In Articles

Prospective clients often ask us how we address change management when we are helping companies implement new ERP systems. As a former Big 4 consultant, I have to resist the urge to open PowerPoint and start rattling off jargon about stakeholder assessments, change readiness, learning modalities, barriers to change, environment scans, change agents, and user readiness. While these tools are useful, what our clients really want to know is: Specifically, what are you going to do to make sure our people make this implementation a success?

This is what we tell them:

One-on-One Interaction – Town hall meetings and mass newsletters are too often relied on as the primary means of communicating change. Largely, town hall audiences are zoned out or multi-tasking during a meeting and the message doesn’t sink in. And mass communications via electronic newsletters are only read by the people who created or are featured in them. People still want to know what’s going on, they want to be heard, and they often have questions. The best way to accomplish all three is through one-on-one interactions. Our teams invest the time to engage with people individually. For example, when we were rolling out a field automation solution for a services company, during testing, our business analyst sat with each of the field supervisors individually to share, listen, and get feedback. We got grassroots feedback and better knew what to expect when training would be delivered.

Getting to Know People – Every employee has a life outside of work and this needs to be considered during any change initiative. As ERP implementers, we must get people’s time and attention through design, testing, and training. Recognizing priorities outside of work helps our team better schedule the critical work that needs to be done. For example, the Procurement Manager at a large oil company coaches his son’s little league team and practices are every Tuesday evening. That means that we shouldn’t expect to see the manager in the office past 5pm on Tuesdays, and we may want to wait to engage him on Wednesday morning instead of interrupting him when he’s on the field. Our implementation teams need to get to know client team members on a personal level and show that we care enough to protect their personal time.

Adapting to Company Norms – Every organization has preferred ways of communicating and sharing information. Trying to apply one cookie-cutter approach to communications won’t have the same level of effectiveness at every organization.  In some organizations, emails are important ways to communicate. In other organizations, emails are seen as annoyances and are largely ignored. For example, a large production company had weekly departmental stand-up meetings every Tuesday at 7:30am. Each department would gather for 15-20 minutes to share successes and upcoming goals for the week. Our implementation team made our rounds during the departmental stand-ups to communicate implementation expectations and goals with each department. That way, each department had an opportunity to get progress updates and share their feedback in a manner they were accustomed to.

Effective change management during an ERP implementation does not necessarily require one single change management leader. This can have a detrimental effect on the project. All project team members need is to have a role in the change management part of the project.

At Trenegy, we help companies successfully implement ERP solutions on-time and within budget. For more info about addressing change management when implementing a new ERP, reach out to us at info@trenegy.com.

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search