As the user acceptance testing moved forward and members got more appreciative, distressed signals could be felt from one corner. It was slowly getting evident that this section saw ERP as a tool that could change their lives forever, taking away what they valued the most: power and importance.
The finance department at my client place had utmost importance. After all, the objective of any company is to make money, and those that deal with them are the all powerful. But their power was substantiated with their ability to access information that others didn’t, thanks to the legacy systems that did not have much networking potential. The fact that the system allowed the sales team to issue the materials out to the customer without the usual physical credit check obviating the presence of the finance team, made it evident that the hold was slipping away to the mammoth known as SAP.
The above is just one of the aspects of cultural change that happens once an ERP system is in place. Professionals are freed from the mundane aspects of work, it frees up a lot of time to do more critical (and strategic) tasks. But when they are used to working in a closed environment, distress is imminent.
So what to do in such a situation? Companies must have a change management strategy in place to address such human issues. It is evident that the ERP is taken as a tool for change agent, but in the absence of a sympathetic view of things, it might just get out of hand, with the potential to blow up the implementation altogether. The change agent must constantly sound the stakeholders of the possible consequences, highlighting the benefits they would gain after such an exercise.
It is often seen that post implementation, the core team members join ERP consulting firms since they do not find themselves useful in their existing role. It is important that they get better roles in the organization after the implementation is complete. Management needs to be forward looking to make sure there are sufficient requirements in their scope which can be addressed by expansion (after all, once of the objectives of an ERP implementation is control on a larger scale).
Monetary incentives have their importance to par the existing market rates. That’s a premium the company needs to pay for the additional skills their employees would have. Overall, a paradigm shift in processes is needed to align with the strategic objectives.
Looking a the lighter (stinkier) side, BOM explosion took a new meaning in the production planning arena… of the humanitarian aspects of explosion post a heavy meal.
I happened to view another aspect of the change: the senior sales core team member who keeps a laptop but finds it difficult to copy and paste; is interested to know if SAP can be accessed from the retail shops!!
So much for the snob value!!