It is tempting to think that everyone will just “get” the new ERP system and everything is fine. The reality is that next to project management, change management is one of the biggest project killers out there. The success of the project will depend heavily on how the people buy into the project. Here are three reasons why this becomes a problem. First, the people making the decisions are often not the ones who have to implement and use the system. This can lead to a mismatch of the new system to the actual requirements but also prevents the key stakeholders, the users, from taking ownership of the process. Secondly, there are often serious personality differences between the decision-makers and the end users, who tend to be very detail-oriented while the people picking the new system are focused on making changes to gain improvements. That difference leads to communication and other problems. And the final reason is that people under-estimate the time it takes to learn the new system and how long it will take those detail-oriented people to feel comfortable. Until they understand exactly how they are going to do their job and get their information, they are going to be uncomfortable. And that usually takes a minimum of three months. I cannot stress enough the importance of solid end user training and user acceptance testing. In conclusion, make sure that your ERP selection and planning processes include the very key element of Change Management and your end users.
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