Effective ERP is about Change Management
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is now a well, established technology albeit a technology with a history of poor outcomes for organisations in terms of achieving expected business benefits.
Many organisations struggle to effectively manage all of the issues in the business that enables the technology to integrate and provide the information for the smooth planning and control over operations and as a result too many compromises are made reducing the effectiveness of the technology.
Change management is a critical part of any ERP project. Simply duplicating what the company today using a computer, whilst generating some efficiency in time and data accuracy, does not provide the platform for getting the maximum efficiency and benefit from the technology. The change management that is required revolves around reengineering not only the business processes but the reengineering of the management decision making process using the ERP technology to provide information.
The problem in change management is the perceived challenge to the entrenched managements control over different parts of the business. Managers will resist the changes if they believe their own authority is being diminished as part of the implementation. Operational individuals will also resist the changes if they feel they are being impacted in a way that affects their jobs.
Top executives tend to put changes that are resisted by their own management team as too difficult and put off making tough decisions without realising the lack of decision will impact the overall ERP effectiveness.
Surveys on ERP are all showing that a significant barrier to successful ERP implementation is in the area of change management. The surprising thing is this is not new! We have known for many years that change management is a major barrier to effective ERP implementation. There are many publications on the need for effective change management in effective ERP acquisition and implementation. Despite the information available we do not seem to learn the lessons or the actual “what does change management mean” hasn’t been defined in a way that top management can understand and practically engage in.
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