If you are the Project Manager on a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation within your company, your success not only depends upon how well you do, but also on how the rest of your colleagues embrace the change.
Having spent time on both sides of the table, I understand the benefits and also the reluctance. Here are a few common objections you might face with suggestions on how to mitigate the pushback:
“It doesn’t apply to me”:
The most common reason people fail to accept change is that they fail to realize its impact on them. Whether positive or negative the first thing they must know before you introduce your solution is how it will impact their routine. In most cases, if you select the right solution, things change for the better.
“Who said we needed an ERP? The old systems work just fine”:
Chances are, no one will come to you and say you need a new ERP solution, but at a certain point you may realize having data sit in multiple buckets is not only unreliable but also redundant. People asking this question might only have exposure to one aspect of the business; you need to show them the bigger picture.
“More software to make my life miserable? I have enough on my plate!”:
Software and systems were never designed to make life difficult; it’s the improper use of the software that complicates things. A common mistake companies make is not involving key individuals during the planning phase of the implementation. People will always say that they don’t have time, but a couple of hours of proper planning will save years of headache.
“I don’t need to learn new software, my work is fine”:
People think they will never err if they continue doing what they do the same way they have always done it. This is incorrect– as the rest of the world moves forward you are bound to find yourself catching up at some point; so why not start today. It is better to begin now than having to start when the gulf’s just too wide to cross.
“Management just wants to keep tabs on what we do, even though I have never had a problem”:
Yes and no — reporting options in your ERP give management insight into various areas of the business simultaneously. Having that depth of visibility in most cases is not to find problems with your staff’s work but instead, to help ensure problems don’t occur. Proactive planning is always better than reactive.
“This new software looks too hard to learn”:
If you are planning a demo of the new ERP software for your staff, make sure it’s not too intimidating or overly complex. You may be the computer whiz in your company but there will always be others who don’t speak your lingo. Try finding commonalities between the current system and the new one; most new ERP interfaces are very similar to widely used software like MS Office suite.
“How am I supposed to learn this?”:
Set out the plans for training and post-implementation support right at the beginning of the implementation. Remember the system needs people to make it work; if the staff doesn’t know how to properly and efficiently use the software, it won’t work as it was intended.
Having the right people on your implementation team will help move things along smoothly. Ensure that the team members have expertise across all aspects of your business. Rely on their support and your implementation will be a success.