The Unspoken Cause of Agonizing ERP Issues

December 1, 2023 | Matthew Carswell

It’s not the software

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, IFS included, have become an integral part of modern business operations. They help to streamline processes, boost efficiency, and provide valuable insights to aid decision-making. However, many organizations encounter various challenges in their ERP journey. The root cause of these problems often lies not in the systems themselves, but rather in the lack of effective training. Let’s delve into the top three pains that businesses typically face with their ERP systems and how they can be attributed to inadequate training.

1. Poor User Adoption

One of the most common issues with ERP systems is poor user adoption. Users often find the new system overwhelming and struggle to understand how to use it effectively. This can lead to resistance and a lack of engagement, which, in turn, can undermine the benefits offered by the system.

How training helps: Adequate training can help users understand the system better, boosting their confidence and improving adoption rates. Traditional training methods, such as static PDF guides, often fall short because they focus on the “how” but don’t explain the “why”. Users need to understand why they’re performing a certain action, and what the impact is, not just how to do it.

2. Data Inaccuracies

Another common issue is data inaccuracies. ERP systems rely heavily on data, but the data is only as good as what is input into the system. Incorrect or inconsistent data entry can lead to errors and inaccuracies, which can negatively impact business decisions.

How training helps: Proper training can help users understand the importance of accurate data entry and the impact of errors by giving them a line of site into the bigger picture. It can also provide users with the knowledge and tools to enter data correctly and consistently. Again, static PDF guides are not the best tools for this, as they do not provide interactive, hands-on training that users need.

3. Underutilization of Features

ERP systems often come packed with features designed to improve business operations. However, these features can only provide value if they’re actually used. Many organizations end up underutilizing their ERP systems, not taking full advantage of the features available.

How training helps: With comprehensive training, users can learn about all the features available and how to use them effectively. This would allow organizations to get the maximum benefit from their ERP systems. A simple how-to guide won’t do the trick here; users need to be shown why these features are useful and how they can help enhance their work and empower them to make improvements. They also need to see how the features are interrelated between business function, in order to suggest better ways to use the features to management.

Why is ERP Training Often Neglected?

Despite its importance, ERP training is often neglected or not given the attention it requires. One reason is the complexity of ERP systems, which can make training seem daunting. Additionally, there’s the misconception that once the system is in place, users will naturally adapt to it.

Traditional training resources such as static PDFs, while useful for reference, are not effective in providing comprehensive training. They don’t offer interactive learning experiences, and they don’t answer the “why” behind processes, which is crucial for understanding.

In short, giving users the “how” and not the “why” is tempting because it is easy and faster. Just like fast food is tempting for lunch. But in the long run your body will feel the impact, just like your business.

Moving Forward: A Better Approach to ERP Training

To overcome these challenges, organizations need to rethink their approach to ERP training. They should consider interactive training methods, such as simulations, workshops, and hands-on training sessions. These methods can help users understand the “why” as well as the “how”.

Furthermore, training should be continuous, not just a one-time event at the system’s launch. As the organization grows and changes, so do its processes and the way it uses its ERP system. Ongoing training can help users adapt to these changes and continue to use the system effectively.

To sum it up, many of the common issues businesses face with their ERP systems can be traced back to inadequate training. By investing in comprehensive, effective training, organizations can significantly improve their ERP implementation and usage, helping them to get the most from their investment. IFS is no exception.

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