A change of software is hard for most of us. When you are so familiar with the system that you use on a daily basis, it can be difficult to fully embrace the change to a new one.
When you change major systems, like your ERP, getting your team on board is crucial. It ensures a smooth adoption of the new software and means you can continue to operate efficiently.
Here’s how you can encourage ERP adoption in your business and make the transition to a new system less challenging.
Involve Key Staff in the ERP Selection and Scoping Processes
When they have had a hand in shaping what ERP you will use, along with how some of the functionality works in practice, your staff are more likely to feel invested in the software change.
You can engender staff support by involving them from the very start. Appoint heads of department and other key staff onto the project team. This ensures they will get the functionality they need and that everyone from the company will be represented when it comes to making sure all needs are incorporated into your new system.
Ensure Your New Software Improves Business Processes
As part of your business process analysis, you will be able to identify what works well in your current software and what needs to be changed to improve productivity or efficiency.
If you’re moving from a spreadsheet-based accounting system, your job here will be easy. While there may be some resistance to learning a new system, it will quickly be obvious to staff that digital automation can make their jobs easier.
But if you are changing from one software solution to another, you can ensure better adoption if you pay close attention to improving your processes by redesigning them.
You’ll be halfway there if your new software helps your staff to do their jobs more efficiently. When they can see that invoicing will take them much less time or that they can produce a detailed sales report with just the press of a button, they will be more accepting of the change.
Communicate Clearly and Thoroughly
Change management is smoother where you have effective communication. Conveying the reasoning behind the change should be prioritised from the start. Your employees will feel involved and will more readily back the project if they understand and can relate to the reasons why you are changing your ERP system.
You should communicate why using the current system is untenable, how it is holding you back and what that means for them. Perhaps using your old system means you are missing out on financial opportunities. Translating this into how that has a knock-on effect on staff salaries will have a convincing effect on attitudes to change.
Communicate clearly, ensuring you are authentic and genuine. If there are holdups, don’t hide this. Share everything with your staff so that they feel fully involved. Encourage feedback and input, so that any grievances are flagged up early and actively respond to and address concerns.
Enlist Staff Software Champions
While most people are wary or even fearful about change, you will no doubt have some open-minded staff who readily embrace change. Getting these early adopters on side can overcome some of the barriers that you face in ensuring user adoption across the board.
Enlist those that are most excited about the ERP change as project champions. Whatever department they represent, they are the ones most likely to be helpful in advocating for the new software and promoting its benefits to their teams and colleagues.
Ensure that the project team always prioritises communication with these people – or better still, recruit them as part of the team so you can fully capitalise on their enthusiasm about the new ERP software. This will provide them with better access to information that they can use in their roles as peer influencers.
Conduct User Adoption Training
Helping your staff to master the new ERP system will ensure that they get the most out of it and that it helps your business in the ways that you initially planned it would.
Use the services of your ERP partner to implement a training programme for your staff. They are experts in the software and will be able to provide the comprehensive assistance your key users will need, as well as ensuring all your other users are comfortable in using the software.
They will be able to run workshops according to departmental needs, providing training that is tailored for your finance team or your marketing staff.
For best results, conduct training before you go live, especially for your key users, as well as when you are up and running. In this way, users can also address any issues and if there is lots for them to cover, you can prioritise training on the most business-critical tasks and then roll out instruction for the less-used aspects when you have more time.
Smoothing the Transition from New to Known
Enthusing your employees about the switch to a new ERP will encourage a smooth transition and ensure that everyone across the business embraces the change.
The more thoroughly you approach the change, the faster your staff will engage with the process and come to accept the software. They are the ones who will be most affected by the change in ERP software, so getting them on board will help engender their support and cooperation and smooth the change.