Why you shouldn’t pull the plug on ERP training and support after your go-live date.

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Preparing for ERP implementation can be an intense, months-long process. Circled in everyone’s datebook is the big go-live date: the day when you will flip the switch, and all the benefits you’ve been anticipating will be realized. Right?

What many people don’t recognize is just how critical the post-implementation period is to your initiative’s success. In fact, research suggests that the time immediately following implementation is often a sort of “break-in phase,” that may not be representative of the positive long-term effects organizations might experience from ERP use.

To maintain momentum through this break-in phase, organizations need to be proactive in managing the people and processes underpinning their ERP success. Here are three important considerations to keep in mind after your go-live date has come and gone.

1.    Your ERP team’s job is not over.

You’ve brought together some of your company’s best and brightest in preparation for your ERP implementation. Their collective decision-making has helped get you to where you are. But no matter how smoothly your rollout went, it would be a mistake to allow this team to disband at launch.

Once the system is in use, unexpected questions are sure to come up. That’s why early in your ERP system planning, it is important to lay out the expectation that your launch team will serve as a steering committee for one year following implementation. Having such a committee in place will allow the individuals most able to address user concerns to do so swiftly. Ensure a designated notetaker also has a seat at your table to document every instance of troubleshooting along with its resolution. Not only will this benefit current users but several years down the road, it will allow new employees to understand how the system was setup and why. This will help your organization to avoid repeating the same mistakes and enable you to maximize the shelf life of your software.

2.    Pre-launch assumptions are not to be trusted.

If you’ve done your best to include input from all departments during the pre-launch phase, then you’ve already done a lot to minimize complications following rollout. However, despite best efforts, the way you expect ERP to be used by a given team may not end up aligning with reality.

A couple months after implementation, take the time to check-in with every team using the new system. Are the setup configurations working well for them? Has the new system introduced any bottlenecks to their procedures? If a given department head says he or she sees the system working well for others but that their team “works differently,” hear them out. Research has shown that departments that have stronger interdependence – that is, common stakeholders and/or processes – within the the organization may more easily feel the payoff of a new ERP system. For those struggling to see the advantages, talk through their struggles and consider how the system might be adjusted or customized to meet their unique needs.

3.    There may be more to learn (and to teach).

In preparing for ERP rollout, chances are you’ve learned way more about this software than you ever expected to. It might be hard to remember that your employees, especially if they have never used an ERP software before, may require a bit more education to fully grasp the context of ERP in their daily lives.

Rather than planning a long, intensive course before implementation, consider breaking your training program into more manageable quarterly sessions offered after rollout. In the first class, provide a simple refresher of what users were already taught, reserving ample time for Q&A and troubleshooting. As time goes on, explore deeper functionality that can help employees in their daily tasks and deepen their appreciation for the individual benefits of the software. If you are able to provide these trainings in online format, consider recording the sessions for current employees to refer back to and for future employees to learn from.

While ERP launch is a moment to celebrate, it is not a time to turn your program over to autopilot. Studies have shown that ERP benefits tend to increase over time. By proactively managing the post-launch process you can alleviate user concerns, enhance appreciation of your system and maximize the return on your investment.

Work with a partner who has been through it all. The Copley Consulting Group offers comprehensive ERP management services to support your organization from project planning through post-go live support. Learn more.

Interested in our Infor Cloudsuite Industrial (SyteLine) system implementations?
Talk to a Copley Consultant today.

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