Standardized business processes help ensure successful change management when rolling out enterprise software initiatives.
Posted Dec 20, 2004
Enterprise software projects typically require employees to deal with big changes in how they work. So when sketching out a strategy to achieve returns from enterprise software investments, a phrase that should go on top of the page is: "Change Management Matters."
Projects succeed when companies address change management early, consistently, and correctly. A standard change-management platform oils the transformation of knowledge into productivity, which is key to accelerating ROI and ensuring a smooth implementation. With business processes being the linchpin of successful change management efforts, standardization paves the way for increased user adoption and broad acceptance of the enterprise software initiative. Studies indicate that whether a systems investment drives world-class performance depends less on which ERP vendor the organization selects and much more on the organization's ability to strengthen and standardize the business processes that the software supports.
Business processes represent the point at which people and technology meet--or collide in cases where processes have not been standardized--and change has not been communicated effectively or consistently. The degree to which organizations can standardize their business processes increases the likelihood that people within an organization will understand, embrace, and even drive change.
Observers of organizational change efforts agree: One of the most effective ways to support change in the form of an enterprise software implementation or upgrade is by establishing an ongoing mechanism that helps people understand specifically how and why the processes they perform in their daily work must change. An enterprise application training platform can be an ideal mechanism through which to build this understanding.
A successful training platform should support change management across the three core elements of an enterprise software project: people, process, and technology.
People require consistent communications and information, as well as highly flexible instruction, throughout a software project. The training platform should clearly convey how their work is changing, the expectations placed upon them, how their performance will be measured, and the impacts of success or failure on them and the larger organization.
Process change support requires the organization's training efforts to address the exact ways in which business processes are affected and to show how the processes and the organization as a whole benefit from the change. The training platform should enable the project team to think about how each phase of the project affects business processes in different ways. It also should minimize negative effects on productivity and performance throughout the new software's life cycle.
From a technology standpoint, lowering people's inherent resistance to change requires a training platform that offers them a similar look and feel regardless of which type of enterprise software it is used to support. This single-point-of-learning capability fosters successful change management by empowering people to apply what they've learned on one system to others in the future.
A training platform that meets these criteria will effectively support an organization's business alignment, communications, training, performance measurement, and support needs throughout the software project's life cycle. The result is business process standardization that enables the organization to unite its people with its new technology systems, creating an environment that fosters growth and progress in an ever-evolving marketplace.
About the Author
Kevin Riley is the president of OnDemand Software, a division of Global Knowledge. He oversees the growth and expansion of the division's enterprisewide software solutions. Mr. Riley has more than 18 years of direct sales and executive-level sales management experience across multiple industries. Prior to joining OnDemand Software he was president and COO for Learn2 Corporation, an e-learning company. His career began with Eastman Kodak Co., where he spent 12 years in various sales and management roles, including national sales manager. Mr. Riley holds a B.S. in marketing/management from Old Dominion University.
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