Five Easy Mistakes to Avoid When Educating Your ERP Users
Not educating users adequately is always a risk when implementing an
ERP system and in the long term it can lead to productivity loss, or the
feeling that you’re just not getting the most out of your system. Here
are five mistakes to avoid when planning your ERP education.
End user adoption is critical to a successful software implementation
and its on-going use. Without proficient users the software will be
perceived as unusable, too complex and ultimately the ‘wrong’ solution
as it fails to deliver a demonstrable return on investment.
Mistake #1 – Failing to understand that it’s education, not training
is a distinct difference between training and educating. Training is
the explaining and demonstrating of “how” to perform a task. Educating
is explaining the reasons “why” the task is performed and its role in
the organization’s business processes. Training programs often focus on
how to use the software.
For example, a user who enters sales orders needs to understand how
entering an order incorrectly can negatively affect purchasing,
manufacturing and accounts receivable—not to mention
Mistake #2 – Not mixing formal and informal learning
learning is learning in a structured environment (classroom), while
informal learning is learning that occurs in a non-structured manner (as
an outcome of doing one’s job). While providing formal learning is
easy, informal learning could be things like context-sensitive help, or
embedded courses within the software.
Mistake #3 – Using only one educational medium
should also take into account the understanding that people learn
differently. Utilizing a mix of learning mediums, as in reading, seeing,
and doing, ultimately increases knowledge retention. This could take
the shape of a variety of methods like web-based tutorials, user guides,
or frequently asked questions resources for on-the-job queries.
Mistake #4 – Not planning for education long term
on enterprise software is an on-going cycle. The need for education
does not end with implementation and “go-live.” New employees,
organizational changes (process and people) and system upgrades all
drive an on-going need to stay on top of education. The most effective
education programs establish initial user acceptance and competence at
implementation, and maintain and develop user proficiency over the
long-term. The education lifecycle is a continuous process of assessing,
planning, training and supporting.
Mistake #5 – Regarding education as an expense
enterprise software evolves organizations should no longer regard
education solely as an expense, but as an investment. Smart businesses
recognize that to realize the value envisioned from an investment in
enterprise software their users have to be able to use the software
proficiently and sustain that ability over time.
Education must be more than a ‘check the box’ effort. Education needs
to be effective and to be effective it needs to inform and align users
on the why, what and how the software is going to impact them, processes
and operations; utilize a blended learning approach; support formal and
informal learning; and be continuous, ever changing to meet the
on-going user and organization needs.
Posted by Chad Meyer, Director, Product Marketing, Epicor