ERP implementation in large organizations is a colossal task. With huge investments, both in terms of human resources and funding, the stake in the success of the program becomes high. With potential impact on business, as usual, ensuring the success of ERP programs is critical. The realization of business benefits is expected sooner than the reality, which puts a lot of pressure on the core team to align with the program expectations.
The problem gets worse when there are diverse stakeholders involved, geographically and culturally. Effective Change Management in such situations becomes a critical success factor for large scale ERP implementations.
Following are the challenges involved in change management in such programs:
- Non-alignment of stakeholder expectations during and after the ERP implementation
- Inadequate Program sponsorship
- Lack of communication
- Cultural sensitivity
- Resistance management
Large organizations have complex business structures and distributed leadership styles. The regional power centers are strong enough to make any central decision-making body giving nightmares to drive the change. The combination of these factors is a recipe for failure for any change initiatives in the organization. It becomes next to impossible to align all the key stakeholders and keep them happy at the same time.
The new system requirements keep on coming up much after the business blueprints are signed-off, which results in cross-functional impacts leading to delay of project schedules.
Many times, the Primary Sponsor is not kept engaged and visible during the ERP implementations. At times, there is a new person taking over as Primary Sponsor, who may have different process, and way of working that contradicts the existing culture.
Due to regular work commitments, the Primary Sponsor delegates the task to his/her subordinate, who may not be as committed to the project, resulting in reluctant participation in the meetings and key events.
Lack of timely and adequate communication to impacted stakeholder community creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and chaos. There will be widespread rumours about the perceived program objectives, and negative outcomes that diminishes morale of the employees.
There is bound to be some cultural gaps between core teams (client & SI) working together, resulting in lack of smoother co-ordination and communication. Within the Organization, different people interpret same messages differently that creates another level of miscommunication.
Irrespective of how well you do in terms of aligning with key stakeholders and effective communication, there is bound to be resistance in all layers of the organization. If you do not anticipate it early during the ERP implementation journey, things will get worse, and it will be too late to do the damage control.
Most of the organizations undermine the importance of change management and before they realize how critical it is, the damage is already done with above challenges that are invariably applicable to all large ERP implementation programs. Addressing these challenges is imperative for ensuring the effectiveness of any change management program.
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