Flip the approach to ERP training to save time, money and implementations

A boardroom filled people and their laptops sitting down at a big desk watching a man give a presentation | Sysdoc training

Implementing an ERP system means flooding the target organization with a ton of new technology. Providing the necessary change management is the ideal way to ensure a smooth, digital transformation. So, let’s avoid the pitfall of not investing in the correct training methods; time and time again, poor training can result in an ERP implementation in complete disarray.

ERP systems can completely change how an organization’s processes work, so it’s important the correct amount of time and investment is given to the implementation. It’s still a common error that we see many organizations make. The outcome of this lack of investment in helping your people understand the new technology and the changes to their roles is this: disillusionment with the product itself, which can directly result in poor reputation and a collective unwillingness to use it amongst users, meaning benefits are frequently not realized.

It’s not unheard of for organizations to ask for help with their learning provisions after the initial implementation has not been successful. The reasons for this are typically due to the traditional way technology learning  is delivered.

The problem with traditional learning methods

Traditionally, training is delivered a few weeks prior to ‘go-live’. This means by the time users get their hands on the system, they’ve forgotten most of the training they have just been through, despite having spent weeks in a classroom or completing multiple pieces of eLearning.  And, let’s face it, nobody enjoys that.

Poor training methods create a psychological barrier to engaging with the system and users will find workarounds to avoid it. Once the system is live and users are doing their day jobs, they forget that eLearning exists (most of the time it’s sat on an LMS somewhere collecting cyber dust).

Even though they are short pieces of learning and would be a great refresher, most don’t have the time to sit and re-do the training or even think to search for it. It’s great for new joiners but, otherwise, it tends to not be used.

Frequently, when a new ERP system is implemented, the operating model changes and people’s roles change too; users are expected to perform work they have never carried out before. It’s not always a straight transfer working on one system to another. Sometimes, users are given a whole new set of tasks that are being added to their to-do list.

Flipped classrooms

The key is to build confidence in using the system and being able to overcome the barrier of people forgetting what they have learned. An effective method for building confidence and familiarity to overcome the training deficit is using flipped classrooms. This is where the user is initially provided important context, an overview of the process and key steps. It can be delivered through mixed eLearning media or short, high-impact videos that users watch in their own time. The knowledge is reinforced by following up with short workshop masterclasses where they get to practice what was learned in the system with support of a trainer. These sessions can be delivered remotely or in person and can focus on the critical tasks in a process.

However, the challenge is how to provide ongoing support and continue building on the knowledge gained this far. The key here is providing in-flow support which can be easily accessed while the user is performing their role. Having an EPSS (Electronic Performance Support System) or digital coach’ they can reference after the go-live date can help with. Speed of access is critical.

A digital coach

With a digital coach users know they have almost instantaneous access to support which provides step-by-step instructions when they get stuck.  The digital coach means access to task-based training information in the moment of need. The coach shouldn’t be confused with eLearning hosted where training is allocated and any step-by-step guidance is located deep within the course structure. You can find the detailed steps for the specific task you are completing, as you are completing it, in an easily digestible format.

Digital coaches can harness existing technologies that most organizations already have, such as SharePoint. This means no additional cost other than the initial set-up time. Another benefit is the set-up being much simpler than some in-system support tools, which can be time-consuming and complex, and may even require specialist skills which are in short supply.

A digital coach is also flexible and can be set up to support any technology. It is essentially system agnostic and can provide support across multiple users of multiple systems across any organization.

The most important benefit of using a flipped classroom alongside a digital coach is, together, they reduce time needed in the classroom. Users are introduced to the process and context at their own pace with self-led eLearning. They can practice in the system with workshops or masterclasses, while feeling secure that they aren’t expected to know the systems back-to-front from the start. As the training is SharePoint based, it is easy to maintain the correct materials when changes are needed. It’s notably easy for a business to take ownership of the tool once it has been set up.

Obviously, overall learning evaluation is still completed prior to the go-live date. However, the built-in analytics of the digital coach does enable monitoring of what’s being accessed or frequency of the access, which can help identify any processes that people may be struggling with. A careful application of targeted learning interventions will greatly help users in need. Using a digital coach helps engage users and provide them with the confidence to be able to do their work effectively by giving them near-instantaneous access to support. It reduces the overall training delivery time, reduces learning costs during the implementation and utilizes SharePoint, a commonly available platform in most organizations which is easy to maintain and can be used to support any technology. The coach helps ensure users aren’t inundated too heavily with training and leads to more effective adoption of the new systems. Combine the coach with flipped classrooms, and there’s rarely a more effective uptake of new systems.