Migrating ERPs? Ensure You Bring Your People Along

Migrating ERPs? Ensure You Bring Your People Along

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is among the most complex mechanisms in any organization. Some implementations cost millions of dollars and connect thousands of users. Yet up to 80% of ERP rollouts fail to deliver what they promised. Why?

Much of the time, it’s because managers fail to pay attention to the most complex variable of all and the least predictable API in any information infrastructure—the people who use it.

That’s why user adoption isn’t an optional extra to be dealt with at the end of a rollout. A new ERP means new processes and new ways of working, but people often resist change unless the benefits are clear. There’s a personal cost involved, a worry they’ll get it wrong. And anyway, asking people to document their process so a bunch of consultants can play with it just isn’t fun.

That’s why at Mavim, when we help people with business transformation, we’re constantly asking: “What effect will this have on the people?”

If a change goes ahead, will it be accepted enthusiastically—or will people come up with workarounds that avoid it? We’ve all seen how creative employees can be when dealing with the pain points of new software. It’s why new methods and processes need careful introductions and constant monitoring to make sure they sink in.

This article offers up a few tips and tricks for taking your people along with you when you move your ERP to the cloud—whatever your application setup.

Get everyone on the same page—first and foremost

When you want everyone to move forward together, the first step is to get them in one place. (Military types call it “mustering”.) Yet when it comes to understanding business processes, everyone’s in a different place. It’s more bluster than muster.

Mavim Process Mining—part of Mavim’s Intelligent Transformation Platform, a suite of applications for making your ERP move easier, does this in the most useful way; not asking everyone how they work, but demonstrating how things are.

By connecting the steps of each process in your ERP to actual sources of data within your organization (invoiced totals, sales outstanding, purchase orders and so on) it shows you how things really happen, how often that process is used and, importantly, how often it varies from what you thought it was. The power to demonstrate how an employee’s efforts affect the business is a great way to get them on-side.

Always be visual—show, don’t tell

This leads into our second point. Understanding improves when you present processes visually: flowcharts, diagrams, maps, and charts that clearly illustrate your operational model. It’s a principle that goes back to Leonardo da Vinci, who maintained that the central part of any engineering document should be a diagram, and all text simply an add-on to it, not vice vinci. (Sorry, vice versa.)

Yet that can be problematic in business transformation, since supporting data is often a chart or spreadsheet, not a visual. Or—when you try to make it visual, with a flowchart—it’s then lacking the data that makes it valid. You can’t have it both ways. Or can you?

Mavim Process Mining is both visual and data-driven. The data from your ERP is represented diagrammatically, backing up each process with data moving around in the real world, yet always showing that data in context. In a nod to Leonardo, each process diagram can be explored further, letting you drill down into its dataset in real time and see where the chokepoints and go-slows are.

By doing this, you can demonstrate to your people that there’s room for improvement that will make their lives easier. Again, you’re getting everyone on board, increasing the chance of a high adoption rate.

Treat questions as useful data, not interruptions

However enthusiastic your team, the older your current ERP, the more changes there’ll be when you switch to a cloud-based version. (Even more so if you’re switching vendors too, for example, moving from SAP on the ground to Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the cloud.)

That means making an investment in retraining users. And when doing so, it’s tempting to see yourself as an instructor teaching a student and treating their questions as an annoyance to be dealt with at the end. That’s wrong.

User questions are a fantastic source of information, brilliant management tools. They tell you what people’s concerns are and what you need to pay most attention to so they won’t reject the new processes. So, when they ask questions—usually, it’ll be in the form “How does this affect me when I do X?”—push everything else to one side until you’ve answered it. That’s the start of better adoption rates: treat user concerns as paramount.

Another part of the Mavim ITP comes into play here. Business transformation has two halves: discovering how things are now (with process mining) and then planning how you want them to be. The second half is Business Process Management. It’s where you build a “digital twin” of your organization (a DTO) that you can modify to see what’ll happen when you change a process in real life.

Mavim BPM is a great way to answer, “How does this affect me?”-type questions. Because you don’t have to tell them—you can show them. How many days will be saved meeting their metrics, how much faster they’ll hit the annual target, how much hassle can be saved by conforming to a common process rather than 318 variants of it. You’re not just showing them what’ll change, you’re showing them how their lives will be easier.

And plan for a successful transformation from the start

So, process mining and business process management give you Situation A and Situation B: the as-is, and the where-you-want-to-be. Our last success strategy: how you get between the two.

That’s the job of Mavim’s ERP Implementation Accelerator. Not a separate application, but a methodology built into the Intelligent Transformation Platform—with the sole focus of moving you from your operational model of ERP today to your target operational model of ERP processes in the cloud.

While Mavim’s proudly Azure-based, the ERP IA is platform-agnostic—because it’s less about software, more about processes. You can model processes across your organization right now … then model how they’ll work in the cloud. Along the way, streamlining and cleaning up everyone, so they’ll work smarter.

That’s the Mavim success plan for businesses migrating ERP to the cloud and those who want to take their people with them. We firmly believe that when you can show people how much easier their lives can be—when they see real-world models of their processes pulsing and vibrating with the blood of their business—all their resistance to change can quickly disappear. In fact, people are often fascinated to see how their work fits into the broader operational model of the business. Don’t be afraid to show it to them.

With People Onboard, Anything is Possible

So, there you have it. Map your model with process mining—then improve it with process management. Mine, design, improve, the Mavim ITP, the result of decades of experience as a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner, is yours to explore. Contact us today to get started.