I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
– Muhammad Ali
Are you implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system? How can you get the best value for the money and efforts spent on the implementation? What does it take to ensure that the system is a big hit? Well, you need to focus on a vital aspect – training your end users.
Various studies indicate that most ERP implementations fail to deliver the desired results because of ineffective end user training. You may have the best ERP system and customize it to meet the needs of your business. But, unless your people know how to use the system effectively, you will not be able to reap the benefits of the implementation.
ok. But, how can end users of an ERP system be trained effectively?
You need to follow the best practices of delivering ERP end user training. The analyst firm Gartner has come up with a list of best practices, and today, we will look at 3 of these and understand how they help impart training of high quality to end users.
Best Practice 1: Ensure that the training program is based on adult learning principles
Corporate training programs can be effective only when they are based on adult learning principles, and programs designed for end users of ERP systems are no exception. Let us now see what these principles are and how they can be applied to end user training.
|Adult Learning Principle||How it can be applied to ERP end user training|
|Adults learn better when they know how the training program would benefit them.||Tell your staff how the ERP system makes their work easy. For instance, you can tell your accountant that he need not record each purchase of raw material. The system automatically updates the ledger once a record of the receipt of the material is made at the warehouse.|
|External rewards such as increase in wages, promotions, etc. andintrinsic factors such as the need for self-esteem and power, increase in responsibilities, and so on, go a long way in motivating learners.||Provide monetary rewards to staff members who have learnt the steps of using the system quickly and commit the least number of mistakes while recording transactions. It is also a good idea to display the names of top achievers at places frequented by your people such as elevator bays and the cafeteria.|
|Adult learners like the learning to solve their problems.||See that the training helps resolve the issues faced by your people. Staying on with the example of the accountant, the training needs to help him complete the accounts payable cycle in a seamless manner.|
|They value learning content which is relevant to their needs.||Make sure the content helps them perform their job tasks effectively. For instance, when you train a Purchase Order (PO) clerk, see that the content helps him enter the PO and process it in a hassle-free manner.|
|Adults do not prefer to be tied. In other words, they wish to learn at the place, time, and pace of their choice.||Make the best use of mobile learning. You can deliver how-to videos containing the steps of using the ERP system. Mobile devices are also very useful to share tips and tricks of using the system.|
Best Practice 2: See that the training provides thorough knowledge of business processes and enduser roles
ERP implementation is synonymous with Business Process Re-engineering (BPR). This entails changes in the roles and responsibilities of employees and business process flows. It is important to provide good training on the re-engineered processes and where the end user fits into the new scheme of things.
For example, when you train an invoice clerk on the new ERP system, you need to teach him more than mere recording of the invoice in the system. You need to explain the process behind the creation of the invoice — the procedure that takes place after the generation of the invoice, how payment is processed against the invoice, and so on.
Best Practice 3: Allow end users to spend adequate time on training
In her article, 13 Common ERP Mistakes and How to Avoid Making Them, Jennifer Lonoff Schiff points out that most companies do not estimate the time and resources needed to implement the ERP software effectively. This results in “squeezing” various aspects of the implementation, including the training provided to end users. Learners often do not have enough time to practice, and this leads to poor training. Things only get complicated when the time allocated for training is “utilized for other purposes”.
To avoid this problem, you need to formulate and stick to a proper end user training plan which allocates enough time to the end users to get trained on the ERP system. It is advisable to plan early in the implementation cycle and set realistic goals.
A good ERP end user training program is based on adult learning principles. It provides thorough knowledge of business workflows and clarity on the new roles and responsibilities of learners. Effective training on the ERP system can be provided only when the learners are allowed adequate time to grasp the underlying concepts and practice the steps involved in using the system. Hope you liked the post. Do share your views.