Even the best software is useless if your end-users aren’t using it effectively.  And yet, lack of or inadequate end-user training is one of the most common reasons for ERP software implementation failure.  It is an integral part of any implementation project that is too often rushed or entirely overlooked.  Fortunately, training challenges are well documented and best practices are well established.  By following these best practices for ERP training the process can be made less painful and your new ERP system will be in good hands after implementation.

With more than 20 years of providing ERP training services, we’ve put together this list of ERP training best practices, tips, and recommendations.

9 Tips for ERP Training

1. Create an Ongoing Training Plan

The Training Plan should focus on helping users be more productive using the system and include the who, what, when, and why questions needed for pre and post-implementation training.  The Training Plans should be considered an ongoing, integrated subset of the overall ERP strategy.

Start with a detailed analysis of training needs and available resources.  From there, the training plan should include:

  • Assigned ownership of the training program
  • Details of a dedicated program to maintain a pool of qualified users
  • Budget estimates for internal and external training resources
  • Who will be trained and what they need to know
  • How job duties will be covered while employees are attending training sessions
  • Education timeline and schedule
  • Documentation required and who will prepare it

2. Follow Adult Learning Methodology

Adults learn very differently than children and young adults.  As we age, we acquire new motivations to learn but this can often pose a challenge for traditional teaching methods.  Malcolm Knowles, a pioneer in adult education, states that there are 6 main characteristics of adult learners.

  • Adult learning is self-directed/autonomous
  • Adult learning utilizes knowledge and life experiences
  • Adult learning is goal-oriented
  • Adult learning is relevancy-oriented
  • Adult learning highlights practicality
  • Adult learning encourages collaboration

3. Deliver Role-Based Training

Your new ERP system will likely be used by many different employees, in many different departments, for many different purposes.  Role-based and process-based training allows you to train end-users on the modules most relevant to their role and day-to-day activities.  This type of training method will help to keep students engaged throughout the training process and allow you to deliver required training efficiently.

4. Identify and Enforce Mandatory Training as a Gate for Granting System Access

Ensure that training is a priority for everyone involved in the ERP project.  Training sessions should be mandatory for all users and encouraged for non-users as well.  In order to prevent costly mistakes and delays, employees who haven’t been properly trained should not have access to the live system.

5. Include Analytics on Training Performance

Remember, training shouldn’t be treated as a one-time investment, but instead as an ongoing effort.  This means that analytics beyond just usage and completion will be able to influence future training.  Statistics like how long training takes, employee feedback on relevance and engagement levels, improvements in performance and/or reduction in issues because of training can all be used to quickly and easily review ROI for employee training and identify knowledge gaps.

6. Couple Training With a Strong Engagement & Change Management Programs

Its human nature to be uncomfortable with change and ERP training is not usually a favorite activity for employees. One way to keep employees engaged and receptive to change is to offer incentives and advancement as a reward for taking training seriously throughout the project.  Develop a strategy to ensure that employees are informed about company changes, how those changes affect their job specifically, and organizational expectations.  Keep the company’s mission in mind, and make it clear to employees how these changes will help the company to meet their goals in order to create a common vision for change.

7. Gain Commitment From Management and the Project Team

In order for ERP training to be successful, the training initiatives must have the complete support and commitment of upper management and the implementation team.  The new system will be the foundation for the organization’s future growth and must be a top priority for executives who will set the example for the rest of the organization, who will be much more likely to comply with new policies and procedures.

8. Train to your Business Processes

Another major reason that ERP implementation projects often fail is a lack of understanding around how the new system will impact business processes.  Your ERP strategy should clearly identify any business process re-engineering, and users should be trained on how the ERP system will interface with an organization’s workflows and business processes after go-live.  Include tailored training materials for your industry-specific functions and processes.

9. Have Support Resources Ready

Educating employees on how to use the new system goes beyond training and includes being ready with support materials and resources for when things go wrong both pre and post-implementation.  Ensuring users that they are properly supported with both internal and external resources will give them confidence during training and in utilizing the system after go-live.

Additional Training Considerations & Recommendations

  • Match the Training Method to the Worker and the Application
  • Design the Training Curriculum to Extend Beyond Technology Requirements
  • Keep Training Sessions Relatively Short
  • Train While Interest is High
  • Incorporate Gamification Strategies to Increase Engagement
  • Create an Enterprise Training Server or Intranet
  • Keep Documentation Up-to-Date

Training is a key component of achieving long-term ERP value.  Tangible business ROI for ERP depends on a robust, ongoing training program tailored to different types of users.  The purpose of an ERP system is to make operations more efficient. But if people don’t understand its value, or how to use it, the investment is wasted.  There’s no magic bullet for training employees on an ERP system, but these keys should help significantly and help your organization take full advantage of the technology available.

At ACC, we offer both on-site and online classes for Sage 100, Microsoft Management Reporter, Crystal Reports, and Microsoft FRx.  And as always, you can contact one of our training specialists today to discuss our flexible training options and/or your ERP training strategy.

This post is an excerpt from our ERP Buyer’s Guide which is available now for download.

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