Organisations can dramatically enhance the return on investment from new business systems, by investing in user adoption programmes to embed new business processes deeply into their cultures and workflows.
User adoption programmes allow for tight alignment of operational outcomes from new systems and processes with the organisation's strategic goals. Such programmes break down organisational siloes and ensure closer integration of the organisation's departments and functions.
Understanding the system
Helping process operators not only to understand how the system helps them carry out their own tasks, but also how their work impacts on the whole organisation is key to ensuring the success of a new business solution.
Once users understand their role in the business processes and understand the impact they have on the business, they are better able to perform in a way that enhances the performance of the whole organisation. They understand how their work links into the business's strategy as well as how it helps other people do their work.
The lack of this contextual understanding among users is one of the major reasons for new systems failing to deliver on expectations. It is easy for top management to formulate a vision for a new business system - not as easy to translate this into organisational action. The reality is that even departmental heads and middle managers often lack insight into how their departments impact on business performance.
Business metrics that are silo-based need to change as companies put in place integrated systems. Older ways of measuring and rewarding managers based only on their own performance does not help to encourage cross-functional collaboration.
It's also important that business process champions with a cross-functional view of the organisation are empowered to lead business process design as well as user adoption strategies. Their job should be to ensure that the process - as it spans multiple departments - delivers the performance that the business is looking for.
They should measure and optimise the whole process to ensure that it delivers optimal performance for the organisation and that it aligns with the organisational strategy. They create, approve and measure the process, and then help to embed it in the organisation through training and change management initiatives.
Feel for operations
Process owners need to be people with a big picture view of the organisation, a strong feel for operations, and strategic insight. They need to be good collaborators who have the language to translate between strategy and operations.
A step down from that, operational managers need to be incentivised and trained to focus as much on the whole process as they do on their own tasks.
Whether they're in procurement, finance, distribution, HR, manufacturing or product marketing, they need to know how their business processes link into the organisation's performance.
As Can!Do's managing director, Lyndsey Moorhouse oversees the delivery of high-impact ERP education solutions that help companies drive real ROI from their investments into applications. Lyndsey has been working in the ERP end-user education and change field for 20 years, 10 of those with Can!do Consulting. During this time, she has held trainer, team lead, project manager, change consultant, strategic training consultant operations management roles on a range of projects for blue-chip clients.
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