Another great article on user adoption from Carl Dubler at SAP
As someone working in marketing the latest ERP technology, I’d like to say that every journey to next-generation ERP is an unqualified success. But, alas, that’s not always the case. However, if ever there is an issue, I’ve found that user adoption – or rather the lack of it – is nearly always at the root of the problem.
If you’re deploying an intelligent ERP solution, you’re going to get capabilities that are radically different from what you had before. We’re not just talking about a back-end technical upgrade, but truly innovative features that can transform day-to-day tasks.
If people are suddenly faced with functionality and a user interface that is unfamiliar, it’s going to impact badly on user buy-in – both for your current project and any future projects you embark on. But on the flip side, bringing users on board methodically can make all the difference in a smooth transition, and even generate excitement that can help boost the project’s momentum.
For this reason, it’s essential to ensure that users are adequately prepared and know what to expect from day one. In this blog, we explore three key areas to consider when planning your user adoption strategy.
A traditional deployment schedule would place “user acceptance testing” towards the end of the implementation period. However, in my experience, intelligent ERP projects require that we shift away from this model and start working to gain user acceptance from the start. With prototyping capabilities, you can now involve users and get feedback right from the project kick-off. This way, you can configure the solution to better meet their needs.
A good place to start is to find out exactly which workflows will change when the new ERP solution is up and running. It can be very helpful to use a business scenario recommendations tool that will identify which transactions in which business functions will change as a result of the deployment. Armed with this specific information, you can focus trials on key user groups and lines of business.
You can run trials quickly and cost-efficiently in the cloud, whether you ultimately intend to deploy your solution in the cloud or on-premise. Alternatively, you can now also use preconfigured appliances to test next-generation ERP solutions with your own data, on your own network.
Successful user adoption requires a structured approach and well-defined responsibilities. To achieve this, you need people to take ownership of certain key roles:
An effective implementation partner will be fully aware of the importance of user adoption and may be able to take on certain aspects of these roles. However, the overall ownership of these responsibilities must remain with individuals within your own organization, who appreciate your corporate culture and any sensitivities associated with the project.
Large and comprehensive training programs have a place, but that’s not always enough. It’s also important to provide users with guidance as they need it, in the context of day-to-day tasks, even well after you have gone live.
Intelligent ERP solutions such as SAP S/4HANA offer this “microlearning” through a Web assistant tool that provides help with the application, when or where it is needed most. The Web assistant guides users through tasks that can help increase productivity, and as well as standard guidance. You can create your own custom content to meet your precise business requirements.
Neil ran his first SAP transformation programme in his early twenties. He spent the next 18 years working both client side and for various consultancies running numerous SAP programmes. After successfully completing over 15 full lifecycles he took a senior leadership/board position and his work moved onto creating the same success for others.