Mitigating ERP Implementation Failure through Change Management

By - March 3, 2016

There are many points of failure in ERP Implementations. The points of failure revolve around three main areas – people, process and technology. Consultants and executive team members focus on the areas of change around process and technology. However, often over looked are the changes to the people or in this case the end users of the system.  The end user is possibly the most critical component to an ERP Implementations success.  Identifying those who will be impacted by change, creating and managing support through Change Management will mitigate the risks of failure.

Steps to create and maintain support through Change Management:

  • Introduce the Change
    • Understand Organizational Climate for Change – Understanding the reason for change as well as past organizational changes will give light to the organizations past experiences. This will help determine whether they have an adverse or positive climate to change.
    • Understand the Culture – Understand how employees are motivated, what drives them and what will the ‘wins’ of the change be. Consider language, education and demographic differences.
    • Understand what the Change is – Determine what areas of the organization will be affected, and what the changes will be at a macro level.
    • Outline the Phases of Implementation – Determine what changes will be happening at each phase of the implementation in order to manage change accordingly.
    • Discover Champions of Change – Determine executives will inspire and promote change throughout the organization, who is currently the most on board or wanting of the change.
  • Identify those Impacted by Change
    • Identify Changes to Process – Determine roles are affected by process changes and the micro level affects.
    • Understand the Impacts – Determine to what level the changes will have an effect on the end users. Some roles will be impacted more than others, some roles will be created and added. This is a critical step in order to plan for change.
    • Determine End User Resistance – Determine individuals’ climate for change.
    • Determine Levels of Support – Determine individuals’ current level of support and what they need for success. Keep in mind the rule of thirds – one third will support the change, one third will be resistant and the remaining third will be indifferent. Keeping this rule in mind prevents from expending too much effort to gain support from someone who is extremely adverse to change while in the meantime loosing someone whose support could have been won.
    • Change Management and Communication Plans – Outline where support and resistance lies in the organization and develop methods to gain support.
  • Gain Support
    • Carry out the actions within Change Management and Communication Plans – The client needs to lead this effort while consultants should be facilitating. It is important to build ownership within the projects to empower users.
    • Examples of Actions to Gain Support:
      • Q&A sessions
      • Training
      • Testing
      • Keep users involved in process and with the changes
      • Communicate with change champions to identify those showing resistance
      • Update any non-users affected (customers, vendors)
    • Maintain Support
      • Reward Change Leaders – Clients should be acknowledging and rewarding those who lead and champion change in order to positively reinforce the behavior throughout the organization.
      • Reiterate the Benefits – Although adjusting to a new system can be difficult even if you are well trained, keeping the benefits in mind make the transition phase less combative.
      • Manage Expectations – The new system may not be perfect, nor be a 100% fit to handle all organizational processes at the day of Go – Live, and this Phase is called Optimization.
      • Empower Users – Empower users to be able to identify and handle issues on their own.
      • Go-Live Support – Consultants are able to help continue to manage the changes and provide support during and post Go – Live.

If you have any ERP customization or consulting needs, including this topic of change management as shown above, the ERP consultants at RSM can help.  We have more than 30 years experience implementing ERP solutions such as NetSuite, Dynamics AX and Dynamics GP to name a few.  Focused on middle market companies, we’ll provide you with industry insight, project management and the technical resources you need to make your project a success. Contact RSM at or by phone at 855.437.7202    .

By: Heidi Schimoler – Maryland NetSuite Solution Provider

About the author: Heidi is a NetSuite Cloud ERP consultant serving RSM clients in Maryland, DC Metro area, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. As part of the RSM NetSuite team in the southeast region, she brings expertise and leadership into the selection and implementation of NetSuite for her clients. Some of her projects include securing and monitoring government grants, migration of transactional data, change management and improving business processes.

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