In your pursuit of innovation and efficiency, you’ve likely recognised the potential benefits of ERP, such as streamlined operations and improved decision-making. However, you must understand that the most challenging step in this journey is not the technology itself but the human factor.
ERP’s success hinges on change management, as it’s not just about implementing new technology but fostering a culture of change within your organisation. Your commitment to supporting this cultural shift, aligning your team, and embracing change will determine the success of your investment.
From plumbers, to renewable energy tech manufacturers, to pool cleaners, companies that send service technicians into the field are adopting at increasingly high rates true cloud ERPs that seamlessly connect with smart tools like AR and IoT. There’s a recognition that failure to adopt digitally integrated technologies will open up a gulf between businesses that hasn’t been seen since the switch from knitting needles to the spinning jenny, or electrification.
But no new tech or upgrade is a magic bullet, and with technology comes challenges around adoption. Businesses must practise change management to drive a positive culture of change and ensure widespread use of technology and success.
Change isn’t just about implementing a new ERP or a single moment as you move from before to after; if you focus on this, you’ll leave your people behind and fail to truly make a change. Change is a continuous process and a cultural mindset, it really never ends.
The goal of the change management process is to emerge from it a stronger, smarter, and more streamlined company – and technology is just one part of that. Other factors include your technicians, managers, workflows, and business plans, all of which will need to evolve during technology introduction without compromising what makes them work in the first place.
It is no small feat, which explains why many ERP software implementations go sideways. Avoiding this too-common outcome takes one thing above all: change management. Don’t leave culture change to chance – create and manage it.
Common ERP adoption pitfalls
Underestimating the work to be done.
People underestimate the work involved in a change. For instance, when deploying a new ERP, the job isn’t just switching on the new tech. There’s a significant task in preparing and migrating the data for a successful transition to ensure the right data is migrated in a consistent and predictable format.
Focusing on the what.
Not many people get excited about the facts and details of a new ERP. Consistent data, duplicated records, network integrations, algorithms, drill-down reporting, API compatibility – huh? Why does any of this matter? Unless employees feel excited to use the software and are confident it will improve things, they will never use those tools to the fullest, leading to a smaller (sometimes much smaller) impact than expected.
Neglecting to consciously build a pro-change culture in your team.
People resist change, especially in a work context where they are comfortable doing things a certain way and are convinced their approach needs no improvement. Stepping out of the known into a new way of doing things, which will inevitably bring some missteps and teething issues, can be scary.
The master key to success
Change management is the key to success. Change management is about planning and preparing for impending change, then supporting individuals and units once it arrives. Your goal is to ensure that once the software is up and running, everyone wants to and knows how to use it to the fullest in the service of delivering customer satisfaction and business goals. This requires full user adoption and support.
Understand where you are now. Take some time to examine and understand the current culture in your organisation – the ‘before state’ – and consider what needs to change if you’re to have positive support for change.
Give your whole team the chance to contribute. What do they want to see from the change? What do they see that needs improving? Where are their bottlenecks and customers’ frustrations? Chances are, your team is very aware of what’s not working and have great ideas for fixing things. Asking for their input, listening to it, and acting on it will give them a sense of ownership and commitment to the change.
Focus on the why. Why is this change important? Why are you spending all this money, time and effort on this thing? Make the ‘why’ really clear. What wins will this deliver for your people, business, and, most importantly, customers? Get people excited about the change.
Business alignment for clarity. Every department and team member will experience the change differently in terms of what they need to contribute, what they’ll gain, and how they’ll personally respond to the change. Some may not experience the benefits directly. Make sure the business as a whole is aligned on the goals so that everyone is pulling in the same direction, despite their individual experiences.
True top-level support. Your business leaders must be truly committed to the change project, including supporting the culture change and guiding and supporting staff through the difficult work required.
Find your change champion. Look for a leader outside the C-suite who understands what is happening on the ground, and use them as a consistent touch point between business leaders, the rest of your team and your expert ERP implementation partner. Klugo has a proven track record of working closely with change champions to understand what a business needs from a new ERP and ensure this is delivered.
Training. There are lots of generic training packages out there that may prove helpful. It is even better if training is tailored for your business by people who understand your tech, industry, and company.
Communicate. Keep your team informed about what’s happening and why all along the road. Show them the functionality you’re building and your wins and fails as you get there. That’s right, don’t leave out your failures! This shows your commitment to exploring different approaches to get the right result and understanding what is required for success. And always come back to the why.
Change is a continuous process and cultural mindset, not a moment or a new product. Ultimately, the effectiveness of your change journey will depend on your team culture, your staff and their approach to the project. Change can be exciting and rewarding, but real change is never easy. It requires effort, commitment, alignment, and readiness for change across everyone in your business.
Launching into a significant change process without first considering how your culture handles change will be more time-consuming and painful and will likely result in a shallower adoption of the new tech. People may use the new ERP without truly transforming how they work to deliver the best results for your customers.
Klugo can support your business in understanding the full capacity of NetSuite ERP for your business, ensuring your change management process is clear and tailored. When you’re building on a strong base of cultural support for change, not only will the implementation be easier, but you’re likely to see a stronger return on investment more quickly.
NetSuite + Next Service
Klugo’s vision is to unlock the full operating potential of our customers to maximise the value of their business. We do this by helping them achieve operating excellence using NetSuite + Next Service, the world-leading cloud ERP and FSM business platform for small-to-medium-sized businesses.
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