5 Tips to Get Your ERP Implementation Core Team Engaged Right from the Start
At WM Synergy, we understand the complexities and intricacies of ERP systems, being a leading ERP VAR ourselves. We’re always on the lookout for valuable insights and expert advice to share with you, ensuring you have the resources to make the most of your ERP initiatives. Today, we’re excited to share a guest blog post from our trusted partner, Andrea Jones Consulting. This article sheds light on the pivotal role of an ERP Implementation Core Team and provides crucial tips for successful ERP implementation. We are confident that this information will be of great value for businesses aiming to optimize their operations and ensure smooth ERP transitions.
With any large ERP implementation, a company’s Core Team plays a significant role, including helping to build out their ERP system effectively. They also often act as Change Champions that are informing, supporting, and educating their colleagues throughout the implementation, at Go Live and during Hypercare.
At AJC, our change consultants and project managers partner with system vendors and their clients to ensure ERP Implementation Core Team members are fully informed, prepared to share messaging, engaged, and recognized throughout the transition process. AJC also advises leadership and the Core Team when they encounter resistance or challenging questions from employees and partners across and external to the organization.
We have collected several tips during our many ERP implementations that we hope come in handy for your next system implementation:
1. The #1 success factor for any change initiative is active and visible sponsors* – ask Leadership to regularly attend Core Team meetings, providing the vision, direction and the higher-level “why” for the new system. Encourage them to address resistance, offer recognition, communicate regularly and actively participate.
2. Set proper role and work expectations upfront – adding more work to a Core Team member’s plate is not always welcomed. Hold conversations early on with direct line managers to ensure Core Team members do not have conflicting assignments and have the time and space required to learn a new system, offer feedback, and provide necessary training and support to end users. Develop an Implementation Timeline so the Team can see the life of the project from start to finish.
3. Begin team building at the start – integrate the use of team building activities in your meetings on Day 1 and if possible, hold an initial Kickoff Meeting in person. On webinars, encourage all cameras to be on. You want Core Team members to learn about each other and build strong relationships with each other – to feel safe to open up and share ideas and feedback and increase collaboration.
4. Shift Core Team conversations from volume of work to development opportunities – Participating in large system implementations allows Core Team members to learn new skill sets that they could utilize later in their careers such as change management, requirement gathering, configuration, training, etc.
5. Acknowledge that changing to a new system is hard, even while maintaining that it is possible – normalizing that transitioning to a new ERP system is a big challenge for everyone – not just us! – allows teams to breathe easier knowing that when things get tough, it is not only them. Verbalizing that it is hard makes people feel like they can ask for help or share problems as they arise, rather than procrastinate work when it gets challenging or burn out trying to “do it all” themselves when collaborating and working together to solve problems can get through challenges more effectively than doing it on one’s own.
Overall, implementing an ERP is a big project, a challenging one, that is often only done once in a 10-15 year period. Acknowledge this is a big deal, and open those lines of communication early so everyone will be able to speak candidly about the work, the challenges, and overcome them together. Ironically, completing a project like an ERP Implementation may bring the people in your organization closer together than many other experiences as they will have a shared challenge that they accomplished together.
*Source: Prosci Benchmark Report, “Best Practices in Change Management.” – 2018
Article co-authored by Andrea Jones, Principal and Robin Gervasoni, Senior Change Management Consultant.
Considering an ERP implementation? Contact WM Synergy for expert advice and guidance.