Change Management Required, Right?

by Bob Green

About this time of year, organizations shooting for an ERP upgrade to be “live” by December 31 are finding the process is increasingly stressful on their organizations. That’s par for the course in the upgrade business.

It would be intriguing to know what percentage of these organizations are undertaking a change management processrelated to their ERP upgrade, and the impact it will undoubtedly have on their company now – and in the near future.

Why is this important? Because organizations that take on change management processes are just plain smarter about how they manage their organizations.

“What is change management?” you might ask, particularly in this context…

Short answer: first – change management is a discipline within the context of organizational development. More specific to our context, however, ERP change management is the term that encompasses the processes that you go through to prepare the organization’s personnel for the impact of the upgraded ERP solution that’s about to be deployed. These processes include educating and preparing people for the GAP between “current state” and “future state” processes and job functions that are/will be impacted by the ERP solution. They also include efforts to prepare personnel for their role in the upgrade process as well as to develop culture-wide acceptance and belief in the value of doing the upgrade. And so on…

ERP upgrades impact business processes, by default.

In the upgrade process, existing processes and people’s roles in them change – often for the better. Efficiencies become realized, or by design, they should. But…. ERP upgrades fail. A lot… Or at minimum, opportunities for greater successes are wasted where improvements and processes could be more impactful. Why???

Lack of managing the change in process/duties/function is among the top mistakes we see when dissecting someone’s failed ERP upgrade.

Middle-market ERP implementation vendors really aren’t in the change management business. This was confirmed when we approached some very reputable ERP implementers who, incidentally, were in concert about this: change management is a great idea for companies to undertake, indeed. YET – the respondents were confident that for the most part they could NOT convince business owners to “buy” these kinds of services despite the value for the long term outcome of the upgrade project. (Owners thought: yet another cost of the process, another reason to be frustrated with the overall investment and challenge facing the organization, etc.)

As a result, the long-term value to the business from the ERP upgrade is yet again minimized – in this instance, from not deploying change management processes.

Change management is a specialized area – let us know if you need our help getting it established or “rationalized” as part of your upgrade process and budget. And, we certainly can refer you to people that provide this sort of process consulting.

On that note – hopefully you know by now that we’re happy to help make sure you get as much success from a pending ERP upgrade selection and implementation experience as possible. Our prior blogs will tell you how we think and the things we cover. We don’t sell software. We’re unbiased, independent and experienced. We’ve got CFO, CPA, software and technology leadership skills that are uniquely positioned to help our clients in this area.