As a business leader, you’ve implemented a major IT solution to increase your efficiency and overall profitability. Integrating enterprise software with your existing business is no small task: some users encounter systems downtime, unpredicted additional costs or other challenges. One of the biggest issues faced, however, is that of ERP or CRM user adoption. Responsible for the failure of more than its fair share of implementations, a lack of employee buy-in could negate all of the savings anticipated.
The implementation of a new IT solution is only half the battle; your employees need to apply the new tools at their disposal to reap maximal benefits. The question then becomes ‘How does user adoption in your organization affect your success?’
Ongoing employee engagement is imperative in increasing your organizational productivity. Including employees from the onset of the project is one way to pique their curiosity. Ensure that your team knows a new project is being undertaken, and keep them informed of developments throughout the process.
A crucial step in any software implementation is training, and most IT solution providers encourage early staff education to boost user adoption. If you keep employees engaged from the onset of the project they will be more inclined to use the solution when it goes live. You can choose to bring in an expert to do group sessions with end users; often-times trainers are recommended or supplied by your software provider. A more appealing option may be to use a train-the-trainer program. In this case, a select number of employees will be fully trained in your new solution, and they will be in charge of training the remaining staff. This method is particularly effective as employees will be working with an “expert” that they already know and trust.
Having ongoing software solutions support available whenever questions or challenges arise will help your employees feel comfortable applying new tools in their roles. A support packaging from your service provider can provide employees with peace of mind in knowing that someone will be there to walk them through any stumbling blocks.
One of the biggest barriers employee buy-in is communication. While it’s important that channels of communication are open between management and staff during project planning and implementation, it’s also critical that employees are comfortable providing feedback to managers. If they encounter problems, if a certain tool isn’t working properly for their role, if they don’t see the value of a certain application; these are all issues that management needs to be aware of. Your employees are the end-users of your new software system. They are the ones who apply the solution every day to make your business more efficient, so it’s in your best interest to make sure that their needs are met. Get ongoing feedback from employees, and take the time to listen to and address each of the problems they bring up to ensure you get the best value from your CRM or other IT solution.
Anticipation and excitement can fade over the course of a long implementation, so it’s important to keep morale high and celebrate the new launch. Make sure your employees know how essential they are to the project, and how important the solution execution is to your business’ success.
About the Author: Lee House is Vice President at I.B.I.S. Inc and a regular contributor to Software ThinkTank – an online resource that helps businesses better understand the latest technology innovations and business solutions. Lee has an extensive background in Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management and has worked in Sales, Operations and Management functions throughout his lustrous career.