Ensuring Success with Your ERP Initiative: Tools and Techniques for Driving Change

April 25, 2014
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When you’re implementing a new ERP system, you want people to use new tools, screens and reports, and to work in new collaborative ways. In other words, you want people to change, and that makes an ERP implementation a change management project.

Most of the time initiatives that require people to change the way they behave fall into two camps. We either assume people will naturally change from the old way to the new way, or we say how important change management is, and then assume someone else is doing that because we don’t have a clue how to get people to change. Neither of these approaches work.

There are specific steps you should take to get people to behave in new ways.

Step 1: Identify the results you want to achieve – Identifying the specific results you want to achieve in your improvement project is critical to the project’s success. The results must be clearly articulated so everyone involved knows and understands them.

Step 2: Understand the behavior that is driving the current results – To understand the current results you have to understand the current behavior. Identify the stakeholders whose behavior is supporting the current behavior. These can be internal stakeholders like management, supervisors or associates, or external stakeholders like customers, auditors or regulators. Then identify the behavior each of those stakeholders groups that is contributing the results you are currently getting. Lastly you must understand the consequences that are driving the current behavior or allowing that behavior. Identify the rewards and recognition people are getting for their current behavior.

Step 3: Identify the critical new behaviors required – Identify the current behaviors that must stop or change to drive the desired results. Define the new behavior that you want in place of the current behavior. For each behavior you want to stop, start or change you need to develop a behavior change plan.

Step 4: Develop a plan to change the behaviors – The critical steps in the behavior change plan are: Align, Train, Enable, and Inspire.

Align – Employees need to be aware of and aligned with the plans and goals of your ERP project. This involves communicating those plans and goals, and putting the policies and processes in place to institutionalize the new behaviors.

Train – Individuals need to have the capability to achieve the project’s goals. You must train people in the new tools and systems. Ensuring competency includes initial training and a plan for sustaining reinforcement.

Enable – Adequate resources must be available and obstacles to performance must be removed. These resources and obstacles can be things like tools, forms, processes, or the time required to perform the new behaviors.

Inspire – Consequences have to be put in place to create an environment where people “want to,” rather than “have to,” deliver a high level of results. You must determine how to measure the results of the new behaviors, and design positive reinforcement for those behaviors.

You can ensure the success of your ERP implementation, or any other process improvement, by using the standard tools and techniques of change management described here.

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