A new ERP solution is a big change for any company. It affects in-house procedures and every member of staff. No one really likes change – and rightly so. With any change, there’s a lot to learn, a lot to get used to and inevitable stress. So, when you get a new ERP solution, you have to banish any fears your staff may have. Here are 5 tips to make sure your new software package gets a warm welcome.
1/ Speak up as soon as you’ve made your decision
When is the best time to tell your staff that you’re changing your ERP solution? When you’re 100% sure that you’re going ahead with it and there’s no going back on your decision. Otherwise, if you’re still thinking it over, your news may unsettle some team members. Or worse, some staff may stop working on certain tasks. For example, if they’re waiting for a change, they may delay entering data into the CRM because they think the software is on the way out.
2/ Celebrate the good news
Be positive and make it sound like good news. Changing your ERP solution? Brilliant! Forget expressions like “dip in productivity”, “rivals” and “competition”. Your staff must feel as if they’re at the heart of your decision.
Be enthusiastic and spell out why this change will be good for them: it will mean access to a tool that supports day-to-day tasks and goodbye to the redundant, boring ones that don’t add value. You’re changing your ERP solution to help them: “Seeing you work with the current software made us realise that it's passed its best days and holding you back. Basically, it isn’t working for you. The new solution will make your work easier.”
Read also: Top 5 signs that it's time to change your ERP solution.
3/ Get your staff on board
Once you’ve made the official announcement, open up the topic and encourage staff to share their views. After all, you need them. Get them involved in the project. You’ll end up with the ERP solution that’s right for your company, tailored to needs on the ground – and there'll be a smoother changeover, supported by your staff. Foster volunteers' enthusiasm: encourage them to say what they want (must-haves first), show them that you’ve listened to their suggestions and don’t forget to follow up even when you don’t end up using their ideas.
Read also: CFOs, is it time to let users pick your management software?
4/ Set clear project deadlines
You’ve made your announcement and you’ve got your staff on board, but don’t stop there. If you do, your hard work will come to nothing. Don’t leave your staff hanging. To get the project off the ground and drive it forward, appoint a task force and add major project deadlines to your calendar, and even if these dates change, present them as concrete targets. For example, the project team will summarise company needs within three months, you’ll choose your ERP solution within six months, etc.
Read also: Non-compliance with schedules, a chronic problem with ERP projects.
5/ Make the project visible and appoint project contacts
You want the project to be transparent, so it should have a human face. You can do this by appointing project contacts and introduce them to your staff. Introduce Ms. Martin as the project lead whom staff can contact about the new ERP solution. Staff should know whom they can send questions or suggestions to.
A word of caution: if the main contact doesn’t have any decision-making power within your company, they won’t be able to influence staff and give legitimacy to the project. The solution is to appoint an in-house sponsor. For example, the CFO will oversee the project while Ms. Martin will manage operations and be the main contact for your teams.
Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to a smooth changeover. Then all you have to do is find a software publisher / ERP integration specialist… And that’s where the fun starts!