Undergoing an ERP implementation (or any system implementation) is never an easy undertaking and frequently it is transformational to your business, touches all departments, and requires proactive and consistent change management. One area that is critical to a successful ERP (or any system) implementation, and that is often overlooked, is the training approach – how do we roll out this complex solution to all end users in our business and ensure the new software and processes are adopted.
To help ensure a successful ERP implementation and training approach, three (3) best practices should be followed:
- Engage a dedicated training team as soon as possible
- Develop a holistic training plan
- Design a sustainable training approach – one that can be repeated and is maintained throughout the life of the ERP system (i.e., through future system upgrades)
When assembling a core training team, it is important to:
- Identify the team early, before the system implementation initiatives
- Ensure the training team is representative of the departments impacted by the implementation
- Dedicate a training lead to oversee the training efforts
- Partner with experienced ERP / training consulting firms to supplement your organization’s capabilities and to provide industry best practices are incorporated
The training plan is crucial to a successful training initiative. After creating your team, the focus shifts to creating a sustainable training program. The training plan encompasses five key phases, each with its own series of activities. The suggested training plan framework is the ADDIE model, which is outlined below.
Analysis – This phase relies heavily on the range of analyses you run. Be sure not to rush this phase as it is essential for quality training. The goal of this phase is to gain a solid understanding of the need at hand.
Design – After the analyses are completed, you will be able to design your training. This phase will take what was learned in analysis and use it to design your courses, modules, and resources. The goal of this phase is to create outlines of all the planned training (assessment included) and who will be responsible to development them.
Development – As the design phases wraps up, the training team will work to create all the training resources. Team members will create the courses, modules, and assessments while preparing for UAT (User Acceptance Testing). Testing and feedback is important in this phase as implementation is next.
Implementation – This phase is where training will begin. By this point, team members have finished developing all training materials which were tested by end users. The training sessions are scheduled and start to take place within this phase and evaluators are attending training sessions to guarantee the training program success.
Evaluation – As training winds down, evaluation takes over. Evaluation not only looks at the success of the training (how people did during training), but how the material is being used on the job. The evaluators will survey all stakeholders at the end of training and at a later date to understand if the training has reached its objectives. More importantly, evaluators look at how the material learned will be sustained.
The ADDIE Model provides the framework of a solid training program and aligns directly with sustainability and transition planning.
Sustainable Training Approach & Transition
From the start, it is important to begin thinking of sustainability throughout an ERP implementation. Transition and Sustainability teams are essential to successful ERP projects and should identified when the training team is being developed. These teams will be the training key “point of contacts”, will be responsible for future trainings, and will help keep all relevant training materials updated. Finally, this team will be tasked with continuing the adoption of the new ERP software and delivering refresher training as needed.
Sustainability is a key component to a successful implementation and there are a few best practices to keep in mind throughout the transition:
- Keep on top of changes. Especially if this ERP system is used daily, even a simple screen update could confuse an employee and cause a dip in productivity.
- Deploy a communication strategy. Designate a place to update employees on software or procedure changes.
- Review often. Asking your stakeholders about the resource materials and training will ensure a strong lasting program.
While undergoing an ERP implementation is a transformational initiative for organizations, hopefully the best practices outlined in this blog will help you understand some key activities required to assemble a “super star” training team, design an appropriate training plan, and ensure a sustainable and repeatable training approach.