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Delivering ERP Training – 8 Best Practices: Part 1

James is the IT training manger of a large pharmaceutical company. Recently, the drug maker spent 100 million dollars to implement an ERP system. The ERP system was the best-in-class and the implementation team ensured it was customized perfectly to suit the business needs of the organization. Yet, the implementation did not yield the desired results. The reason – the organization did not focus on one of the critical success factors of ERP implementation, viz. training.

Studies by Aberdeen reveal that ineffective ERP training leads to lower rates of staff adoption and performance, resulting in delayed ROI and inefficient system implementation. Here is a table that indicates the benefits of providing good training.

Average Performance Firms Committed to Training Firms Not Committed to Training
Percentage of staff members that exceed performance metrics 38% 35%
Percentage of employees that rate themselves as “highly engaged” 58% 51%
Months until ROI 22.8 35.3
Months to first “go live” 10.9 12.1
Percentage of ERP budget spent 104% 118%

Source: The Value of ERP Training

OK. But, what does it take to deliver effective ERP training? 

Companies need to implement the following 8 best practices to deliver highly effective ERP training to their workforce.

1. Deliver training in the initial stages of the implementation 

The key to effective delivery of ERP training is starting early. Research by Aberdeen reveals that successful firms are 82% more likely to deliver training in the early stages of ERP implementation. It is advisable to start at least 5 quarters before going live. Here is an ideal ERP training timeline.

Quarters before going live Tasks to be performed
5 and 4
  1. Identifying the place of each end user group in the re-engineered workflow. For instance, you need to determine how end users in the procurement division fit into the new scheme of things.
  2. Developing a pathway for “migrating” the end users from the legacy systems to the enterprise software.
3 and 2
  1. Training super users who play a key role in helping end users utilize the enterprise software in a hassle-free manner.
  2. Educating end users on the new business processes and training them on the steps involved in using the new software.
  3. Creating an effective mechanism to manage the learning materials in various formats such as videos, micro-learning modules, etc.
  1. Developing Key Performance Indicators to assess the efficacy of training.
  2. Putting a system to provide updates and resolve queries of end users, as they start using the enterprise software.

2. Make training an integral part of the ERP strategy

The research report Managing ERP Implementation Projects to Deliver Increased ROI states that successful organizations integrate training effectively into the ERP implementation strategy. This enables companies to teach staff how the system will affect their work and maximize the benefits of implementation. It helps make the ERP solution a component of organizational culture, which is essential to make the best use of the solution.

It is advisable to start preparing for the ERP training at least 15 months before the system goes live. It is necessary to ensure that training is an integral part of the ERP system implementation strategy and not an afterthought. We will look at other best practices in my next post. So, stay tuned.

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