teams continuously train by giving them readily available access to industry-specific business process modelling.


Change management is a key part of an ERP implementation project

Implementing an ERP solution in your organisation implies change which will inevitably lead to some resistance.

Taking a holistic approach by connecting people, processes and systems will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your ERP project. Change management ensures people understand the business process change and not only accept but also prepare for and use the ERP system.

In our checklist to effective change management, we cover a two-part approach that includes the steps above and the team you should build. Take a look via the button below.

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