3 Software User Adoption Tips
For many manufacturers and distributors implementing ERP or CRM software, the go-live date is often considered the moment of truth. Will the system be deployed smoothly or experience errors? Stakeholders and project teams have their fingers crossed that the rollout will be seamless. However, the real moment of truth is after your system goes live and employees are expected to start using the new software.
The largest obstacles to CRM or ERP success are often the end users. End user adoption is a major factor in any implementation. No matter how well the system has been deployed, if employees are still entering data into spreadsheets or counting inventory by hand, your project is a failure.
Software implementations always create some degree of resistance. Without a strong change management plan, you might not ever see any value generated from your software. Below, our expert consultants have contributed a few tips for mitigating ERP and CRM adoption risks and managing organizational change.
One of the most important things to avoid when fostering CRM or ERP adoption is blind-siding users with a dramatically different system. After new software is selected, the vision and value of the project should be shared across departments. When employees understand why the solution is being implemented and how it can improve their processes, they will be more likely to embrace change.
One way to facilitate transparency is through designing use cases. A use case documents how users should interact with the software solution. Use cases will help employees gain a clear understanding of how to build the software into their routines and also assist change agents and managers in providing guidance.
This transparency goes beyond individual software use. The implementation process requires a complete evaluation and documentation of operations. This in-depth look at internal practices provides employees with insights into the roles and objectives of their co-workers, allowing them to realize how their job functions within the company. With a stronger understanding of the business as a whole, you can expect a more driven and united workforce.
Communication goes hand in hand with transparency. When manufacturers and distributors embark on IT projects, they often make the mistake of inhibiting two-way conversations. Though it’s critical to tell users about the implementation, you create resentment when you don’t give users the chance to voice their questions or concerns. Facilitate a back-and-forth dialogue about requirements, new processes, the project vision and the schedule.
You can’t keep users informed if the project team and stakeholders aren’t on the same page. Hold regular status meetings to discuss progress, scope changes and any new variables that occur during the implementation. With stakeholders and the project team on the same page, you can keep the implementation moving forward and clearly convey its progress with end users.
Another error businesses commonly make in change management is waiting to talk to users about the new software until training. Without easing employees into the ERP or CRM solution, you’ll create confusion and even animosity towards the software. Instead, involve users from the business process modeling stage. This tactic not only prevents unpleasant surprises but also gives project teams a chance to learn about current pain points and concerns among users, so they can be addressed early.
3. Project Control
A project spiraling out of control doesn’t inspire confidence from end users. From the onset of the ERP or CRM implementation, put in place clear goals as well as a defined plan and schedule. If you dive into your implementation without clear expectations, your project team and stakeholders won’t be able to keep up with the project’s progress—and if they can’t keep up, your users will certainly be lost. With an organized plan, your implementation will be simpler to execute and elicit positive feedback throughout your organization.
However, it’s unrealistic to expect your project strategy to undergo no changes. You might incur an expected issue or realize that an additional feature is required to support an objective. A changelog is a useful tool to manage any unexpected developments and avoid scope creep. The changelog is where project teams input changes or new requirements, so they can keep up with these issues and have them signed off by stakeholders.
As we stated earlier, changes should also be discussed at regular meetings. Together, stakeholders and project teams can ensure all changes are critical, contribute to project goals and don’t blow the budget. When necessary, communicate changes to end users.
Together, transparency, communication and project control are the three pillars of change management success. With users fully on board with the new ERP or CRM solution, you can enjoy optimal business performance.
If you’re looking for an ERP and CRM expert, look no further than Datix. We’re the only Epicor partner that is also a certified partner of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce. For over 20 years, Datix has implemented leading ERP and CRM solutions from start to finish. Our implementation and change management strategies are designed to maximize the value of your software and encourage end-to-end user adoption.
To learn more about CRM and ERP software, contact Datix today and download our ERP and CRM implementation guide.