Six critical learning points every business should consider in their enterprise system implementation project.
Enterprise systems, including ERPs, CRMs, ECMs and others, are part of the critical knowledge repositories of any organization. These systems provide the data and analytical insights that enable businesses to make high-value strategic decisions, while simultaneously providing the day-to-day tactical data and analysis that flows as the lifeblood of an organization.
Countless organizations, including Continental, Salesforce, Bank of America and PayPal, can, and will, attest that investing in business intelligence and data analytics is a smart business decision with a typically high ROI.
Yet, there is an all too common occurrence when implementing any enterprise system. Namely, when an organization decides that the budget is too tight for proper training on a new enterprise system, with some forgoing training altogether. Such decisions often inflict higher opportunity costs, driving down or even eliminating return. So why do many organizations make this decision?
In many cases, the justifications are well-founded based on past results. A business typically bases a decision to forgo training on the following experiences:
- Unstructured, one-off training sessions are often viewed as ‘tick the box’ events, that get in the way of day to day responsibilities. Not many people can learn something by just doing it once, so why do businesses do it with an enterprise system? Invest the time and the results will come.
- Classroom orientated training. Many employees have only experienced training that is delivered in a classroom setting. What businesses often forget is that there are many ways to facilitate more productive learning.
- Ill-fitting training. Many teams have experienced training that did not adapt, forcing them into a one-size-fits-all solution. The problem is that businesses clearly do not all have the same size anything.
- Internal training function issues, if they exist, that are unable to respond promptly or properly. Internal training teams might be resource constrained, organizationally limited, or simply lack the wide range of skills needed by modern learning professionals.
While these are not uncommon experiences for many businesses, it does not mean that a business needs to experience the same thing with any future training. As the age old saying goes – doing the same thing repeatedly, while expecting different results, is the definition of insanity.
The best ERP, CRM and ECM providers are trusted partners in helping their business partners achieve real business value from their systems. Learning, training, knowledge management, and change management are not confined to single silos.
Whether or not a business selects their solution providers’ learning and training services to achieve a high-value implementation there are some key things to remember. Here are six critical learning points every business should consider in every enterprise system implementation project.
- Learners do not learn as an event—they learn as a process. If a business only puts its employees into a classroom once, they should not be surprised if they do not learn. Ask yourself how you remember a phone number. Most of us remember it by repeating it over again in our heads. This is retrieval practice and spaced practice.
- Learning should not use one single approach or methodology. A singular approach is likely to miss opportunities. Not everyone can take the time to attend a class, and not everyone can succeed with self-directed learning. There are coaching solutions, job aids, online e-learning, downloadable videos, instructor-led classes and mobile learning. This is blended learning.
- Learners are adults. They come into class with their own biases, their own expertise, their own faults, and their own end goals. Your learning approach must respect your learners as adults. This is andragogy.
- Any training and learning process must be customized to an individual and a business. Even relatively simple processes can have profound changes from organization to organization. This is customization.
- For example, just imagine a common scenario of company names. If you are entering a company name, like Seal, into a system. Do you enter Seal? Seal Software? Seal Software Group? What happens in your processes if the name does not match? Can the data just be entered? Ask yourself whether there are approval flows. Whether there are supporting processes.This is unique and compelling.
- Learning must account for change. Enterprise systems change frequently, even just keeping up with security patches. Learning, even if it is on a portal, is not going to reach 100% of the people 100% of the time.
- Any business has people coming and going, and have new business processes that can and will impact how a system is used. Your learning needs to adapt to this rapidly changing environment. This is change management and communication planning.
- Learning experts should not be confused with subject-matter experts (SMEs). Learning experts rely on SMEs to help them develop, evaluate, and review content. But, learning experts are SMEs in adult learning.
- You should not evaluate your team on their knowledge of a specific system. You should evaluate them on their abilities to help people learn in workplace environments. This is pedagogy.
These are tactical considerations. But, there is a strategic consideration that many, perhaps even most training groups, inside or outside many businesses, do not take into account. Namely, that all learning, must be aligned with the business goals of the organization.
Bill Sawyer is Seal Software’s Global Learning Services leader. He has held leadership positions in learning at Oracle and Dell EMC. His role includes curriculum development, training delivery, knowledge management, and change management, and brings a background in accounting, computer science, and education focused on training and performance improvement. He has extensive experience in the development and delivery of software-focused learning.
Seal Software Contract Discovery and Analytics helps companies maximize revenue opportunities and reduce expenses and costs associated with contractual documents, systems and processes.