Asset Management

Five change management strategies for an ERP project

Change management strategies for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) project include aligning everyone on the stated goal for a project and identifying potential risks before they become an issue.
By Ultra Consultants May 10, 2019
Image courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE Media

Implementing or upgrading an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is a good opportunity for a manufacturer to create lasting business change within an organization. That’s why change management strategies for an ERP project are so important.

ERP change management is more than simply selecting and implementing an ERP system. It involves introducing best practices throughout the entire organization to increase efficiency, improve overall business performance and maximize the ERP system’s value.

As with any complex project, resistance to change is the norm, not the exception. Expect it, prepare for it and manage it to minimize the impact that it can have. Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is not an option.

Both individual and organizational values affect how a change is received in the organization and both need to be addressed in order to be successful.

Five change management strategies for an ERP project

1. Mobilize and align leaders and articulate the case for change

As a first strategy, it is key to clearly articulate the case for change. We encourage teams to communicate project scope, rollout strategy and implementation schedule as the ERP project gets underway. Key aspects of this strategy include:

  • Leadership understands implementation strategy and clearly define leadership actions to support the change
  • Communicate project scope, rollout strategy and implementation schedule
  • Empower the implementation team and employees for broad based action by sanctioning them with the authority to make decisions.

2. Identify and manage people opportunity and risk

It is also critical for the ERP project team to look at both the opportunity and risk of a project. Here’s where a change management strategy and team is put in place to address the cultural changes the implementation will create. Key areas to address include the following:

  • Conduct organization and people readiness assessments to identify both opportunity and risk as early as possible and define actions to realize these opportunities and mitigate risks
  • Monitor the “people” risk mitigation progress by conducting mid-course and post implementation checks
  • Identify key stakeholders within the business and across the enterprise and implement best practices for adoption.

3. Stakeholder communications

An important strategy when it comes to organizational change management is to define and deploy a detailed communication plan – which answers what will be communicated, why, to whom (audience), by whom, when, and how. All communications should include:

  • Definition of project scope, objectives, milestones, deliverables, critical success factors and approaches
  • Information between and among all project stakeholders
  • Plan for the transition process through implementation to post go-live.

4. Create the future organization

Developing and designing the desired future organization is also key to change management and ERP. This phase includes assessing job redesign and competency requirements for the new environment.

These efforts also include:

  • Analyze the current condition of the business, locations, and departments in terms of processes, organization and people systems
  • Develop a transformation plan that defines actions, responsibilities and timeframe to get to target condition
  • Analyze implications for HR such as performance management, compensation and classification, recruiting, hiring and on-boarding, etc.

5. Enable the workforce

A critical part of change management strategies for an ERP project involves enabling the workforce to thrive in the transformed organization. This phase is more than simply training on a new technology. This usually involves overall job, skill and organization design changes. We suggest a focus on the following initiatives:

  • Assess current workforce in terms of skills, abilities, experiences and capabilities; assess staffing impacts
  • Develop/implement training strategies and plans to close learning gaps
  • Well before go-live, help end-users, leaders, implementation team members, process owners, customer, suppliers understand how their processes and work will be impacted.

Ultra Consultants, a CFE Media content partner, is a leading independent research and enterprise solutions consulting firm serving the manufacturing and distribution industries throughout North America. Ultra delivers enterprise technology expertise and process management to drive business performance improvement for their clients. This article originally appeared on Ultra Consultants’ blog.

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Ultra Consultants
Author Bio: Ultra Consultants, a CFE Media content partner, is a leading independent research and enterprise solutions consulting firm serving the manufacturing and distribution industries throughout North America. Ultra delivers enterprise technology expertise and process management to drive business performance improvement for their clients.