There’s a simple solution many companies neglect to invest in while implementing their ERP. Companies invest in evaluating solutions, evaluating partners, negotiation, protecting the scope, then mitigating support costs. These are all important. However, the single best way we’ve seen companies reduce ERP support costs is investing in training. Regardless of what ERP stage you’re in, remember to invest in training for your users. Talk to your partner about what they offer, then build it into your initial estimate. Training costs can yield a return that exponentially exceeds the initial ERP buy-in.
In this blog, we’ll cover how to think about training as a cost saving measure and how it can continue to pay dividends over time.
Empower your super users
We’ve spoken about the importance of change management in other blogs, and why it’s important to have top-down support, but there’s additional power in having super user peers lead the change. Your super users not only lead by example, but they can offer training in a way that makes sense. They know what the system can, or cannot do, and they lower the barrier in asking for help. There will always be employees who may understand the process less or are unsure why the changes were made. Knowing the ‘why’, we’ve found, is important and communicating through the right ‘who’ helps it stick. Super users keep the whole company moving towards a better state long after implementation.
Enable ownership and essential troubleshooting skills
After a company implements a new ERP, it is typical to need post-implementation support. But what any good partner and company wants to avoid is a dependency that stalls the adoption process and handicaps the new system’s use. The best way to alleviate this is to provide the employees with the right types of training to establish ownership of the system. This is a good way to help reduce ERP support costs.
In many cases, we’ve found it beneficial to conduct live training alongside user acceptance training to give users an opportunity to think through issues as they test. This approach to training allows users the ability to understand when something works, when something doesn’t, and why the key foundations are independent of the system. Building the muscle memory and the confidence to troubleshoot on their own accomplishes two things:
- It instills a sense of ownership.
- It alleviates the dread of change.
When users feel they understand a system and can use it, they are more likely to engage. If an employee can do essential troubleshooting for themselves and can think through the error messages, their dependency on support diminishes. They are also more likely to proactively spot holes in processes as business changes, and they are more likely to create new solutions that work better for the company in the long run.
Turnover is, unfortunately, inevitable. In fact, it’s sometimes the reason companies don’t invest in training in the first place.
But when we think about why people leave companies, it’s often because they don’t feel valued, or they don’t feel like they can do their jobs in a way that’s valued. However, if you empower your people with the right resources to facilitate training, and show them how it can set their performance apart, they will be better equipped to make a difference and to be recognized for it. Live training can help users discover the habits that make partners experts in navigating the systems. And for positions with natural turnover/multiple light users, it’s great to have permanent resources that allow self-training, such as documentation and recorded demos/webinars. These permanent resources also increase efficiency for onboarding new hires. All these things help to reduce ERP support costs.
Grow the community
Long term success in building a team that handles your new ERP with ease is rooted in the culture of your workforce.
Ongoing training keeps learning fresh (without it, skills get stale!) and it enables employees to help each other. This is where you create internal independence – separate from external support. It’s the type of supportive, knowledgeable community that grows and exists on its own.
This is what we want to see among all our clients. We want everyone to have the level of support they need to fit their company and their workforce. However, some companies will naturally need more support than others. Perhaps it’s better for them to run with a lean team if they’re experiencing an internal culture shift or in a phase of change.
Either way, the right partner will be there to take you through, step by step, to address your training needs and support you throughout the life of your ERP.
Reduce ERP support costs through training
Keep in mind when looking into training that people learn best in different ways. With that consideration, there are many different types of training you can invest in.
- Onsite Consultant Training – This gives users the chance to not only get classroom experience, but possibly one-on-one training to address certain challenges that can arise. A trainer will evaluate if the end user is “getting it” or not by observing the end user’s progress. At that point, either one-on-one training or changing the delivery may be utilized.
- Webinar Training – Webinar training is similar to onsite learning but offers more flexibility. It allows users from different locations to attend the same training and as a collective be on the same level of processes and knowledge. It eliminates the cost of travel for the consultant and off-site users, but still gives the classroom style of learning along with the option of Q&A.
- Video Training – A partner can record training videos going through the processes and procedures to be viewed by users at a later time. These videos are a great tool for onboarding new hires, retraining or clarifying proper processes, or for an employee changing positions or taking on new responsibilities. An introduction to how the new system works and how to maneuver within the system is an investment that will save time and money.
- Documentation – Proper documentation can be a valuable tool to invest in also. Having your partner develop documentation specifically for your processes, which includes any customizations created for your system, is a great tool for end-users and new hires to refer to time and again. Having these documents on hand can also eliminate some costly support tickets if users do not use a certain process regularly or they are attempting to troubleshoot internally.
Many clients will invest in a combination of the different types of trainings. Some request onsite training only, while others request a recorded video for introduction to the ERP, webinars for different areas of training, plus documentation for future reference.
Invest in the user
Even the most well-designed ERPs can be clunky, time-consuming, and completely inefficient in the hands of an inexperienced user. It’s a scary thought that the system that’s supposed to save you time and money can drain those resources. This is why companies focused on the long-term and potential future costs of their ERP will invest in their users. The investment for the right forms of training will ensure a successful implementation, along with proper daily processes and happier employees. Working with your partner to determine which methods deserve investment will not only lead to a smooth and successful ERP implementation, it will also provide for cost-effective, long-term maintenance.