5 Real-World Tips For Smarter ERP Training

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Congratulations! You’ve taken on an ERP implementation – a big undertaking – and are ready for serious results. A vital piece in the moving parts that make up a successful implementation is training. We have worked with some exceedingly successful companies over the years, and based on our experience, and feedback from them, we’ve put together a list of five factors that makes for a smart ERP training program.

1. Allow users to interact with the system

Have your users do their actual tasks on the system to learn. Observe how they react to the process, and make adjustments along the way. Making a mistake in your enterprise software could take months to fix. When you only show end-users how to use the system, you’re very likely to miss things. To start with, show users how the software works, then let them try it in a controlled environment and move into having them try their actual tasks, where possible, for the best grip on how to best to use the system. Engage admin users in the setup process. Have them input records to start familiarizing themselves with the system. Show them the impact of setup decisions on system reports and data analysis.

2. For functional users, train close to the go-live date

Train no sooner than one week before to go-live if possible. Many studies have been done to evaluate how much people retain of what they’ve learned. German researcher Hermann Ebbinghaus, a pioneer in memory research, identified what is now called the ‘forgetting curve’. He found that people forget about 77% of what they learned in six days! Training as close to the time users need to start using the system, and keeping things within the context of their actual work, will vastly improve retention.

3. Provide tailored work instructions targeted to the audience you’re training

For functional users, offer clear and concise instructions that mirror the intended process. Executives and managers don’t have the same needs as team members, which means you need to give them overviews and troubleshooting skills as well as teach them how to pull the reports that empower their decision-making. Stay away from putting your resources into ‘cookie cutter’ training programs. ERP systems have several roles, and each is meant for different users, so role-based training is the way to go.

4. Train ‘super users’

Super users are engaged in the process design and trained on how to use the system in their environment. Typically, these users are valuable employees with plenty on their plate aside from their ERP implementation duties. Being mindful of the fact that their role as ERP super users is a vital one and lightening their workload enough to give them time to learn the software alongside the implementation team will bring long-term benefits. Further, engage them in documenting instructions into user guides for other users.

5. Follow training ‘best practice’

Training users is best done as a two-way process. During the training process, the trainer needs to be aware of areas where the process causes inefficiencies and address any issues with the project stakeholders to decide on a course of action. Holding training sessions in smaller groups, if possible split by function within the company, is most beneficial. Limit each session to three hours or less and take a break midway for maximum absorption. If your budget allows for it, in the case of larger groups, have two trainers on site. One to manage the training and run the modules and the other to gauge user reaction and assist hands-on with individual users.

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