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Managing Stumbling Blocks of Users During the Implementation of an ERP

By Jean-Baptiste Sachot, 10:30 AM on December 1, 2016

The adoption of a new, integrated ERP software package is a project that can give rise to multiple stumbling blocks for employees. This reluctance is caused by the human nature of different staff members who may be more or less difficult about being moved out of their comfort zone. Removing these stumbling blocks requires clear, positive and unfailing support from management.


Dealing with different staff behaviours

A company's staff make up a representative panel of the different attitudes that people adopt in the face of change. Some individuals will prove to be enthusiastic and even drive the project. Others will be more resistant to change and halt its progress. Whilst another group will adopt a neutral attitude with a kind of inertia that's difficult to fathom.

In the face of such heterogeneity, the hierarchy plays a dominant role. Management must be clearly seen to be in favour of the project. The CEO must communicate frequently and support the project unambiguously. This unifying message must be designed to get all employees onside, because they are the future users of the ERP after implementation.

The most common stumbling blocks during the implementation of an ERP:

  • I can't find such and such a button,
  • I didn't do it this way before,
  • The dashboard didn't look like that on the old software,
  • etc.

The main difficulties come from ergonomics and unfamiliarity. However, these usually iron themselves out after a period of use.

Different ways of providing reassurance

It is essential to create various reassuring elements:

  • Creation of technical support (dedicated if necessary),
  • Appointment of referents,
  • Creation of questionnaires to detect the major stumbling blocks,
  • Drafting of a clear, well-argued catalogue of the handling of objections

It is also important to integrate an adjustment period into the project management schedule.

Distinguishing genuine stumbling blocks from simple opposition to change

Stumbling blocks are experienced by end users, the team in charge of the project being made up of motivated staff.

When the tool gets into the hands of end users, it has already been configured by specialists who have integrated the needs of staff and solved any basic problems in advance.

The trickiest problem is that of a staff member who is identified as a motivator, but who doesn't approve of the change of ERP system. If the nature of the staff member's motivation is confirmed, an enquiry in the whole team with regard to change is required. A review of the situation with the management team must then be carried out.

The software publisher and management need to work together

Each party must respect their own scope of action. The publisher is neither the driver nor the decision-maker in the management of the project, instead they are responsible for sounding the alarm. If a problem is detected, the publisher's job is to recommend that the management team call in an external technical consultant. This expert will assist in redefining the company's needs and the legitimacy of the project.


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