You Purchased an ERP System and Your Employees Won’t Use it – What Happened?

Over the 17 years that Accountnet has been a leader in the accounting software industry, we‘ve seen the competitive landscape change drastically.  As systems become more complex, overly aggressive integrators and VARs tend to make outrageous promises to potential customers just to close a sale. Most of these vendors fail to recognize the most important aspect of an ERP implementation: the software itself is only half of what is needed to be successful.

change-aheadObviously starting with good software, like Microsoft Dynamics, is a prerequisite for a successful ERP implementation, but the reality is that your internal workflow processes and organizational issues are the most important things to address when deploying an ERP solution. Key among those processes and organizational issues is user adoption – that is, making sure your employees embrace the new system and the changes it brings.  Many of our competitors provide their clients with canned training modules because they don’t concern themselves with user adoption – and they think about training as just a minor deliverable of the larger contract. Unfortunately, failing at user adoption will lead to failure of any ERP solution, no matter how well the software works.

Another reason companies fail when deploying a new ERP system is that they don’t have a grasp of the bigger-picture and don’t know where to begin when it comes to designing their system to meet internal workflow and operational needs.  At Accountnet, we differentiate ourselves by ensuring that our customers have clearly defined business processes that can be mapped to the transactional nature of the software. We help with this critical piece of planning so that your staff and management truly understand the new system, what is expected of them, and how it all ties together in a way that makes the company more efficient and effective.

Once the business processes and supporting workflow transactions are determined, you still need to define employee roles and responsibilities. Just because a staff member has been trained to create a work order or process an invoice doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand their place in the overall process. Moving to an ERP solution may involve significant changes to job roles, so it is important that you have a framework for defining and instituting these changes. Management and your HR department should be involved in this process.

Many ERP vendors and project teams are relieved when they finally go live with a system – they consider the project “delivered” at that point. At Accountnet, our work doesn’t stop at launch. In reality, most user adoption issues are identified well after a system has launched, and most of the benefits don’t kick in for a few months, when all employees are comfortable with their new roles and how to use the system to manage their daily tasks.

If employees abandon the software and revert back to legacy processes, then the ERP is at risk of completely failing to deliver any value whatsoever. Having an effective change management plan will ensure that your staff is not only prepared to adopt the new system, but that they will continue to improve their individual and team performance in the weeks and months that follow. The investment in ensuring strong user adoption has returns that exceed the investment multiple times over.