5 Change Management Strategies for an ERP Project

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Implementing or upgrading an ERP system is a good opportunity for a manufacturer to create lasting business change within an organization. That’s why ERP change management strategies are so important.

As with any complex project, resistance to change is the norm, not the exception. Expect it, prepare for it and manage it to minimize the impact that it can have. Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is not an option.

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A Change Management Strategy for Your ERP Project

Gain insight into tactics that thoroughly prepare your organization for an ERP transition.


5 ERP Change Management Strategies for Your ERP Project

As an independent ERP consulting firm, change management is a topic that comes up often as project teams look to Ultra to understand the best way to work through and ERP project to improve key processes.   We often guide our clients to work through these key change management strategies for an ERP project.

1 – Mobilize and Align Leaders & Articulate the Case for Change

As a first strategy, it is key to clearly articulate the case for change. We encourage teams to communicate project scope, rollout strategy and implementation schedule as the ERP project gets underway.  Key aspects of this strategy include:

  • Leadership understands implementation strategy and clearly define leadership actions to support the change
  • Communicate project scope, rollout strategy and implementation schedule
  • Empower the implementation team and employees for broad based action by sanctioning them with the authority to make decisions

2 – Identify and Manage “People” Opportunity and Risk

It is also critical for the ERP project team to look at both the opportunity and risk of a project. Here’s where a change management strategy and team is put in place to address the cultural changes the implementation will create. Key areas to address include the following:

  • Conduct organization and people readiness assessments to identify both opportunity and risk as early as possible and define actions to realize these opportunities and mitigate risks
  • Monitor the “people” risk mitigation progress by conducting mid-course and post implementation checks
  • Identify key stakeholders within the business and across the enterprise and implement best practices for adoption

3  – Stakeholder Communications

An important strategy when it comes to organizational change management is to define and deploy a detailed communication plan – which answers what will be communicated, why, to whom (audience), by whom, when, and how. All communications should include:

  • Definition of project scope, objectives, milestones, deliverables, critical success factors and approaches
  • Information between and among all project stakeholders
  • Plan for the transition process through implementation to post go-live
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4 – Create the Future Organization

As business improvement consultants, we hear all about the desire for a transformed organization once an ERP implementation is complete.

Developing and designing the desired future organization is also key to change management and ERP. This phase includes assessing job redesign and competency requirements for the new environment.

These efforts also include:

  • Analyze the current condition of the business, locations, and departments in terms of processes, organization and people systems
  • Develop a transformation plan that defines actions, responsibilities and timeframe to get to target condition
  • Analyze implications for HR such as performance management, compensation and classification, recruiting, hiring and on-boarding, etc.

5 – Enable the Workforce

A critical part of change management strategies for an ERP project involves enabling the workforce to thrive in the transformed organization. This phase is more than simply training on a new technology. This usually involves overall job, skill and organization design changes. We suggest a focus on the following initiatives:

  • Assess current workforce in terms of skills, abilities, experiences and capabilities; assess staffing impacts
  • Develop/implement training strategies and plans to close learning gaps
  • Well before go-live, help end-users, leaders, implementation team members, process owners, customer, suppliers understand how their processes and work will be impacted

For expert help on your company’s ERP change management journey, contact Ultra today to get started.

Change management refers to the structured approach of preparing, equipping, and supporting individuals and teams to effectively adopt changes within an organization. In ERP projects, change management is vital because it helps employees navigate the shift from their familiar processes to new ways of working. It minimizes resistance, boosts user acceptance, and ultimately ensures a smoother ERP implementation.

Assessing your organization’s readiness for change is crucial to create a tailored change management strategy. Conducting readiness assessments, surveys, and interviews can help determine the level of employees’ awareness, understanding, and willingness to embrace change. This information will enable you to anticipate potential challenges and tailor your change management plan accordingly.

– Effective communication: Establishing clear and timely communication channels is essential. From the early stages, keep employees informed about the ERP project’s purpose, benefits, and progress. Regularly address concerns and provide updates to maintain transparency.

– Training and education: Invest in comprehensive training programs to equip employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to use the new ERP system effectively. Provide hands-on training, user manuals, and support documents to facilitate a smooth transition.

– Engaging stakeholders: Engage key stakeholders from various departments to create a sense of ownership and involvement in the project. Their input and insights can help shape the ERP implementation plan and increase user acceptance.

– Change champions: Identify change champions within your organization, individuals who are enthusiastic and influential, and empower them to be advocates for the ERP project. They can help build buy-in, address concerns, and encourage their peers to embrace the change.

Resistance to change is natural, but it can be minimized through proactive change management strategies. Here are a few tips:

– Address concerns: Create a safe space for employees to voice their concerns and provide clarifications. Addressing fears and uncertainties early on can help alleviate resistance.

– Engage early and often: Involve employees from the outset and seek their input throughout the project. This involvement fosters ownership and reduces resistance.

– Celebrate wins: Acknowledge and celebrate milestones and successes along the way. Recognizing and rewarding employees’ efforts will bolster motivation and enhance acceptance.

Change management should be an integral part of the overall ERP project plan, starting from the early stages. Incorporate change management activities into project milestones, such as training programs, communication plans, and stakeholder engagement initiatives. By aligning change management with the project plan, you can ensure that it receives the necessary attention and resources throughout the ERP implementation.

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