ERP implementation is not just about technology, it is about incorporating a completely new digital process that comes in and changes everything. It is like when you get a new roommate and the roommate starts moving around all your furniture, he/she changes the place where you keep the post and as much as you want them to feel at home, the change is a little uncomfortable!
ERP implementations are much simpler than getting a roommate though. The key is always communication, attention, and focus. Before we jump into the focus of this blog, we need to carefully revise what an ERP implementation entails.
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning and involves installing software to manage your financial data, moving your data onto the new system, setting up the users, processes, etc. according to your needs and then finally training your personnel to use the new system properly and effectively. Now all this is not done alone! You are always advised to get help from a solution provider such as AlphaBOLD itself to manage all this for you! It’s not profitable for companies to invest money into training resources to use the new software when a solution provider will do just that for you and effectively save your time and funds.
WHEN DOES IT GET PROBLEMATIC?
So, when does it get problematic? You get the software, you migrate your data, you train some personnel, and get a solution provider and there you go! You have a working ERP system! It should all work perfectly right? Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. An ERP implementation requires a lot of two-way communication, in which most organizations and solution providers fail to do so.
We all may know the definition of two-way communication, but I do not believe we understate the importance of it. Two-way communication does not mean that you share your ideas and bam the problem gets solved. It means that the involved parties sit down repeatedly, ask questions and understand the ideas being discussed in the way it is intended for by the deliverer of the message. It may take up some time and effort, but an effectively communicated strategy will make ERP implementation smoother, easier and successful which is the end goal!
There is an internal and external gap in communication that causes much trouble for businesses going through ERP implementations. The stakeholders on each end may cause a lot of trouble when it comes to communication!
Communication Problems faced in ERP implementations
There are three parties involved in an ERP implementation:
- The Key Business Process Owners (Internal)
- The Business Process Workers (Internal)
- The Solution Provider (External)
Lack of effective communication on part of all three of these parties will lead to an implementation disaster for a firm. Let’s have a look at the internal communication problems that are faced by companies undergoing ERP implementations.
Lack of Time and Articulation
Let’s say you are speaking to a solution provider about the problems you are facing and what you want your ERP system to target. You try to make one quick meeting and explain it all and quickly get out of there. In this rush to save time, you did not articulate the expectations you have out of this new system to the solution provider. As a result, you have an inadequate system that does not meet your needs.
You cannot have it both ways, a new system will require back to back communication, and focused attention. You need to have defined goals and a clear outlook on what you want your solution provider to achieve. You also must ensure that your solution provider gets what you want. A good solution provider, much like AlphaBOLD is essential to this entire process!
Change can be hard on workers and especially a change that seems foreign and technical. Technical advancements sometimes come across as scary and an ERP implementation requires a lot of internal commitment. Workers may have to work more than they normally do to fill in training hours, assisting the solution provider, etc. However, most of these problems can be resolved by a simple management trick. Communicate with your workers, involve them in the process. Let them know what is happening and try to address their queries! Most employees may see a new software as a threat to their jobs and sometimes, the system does make them redundant.
In such scenarios, you need to make the workers feel comfortable, take them in confidence and allow them to be a part of the change decision. This reduces the disconnect between the higher management and the workers, making workers more comfortable.
Once you have calmed the internal storm, then you can easily tackle the communication problems that you may face externally.
Solution Provider Disconnect
Think of your solution provider as your companion! You will have disagreements with them, you will have sour moments, you will have to meet them half-way and most importantly, you will both have to be on the same page regarding the expectations you have of each other. It is indeed a two-way relationship. You both need to work hard to achieve a happy experience. That is why, much like yourself, your solution provider also needs to make efforts to understand your needs. They need to step in if they think that your expectations are not rational and explain the proper procedure to the client i.e. you. A good solution provider will not simply implement ERP, they will also train your employees to utilize the new system to its maximum capabilities. They will schedule regular meetings; they will understand your vision and they will push you to give your ERP implementation the time and effort it requires.
A good solution provider can make or break your ERP implementation. That is why you need to be super picky when it comes to your ERP implementation companion. Be sure to handpick a trusted advisor much like AlphaBOLD to ensure an easy, comfortable and successful implementation! AlphaBOLD has its own methodology called the BOLDRoute- a carefully crafted and defined approach for successful NetSuite implementations.
Read more about BOLDRoute-:
There you have it, folks, all the communication problems that you may face in your ERP implementation journey are penned down here. We hope that after reading this blog, you can articulate your needs to your solution provider and your team accurately. Remember, as cliched as it is, communication is indeed the key!
If you would like to know more about why ERP implementations fail, you can give the following blog a read:
Feel free to leave your comments and questions below!