COVID-19 is affecting every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Many businesses are already feeling the impact of canceled/delayed orders, layoffs, and staff being forced to work from home.
But for companies in the middle of an ERP implementation, the situation is much more urgent. Even in the best of circumstances, ERP implementations can be time-consuming and complicated. But add in a global health crisis, and what are the results?
ERP Consultant David Ogilvie posed this question on LinkedIn a few days ago. The responses to the subject have been enlightening and might be helpful to other people who are working on an ERP implementation right now.
Below, we’ve summarized some of the responses—and added a few extra tips.
(And you can read the whole LinkedIn thread here if you’re interested.)
Tip 1. Make use of virtual meeting tools
Microsoft Teams is a good option for remotely planning ERP implementation projects because it gives you access to all the crucial remote working tools in one place: files with version control/collaboration, video conferencing, chat, etc.
As one LinkedIn commenter notes:
“I am making even more use of MS Teams features and working harder to communicate more frequently within the team (consultants, key users, and stakeholders combined). Our teams are thinking sensibly about what the next few weeks hold. I (…) believe that configuration of demos based on known requirements, proof of concepts, and standard functionality configuration can be done remotely and trained remotely if the rapport between the trainer and trainee is good. It’s about choosing the right project battles to have and which to accept need to be delayed.”
Tip 2. Have shorter, more frequent meetings
Rather than trying to solve every issue in one weekly meeting, break things up into smaller, more focused sessions. This not only helps focus the meetings, but it also gives you a chance to “check-in” more often—something you do unconsciously when you all work in the same office.
This also means that your implementation team should have a way to communicate quickly—probably through the chat function in your virtual meeting tool. In a regular, face-to-face office setting, you can walk over to a colleague’s desk (or even shout at them from across the room) to get a quick answer. According to WorkDesign Magazine, this quick communication is an important part of team productivity and camaraderie:
This quick communication is especially important during big projects like ERP implementations, where there are literally thousands of decisions to make.
“When we design workplaces, we often design neighborhoods so people who must collaborate sit in close proximity to each other. Now we must figure out how to recreate the neighborhood concept online. From internal chat and messenger apps to videoconferencing solutions, equipping employees with tools to communicate—and providing training on how to use them—can make all the difference between a connected organization and a collection of people working in silos.”
Tip 3. Use virtual classrooms for ERP training
Employee training is an essential part of every ERP implementation. It’s not something you can skip just because you can’t get all the trainees in the same room for a while. To make sure everyone is up to speed, set up virtual training.
You have many options for virtual training, from live webinars and video conference calls to full-service tools like Adobe Connect. There are hundreds of virtual classroom tools out there, and many of them have exclusive deals and discounts right now due to COVID-19. Virtual training might not be as hands-on as regular training, but with the right approach, it can be just as effective.
The extra benefit of virtual training? It can be updated and re-used as time goes on.
We’re all trying to make the best of this new situation. Luckily there are many tools available to make remote working easier—even when you’re planing an ERP implementation.
Want more tips on ERP implementation? Download a copy of our free guide Why ERP Implementations Fail.