When it comes to ERP projects, it’s easy to focus on the implementation and not look at the project as a whole. But actually, ERP projects, or any kind of system implementation for that matter, are examples of business change or transformation. Which means it’s not just about finding and implementing the right system as per best practices/methodologies.
For the best chances of user adoption, you must help your team through this change and empower them with the tools and knowledge needed to get the job done. Here are some key components of a change management strategy.
- A culture of innovation
- A vision that’s shared company-wide
- Stakeholder engagement is a priority
- A team to drive your efforts
- An understanding of the impact of the change
- An innovative workforce
- External innovators
1. A culture of innovation
To ensure your project will truly succeed, you need a culture where all ideas, from the greatest to the most far-fetched, are welcomed and valued.
Do this by opening up the lines of communication between management and employees. Company-wide collaboration sessions are a great strategy. They ensure every employee feels involved and as though their opinion is valued.
2. A vision that’s shared company-wide
In larger businesses, strategical projects often start with the most senior stakeholders. They set the vision, the messaging, the goals and the path. By the time that vision trickles through the rest of the company and reaches the teams who will do the implementing, a lot of that original messaging and passion is lost.
Because of this, it can be difficult for your teams to buy into the changes. They may not understand or agree with what’s happening. And that can obviously make the project more challenging.
Avoid this by keeping the teams who need to know in the loop right from the start. You could have a member or two from each key team attending the initial planning meetings. This makes sharing the vision across the business much easier and means the news is less likely to be diluted or misunderstood.
3. Stakeholder engagement is a priority
Just because you’ve got your team to buy into your vision/initiative doesn’t mean they’ll stay ‘bought in’ for the duration of the project. For example, they might change their minds, be seconded to another project or even leave the business. And then you’ll have to work on engaging new people.
That’s why you must consistently establish and promote your change vision. This includes:
- Stakeholder analysis and management
- Aligning mindsets by working closely with process owners and key stakeholders
- Bringing your vision to life via rich pictures and journey maps
- Building awareness and engagement across the business as the initiative progresses
4. A team to drive your efforts
Innovation as a whole shouldn’t be the responsibility of just your corporate business development team/units; it’s the responsibility of every leader at every level.
Your leaders should be (and this isn’t an exhaustive list):
- Skilled in using innovation tools
- Capable of thinking with an open mind and able to create opportunities for such scenarios
- Able to evaluate new options without making premature judgments
- Creative and able to embrace unconventional ideas
- Adept in mentoring and recognising fellow innovators
5. An understanding of the impact of change
The more the new ERP system impacts your business, the (potentially) more work you’ll need to do to get your team onboard and your processes prepared. So, work with key stakeholders from across the business to understand the changes.
You could hold workshops to capture high-level change impacts. As the project progresses, use a Change Impact Log to note down the potential impacts of change.
6. An innovative workforce
To stay innovative, look for potential employees who could bring an element of creativity to your team when you’re hiring. Ask yourself whether these candidates can see things in a new light and bring fresh ideas to your business.
This ensures your company will always be thinking of ways to drive improvement and process efficiency, whether it’s before, during or after an implementation project.
Recent research has also found that a more diverse workforce can boost innovation and financial results. So, that’s another aspect to keep in mind.
7. External innovators
Often, working with third-party businesses can help bring new ideas into the mix, speed up the process and reduce the chances of errors.
There are companies that specialise in change and transformation projects, from brainstorming ideas and putting a plan in place to implementing everything. Why not work with these companies? Their expertise in implementations across a variety of industries can be very valuable, especially if your business hasn’t undertaken many projects of a similar scale before.
Are you confident that you’re digitally transforming the right way?
Creating and following an effective change management strategy can help ensure your ERP implementation project proceeds as smoothly as possible. But that’s not the only thing you need to consider. What about your value proposition? How will your new ERP system affect that?
In our guide to digital transformation, we lay out the key elements guaranteed to help you take on digital transformation. From why people are the main reason for transformation projects failing to the importance of new value, download our cheat sheet below.