This article originally appeared on cloudtweaks
In one of my previous articles I discussed the top challenges any organization must overcome when adopting a cloud ERP. I explained that, although each organization has specific challenges, there are 5 key challenges that manifest in different degrees in any type of organizations.
- Identifying the optimum architectural and licensing models
- Requirements in Hybrid Environments
- Change Management
- User Onboarding and Training
In this article I will focus on techniques you can use to overcome the challenges of user onboarding and adoption.
Studies show that in countries with dynamic labor markets there is a clear pattern of underinvestment in training. Companies do not invest because they believe that theiremployees will just move on and the investment will be lost. So they just hire ‘trained’ replacement staff and the cycle accelerates. The problem with this approach is that one company’s implementation of an ERP system will be very different to another company’s implementation of the same software. Processes will be different and the skills that carry-over will be few. ‘Learning on the job’ and the inefficiency that ensues is a significant cost. Clearly, under-investing in training on core enterprise systems would be a mistake, but it still happens all too frequently.
Set up a formal Change Management Program
This will provide the framework for the ‘soft’ aspects of the migration/ implementation. The usual rule of engaging a visible high-level champion should not be ignored. Use modern methods such as social media to reinforce messages and build project momentum and user engagement.
Match the Training Method to the Worker and the Application
The type of application, the sophistication of the end-user audience and the geographic distribution of the users will create different demands. Consider options such as self-paced learning, just-in-time training and online training (as well as classroom training.)
Keep Training Sessions Short
Best-practice organizations limit end-user training to half-day sessions. Longer sessions impair retention, particularly when the system is difficult to use. Seek opportunities to segment the learning process into basic and advanced topics, with some time between sessions to allow users to absorb and practice what they’ve learned.
Create an Enterprise Training Portal
Maintaining all training courses and knowledge bases in a single location makes them easier to catalogue, use and keep up-to-date.
Similarly, place all course schedules, frequently asked questions, user tips and fixes, cheat sheets, links to third-party websites, and so on in easy-to-find locations on the corporate website. The cloud revolution has made it easy to use one of many excellent solutions available in the market today.
Don’t Rule Out Outsourcing Training to a Third Party
Third-party trainers can be an effective option to avoid devoting internal head count to training. However, the cost can be high for on-site delivery and the quality of training can vary widely across topics, geographies and vendor products.
Use Flexible 3rd Party Onboarding Toolsets
The advent of cloud enterprise systems has enabled the creation of a new family of onboarding tools – the ‘workplace assistant’. These toolsets can provide economic, individual task-based handholding. The advantages are that time assigned (off the job) for individual training is reduced, training is highly context and data specific and the investment in individual training is minimized while the loss of knowledge capital is also minimized.
A common issue with many onboarding tools is that they detract from the flow onscreen. There are now second generation of onboarding tools that use contextual guidance algorithms and non-intrusive onscreen displays. This lowers the barrier for training by reducing the amount of interruptions to flow by having a cleaner interface.
ERP Training as an Ongoing Process
Earlier I stressed the advantages of keeping training sessions short. This works only with continuous learning long time after initial training is completed. Continuous learning allows constant organic growth among employees, which later on increases the productivity of the company.
Cloud ERP brings with it agility and timely updates and customizations. As new software features are being updated, or new company processes implemented, continuous learning becomes even more critical. Especially if your “experts” with vast ERP knowledge leave your team, and are no longer there to help out when needed.