The recommendation I hear most from business users that have gone through an ERP implementation is “educate, educate, educate”. I believe this is an important activity in any business process improvement project.
Often I see companies rush into improvement projects with little or no experience in process best practices. How can you develop a “future state” if you have no knowledge of best practices? How can you define requirements for a new system if you do not understand what is possible?
Education is a critical step that the team must go through before they tackle designing improvements in business processes. They need to develop a vision of what is possible.
In Ultra business improvement projects, we allocate time to educate the team. In the discovery process we identify education needs and help the client build an education curriculum for the team.
At the start of the education process we begin by educating the team on concepts and terminology. We then help the client identify sources for continued education. Today there are a lot of sources for education. Consider the following sources:
- Expert consultants. In today’s age of specialization, there are many independent subject matter experts. Many of these consultants provide a blog on their subject matter.
- Software vendors. The vendors provide a wealth of information on their website often offering “mini” demos of a business process. We often ask vendors to tailor an education demo on certain subjects for our client team. The vendors also publish case studies that can provide high level process education and benefits.
- Subject matter communities. IT Toolbox is a perfect example where you can access a community to discuss a subject. Search the Internet for other subject matter communities.
- Best in Class Users. Probably the best source is the company that implemented best practices in your industry and achieved significant benefits. First identify those experts, and second get an introduction. Use consultants, vendors, and industry peers to identify those companies.
Education is a key element in the foundation of a successful improvement project. Allocate time and resources to include as much education as you can.
Educate, educate, educate!