This article highlights the importance of careful planning, upskilling, and change management when implementing a new cloud-based ERP system. Key points include involving all impacted business areas, managing resistance through clear communication, and striking a balance between customization and business processes. Effective change management involves engaging with various stakeholders and developing a strong vision, while understanding the organization’s unique business processes. Training and focusing on the as-is state are also crucial elements for a successful ERP implementation, ensuring a smooth transition and empowering employees to adapt to the new system.
The implementation of a new ERP system is a business project that is supported and enabled by IT. The change management process needs to involve all impacted business areas.
Change takes time, and resistance is normal, but it is crucial to take everyone on the journey from the beginning. The key to success is to get everyone on the same page and working towards the same objectives. This means being very clear about the benefits and the approach to achieving them.
It will be hugely beneficial to pick a system implementor that works in a manner to help the business achieve buy in and contributes to steering committees to ensure business decisions and issues can be resolved promptly without the business worrying that systems are being forced on them. At Fusion Practices for example, work closely with a variety of business stakeholders and plan the appropriate touch points to ensure they are comfortable and prepared for the changes being made and what to expect. This is done with a stakeholder communication plan, a quality log setting out the documentation needed and proactive reviews of possible risks with mitigation plans.
Impact on Business Processes
ERP systems such as Oracle Cloud Financials & HCM come as a vanilla package, however questions about configuration and what makes the business special will definitely arise. The system implementor will need to invest time in understanding the uniqueness of business processes that may be relevant to an organisation and options are explored on how to best manage them through the ERP that the organisation has invested into.
Clear Communication and Defined Principles
Being able to deliver benefits to stakeholders and articulate the high-level vision clearly is vital to inspiring the business. For example, we have seen CFOs in some cases clearly define a principle that standardisation of expense processes and payables processes is crucial across all countries within a global firm, and this has led to consolidation of banks with which different countries do business with for payment & receipt processing. As the project progresses the team should get into the granularity of detail in the business process and take the system on that journey and make important decisions that allow process standardisation. It is crucial to be clear about the set of principles being worked on so that the team can end up with a system that delivers exactly what is needed.
Managing resistance through communication
It is crucial for the business to own the change from the very beginning and understand the change management process. For example if an insurance company has a list of excel spreadsheets to manage P/L attribution process then there may be resistance from some of the business users whose job could be at risk resulting from such automation that could potentially be introduced by combining Oracle Cloud GL and EPM platform offerings such as PBCS, FCCS and Narrative Reporting. Change resistance is a normal human behaviour, but it is important to take everyone on the journey and ensure they understand the same objectives and benefits of the project. Clear communication is vital, and it’s essential to target communication to different audiences. Engaging with the business and understanding their challenges and problems with the change is important, and creating a vision for them helps inspire the business.
A Balance Between Customization and Business Processes in ERP Implementations
Customizing systems can be expensive, and it’s important to find and use business processes and organizational structures that enable and work with the system. Defining the RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) is important to ensure clarity in the organization, and restructuring teams may be necessary.
The Importance of Training in Change Management for ERP Implementations
Training is also crucial to ensure that people understand how to use the new system and how to behave in the new organization. Change management should live and breathe within the organization and respond to the organization.
Importance of As-Is State in Change Management
While it is important to focus on the future state, understanding the as-is state is necessary to give context to the change journey and to help people understand what they were doing and what they will be doing. However, spending too much time on the as-is state can be counterproductive, and a short, sharp process is recommended as opposed to spending months and months on documenting as-is processes.
In conclusion, the successful implementation of a cloud-based ERP system hinges on well-executed change management, clear communication, and a deep understanding of the organization’s unique business processes. By involving all impacted business areas, addressing resistance, and balancing customization with standard processes, organizations can revolutionize their operations and unlock the full potential of their ERP system. Additionally, comprehensive training and a focus on both the as-is and future states of the organization will ensure a smooth transition, ultimately empowering employees to adapt and thrive in the new environment. By mastering these key aspects, businesses can seamlessly integrate their ERP system and pave the way for improved efficiency, growth, and success.