An ERP system is essential for a business, big or small. Hence, most companies have already implemented ERP solutions or are in the process of doing so. They do so because they understand the benefits that an ERP offers. You will also come across many companies transitioning from an on-premise ERP to a cloud-based ERP like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central due to the demands of digital transformation. That said, change is never easy. The factor that contributes most to the complexity is user resistance.
In simple terms, user resistance is the resistance from a company’s employees to change the existing systems or processes in place. Let’s look at some of the reasons for the user resistance.
The employees have already invested a lot of time learning the current system. For a new system implementation, they have to take some time out from their regular working hours to learn it. It means they will have less time for their daily work or sit for long hours to complete their pending work.
The employees have got used to the earlier systems and are comfortable with it even if it may not be perfect. They have also learnt to troubleshoot it in case of any problems that may occur. They also have mapped processes required for their routine tasks. A change in the ERP will result in redoing all these things. It may take up significant time and effort.
Whenever there is a change, people get anxious due to the uncertainty around the impact of the change. A change in the ERP will impact each department and all the employees. Hence there is bound to be anxiety around it. There will be doubts in an employee’s mind about various aspects like why is there a change, is it for the better, will it impact my job, how it will affect the job, etc.
At times, the management does not clearly communicate about the change in ERP. They might send an email to the employees informing them about the change, or in some cases, send a message through respective team leaders. This lack of communication wherein the employees are not involved adds to the employee resistance too.
For the change to be effective, the management can consider the tips mentioned below for overcoming employee resistance.
As mentioned above, there are several reasons for resistance to the ERP change. The best way to tackle it is to have clarity, consistency, and transparency in your communication. The management should make the employees understand the need for the change, how will it impact them, its benefit for the business, etc.
They should also be open to resolving any doubts that any employee might have regarding the new ERP.
This way, the employee would be sure that the change is for their benefit. In case of any reservations, they are confident that the management is considering their views.
It is imperative that a key management personnel endorses the change in ERP and backs it up completely. He should be the designated contact person in the organisation for anything related to the ERP. He should be actively involved in the entire process and should be the face of this change.
A change in ERP will affect every employee and every department. Hence, each department must be involved in this change management process. A good way would be to form a cross-departmental team who would be the in-charge right from the inception of the idea till the complete adoption of the new ERP system.
It will benefit the company as well to address any pitfalls quickly moving ahead with the transition.
Apart from the cross-departmental teams, it is also critical that each department identifies a champion internally who will act as a role model for other team members.
Also, he can be assigned the responsibility to resolve minor queries of other team members. It ensures quick resolution of minor issues. It also acts as an encouragement for other team members to use the system. It will result in overall performance improvement amongst all teams within the organization.
The company should take employee feedback during the ERP change implementation phase. The employees are the end-users of the ERP system, and they should feel a part of the process.
They would be happy to take the onus of successful implementation and more open to the change. It will unlock the surprising benefits that the ERP will offer. One should give weightage to any negative feedback about the system by the employees.
They should be encouraged to share their views openly, and there should be no repercussions in case of negative feedback. It may so happen that negative feedback can save companies millions of dollars. So consider each feedback seriously and find a way to resolve it.
The transition from the old system to the new ERP should be planned well and executed in phases. The first step should be to determine specific milestones. Many companies make the mistake of overhauling the complete system in one go.
It may result in a lot of teething issues. Also, testing the entire system is tedious. A planned approach is more efficient in terms of resolving issues if any. It also makes thorough testing of each phase easy before moving to the next one.
Celebrate the success of reaching a milestone. It makes people look forward to the next part of the implementation and keeps them excited. It also keeps the buzz alive, and people look forward to participating in the exercise.
ERP is a complex system, and it can be overwhelming if there is no proper training given to the employees. It impacts their daily work, and they should receive extensive training to help them be more effective and productive.
Also, effective training methods will ensure minimum human errors. The quality of the training should be excellent for obtaining good results. Also, ensure that employees have easy access to the training material until they are comfortable with the entire system.
Learning a new ERP system will take some time. There should be clarity in terms of expectations related to the employee workload during this transition phase. Design a comprehensive schedule and share it with all the relevant stakeholders. Also, it requires a lot of patience, especially in the initial phase of transformation, since people are still getting acquainted with the new ERP.
To make it simpler for the users to adapt, on-site assistance from experts should be available. These may be from the ERP company, or internal departmental champions, or a mix of both.
The on-site availability of assistance at all times helps reduce employee anxiety and ensure that their work is not affected. This assistance may be in the form of easy training material access to support employees to help adapt to the changes.
If a business takes care of the points mentioned above, there are higher chances that the transition from the old system to the new is relatively hassle-free and smooth.
If you want to know more about ways to overcome user resistance due to change in the ERP system for your business, reach out to us at CocoonIT Services Pvt Ltd., a leading Microsoft Business Central ERP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner located in Mumbai.
We are a trusted Microsoft Gold partner offering intuitive Enterprise Technology Consulting and Automation implementation. We also provide ongoing support as per your business requirement. We help businesses in their digital transformation journey by delivering Microsoft Business Automation tools, Power Apps, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Power BI, and other technology solutions services and support.