Over the years whether being a consultant for ERP implementations or an actual end user in ERP implementations, I have seen a common thread for the successes or not so successful implementations.
Oh, yes, I have heard and do realize that one of the most important messages is COMMITMENT from TOP DOWN. We have all heard and to some extend it is true, people just don’t like change. In addition to that, people are afraid of the unknown. When being afraid of the unknown, for some of those learning something new, they are often afraid to break the ERP software (including myself).
However, I have found that you can’t really “break” the software - it can be brought back (or fixed). Not only that, sometimes the end users help with HUGE improvements while going through the processes. We can all learn and grow from the implementation. When we pause for a moment, sometimes the light bulb goes off: WOW . . . this can work, it can be a HUGE improvement. However, willingness is one of the keys. Along with what I call (when we have the epic moment) “WIIFM” - What’s In It For Me!
The majority of us don’t like the change. However, in order to help with the change, most can accept it if we know “What’s In It For Me”! I say this because not everyone is a part of the initial implementation team. The end users can sometimes get it pushed upon them or as some would say, directed “this is the way it is going to be”!
Doesn’t it make sense that in order to get a buy-in for anything, individuals want to know WIIFM? Individuals, as well as myself, just want to know how this is going to be "better for me". How is it going to make things easier for my day to day work environment? Even better yet, why have I not been asked about what would be the most important improvement that this ERP software can do for me?
I can remember a time when I was in a situation as a manager, with an ERP implementation in process. As they say “a little birdie” told me that we had some employees dragging their feet on the implementation. So with a little bit of research, I found out that a few of the employees were not asked what or how they currently performed their positions. They were being told this is how the new ERP software was going to be moving forward. I am sure you would understand why they were dragging their feet. So now there was a tug and a pull going on with the implementation team and the actual end users. So we paused for a moment and we worked with the end users to find out their needs (the“have to haves”) and their wishes. Once we paused and assessed, we were able to get the buy-in from these employees. Not only did we get the buy-in, but the response to get the implementation completed sooner become very important to them.
As we all know, implementing ERP while keeping the business going takes a lot of time and energy. But once the individuals realized the WIIFM, they saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It is kind of like a football game. They saw the goal post and they were going all the way!
So to recap, two of the critical, key elements to having a successful ERP implementation:
1. First and foremost, COMMITMENT from top management. This means, having a designated implementation team that is only focused on the ERP implementation. This is the team’s only responsibility.
2. Secondly, ENGAGEMENT. This means getting the team and end users fully engaged in the process of implementing the ERP software. And how do we do this? The “WIIFM approach”.