Change Agents: Key to ERP Success
Software adoption is such an important part of the eventual success of any ERP system. After all, the employees are the ones entering the data that makes the system run and become a powerful tool for business tracking and data management. Without the people, the enterprise software is just code.
This means that any project team should be focusing heavily on keeping your whole company involved and excited about ERP. You’ve probably heard an ERP implementation horror story along similar lines—a friction point emerges between employee and software, causing one person to decide that they are better off without using the system. One ERP-ditcher turns their colleague, and so on. Eventually, the business finds itself paying a ton of money for software that no one is using.
That’s where ERP change agents come in. They’ll be one of the most critical parts of your implementation team and will act as on-the-ground facilitators of general employee enthusiasm and commitment to new software. Instead of just "imposing" new technology on your team, selecting change agents from among them will be able to emphasize the checks and balances between user adoption and system validation. It’s also equally important that change agents are defined roles within your project—the title shouldn’t just be added on as an afterthought. The ERP project leaders will need to think carefully about what will be required of your change agents, select them for the right qualities and then train them from there. Here are the important responsibilities that will need to be delegated to your change agents:
The Requirements of Your ERP Change Agents
- Always be aware of your project’s status, timelines, goals and any deviations from those plans. The change agent will be required to disseminate this information across the rest of your organization. During ERP implementation, constant communication is critical. If end users feel left out or unaware of reasons why a piece of software has been configured the way it is, they will be less receptive to it.
- Become the evangelists of your project. Make sure the employees you choose to become your change agents are truly excited for what the software is going to be able to do. Your change agents should also be able to spread this excitement among other people effectively.
- Be model users of the software—they will be looked to as experts in the software and a possible sounding board for quick questions that employees may not want to elevate. They will need to be technical experts, given extra training,etc. but also able to break this complex information down into comprehensible terms for end-users that may not be so savvy on the software. This means that while your IT team is busy on the nitty-gritty technology and coding that goes into ERP implementation, change agents will be able to field questions and sort out smaller issues the developers might not have time to.
Poor software adoption can kill even the most well-structured ERP implementation project. Enthusiasm-killing setbacks can come from anywhere—whether it’s hard-to-understand interfaces, poorly communicated timelines or the software not supporting processes that it promised to. It doesn’t matter which area that slip-up occurs; once one employee believes the software’s not worth it and ditches it, others will follow. Avoid the mass abandonment by selecting and staffing change agents that can act as your new instance's software disciples on the ground floor.
Are you about to undergo an ERP implementation, or are currently undergoing one, and need help identifying change agents in your organization? Get in touch with an expert at Datix today. As an Epicor Platinum Partner, we can help with training, project team selection and software adoption within your company. We work with each client to implement scalable ERP software that will have you seeing ROI in no time!