Organizations implement ERP software to streamline their operational processes and improve productivity. But if the end-users of the software cannot work on it efficiently, the organization can’t enjoy the desired benefits.
Generally when there is a drastic change in an organization, its employees resist adopting the change. In such scenarios, you must remember that software alone can’t provide benefits to the organization, its people can. So change management becomes quite essential to help employees adopt the change.
You may ask why change management is so important; to answer, I need to remind you of what happened in the jungle. The recent American fantasy adventure film by Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book portrays the life and struggle of the man-cub, Mowgli in the jungle. But I see a wonderful change management lesson hidden deep inside the tale. Let us see what that is.
What is the change in the jungle?
The presence of Mowgli, a human among them is a big change for the animals in the jungle. These animals only know that humans enter the jungle to hunt them and cannot be friends. So accepting the idea of him living in the jungle with them is difficult.
Similarly, for employees using legacy software, the implementation of ERP (a complex software application) is a big change. Employees only know that the software application they will be dealing with would be very complex, unlike the previous one. So, they might be apprehensive of using it or feel scared of losing their jobs.
Who benefits from the change? Why? How?
Many in the jungle accepted Mowgli with open arms; but his bonding with Baloo, the bear, gives us a very good example of benefiting from change. How?
Baloo always found it tough to gather enough honey; the monkeys who came to help sprinted away within no time because of the bees. But with Mowgli’s help, he could fulfill the “Bare Necessities” quite easily. Seeing Mowgli collect honey innovatively, he too comes up with innovative ideas to retrieve the honey; together they collect honey sufficient to last the whole winter.
Similarly, employees must be told that the change – ERP implementation – is for their good; the software would help them work efficiently than before. When employees understand how the ERP implementation is going to help them in their job, they will accept the change willingly. This helps them get completely involved in the transit and they are more likely to take the end-user training seriously.
Who did not benefit from the change? Why?
The only one who did not accept the presence of Mowgli in the jungle was Sher Khan, the tiger who thinks “Man is forbidden” in the jungle. He saw Mowgli as just another man trespassing into the jungle, so could not enjoy the benefits of his presence.
Similarly, employees view ERP implementation as just another simple IT project. If they are not made aware of its importance, they may not see the benefits they would get from the software. This makes them underestimate the importance of end-user training and they may end up being less efficient after going live.
The consequences may be undesirable, both for the organization and employees. Sher Khan’s resistance to the change in jungle made him try very hard to eliminate the change once and for all. The consequences were so disastrous that jungle was set afire and he lost his life. Fortunately, the consequences of not adapting to the ERP implementation may not be so fatal, but they can’t be any less serious.
As a training manager, you need to decide if you want Baloos or Sher Khan’s in your organization. Tell us who you would prefer!