The Importance of the ERP Super User
One of the most crucial elements of ERP software strategy is also one of the ones that is also often most overlooked. Businesses can do everything they can to train employees and put a solid change management strategy in place, but will still find a brick wall after go-live. As the help requests and questions pile up on the desks of the IT department, they are too swamped to perform customizations or fix complex problems that occur within the software. Small problems within the system, data might be corrupted or just plain wrong, and frustrated end-users abandon the solution for their old ways—one of the quickest routes to total ERP failure. So, how does one avoid this kind of breakdown? Enter the ERP super user. An end-user who has been trained extensively in the ERP system, has a particular aptitude for the technology, and can refine often convoluted software processes and terms into information that is understandable by everyone in your organization. Acting as touchpoint and a mediator between the software and its everyday end-users, your ERP super user could mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to your ERP project.
The ideal ERP super user will be able to handle many of the common issues that arise with day-to-day users of the software, lifting the burden off of IT and encouraging employees to remain positive about the new ERP and use it in line with best practices. Avoid becoming an ERP failure story. Keep on reading for the key tips you’ll need to develop your all-important ERP super user.
Take on A Multivariate Training Strategy
Whether a business plans on gathering a team of experts or investing in a single ERP super user to take on the role of expert, companies need to have a well defined plan of attack when it comes to their training. They should be getting individual sessions and one-on-one time with the software, but also sitting in on group training meetings so they can get a feel for early reactions to the software but also the best way to resolve issues with end-users. If you are working with a team of ERP experts, encourage each one to take on a specialization within the system such as a production process or module. This will allow them to hone their focus onto one specific aspect and thus go even more in detail with the training, and feel more involved with the software.
Give Them the Time They Need
Becoming a super-user or expert in any field is no easy task. In-depth learning of software functions and business process takes time—and this should be given to your chosen ERP super user (or users) as needed. Understand that their day-to-day tasks will be affected. Either take some of their duties off their plate during the training process or allow them to divert their efforts entirely into the project in the lead up to go-live. The role should not necessarily take up as much time after go live as they will respond to requests only as needed, but it will take a considerable amount of work on the front-end to become an ERP expert, so this needs to be taken into account.
Document Their Knowledge
You can’t guarantee your super users will always be around to help with post-implementation support (though if you follow the next rule you can certainly help yourself out), so thorough documentation of their knowledge, helpful tips and experiences with the software is crucial. Get them to record their thoughts and experiences along the way, instead of dumping the project on their desk at go-live when they may already be being swamped with cries for help. The information will be clearer in their mind if they jot it down as they go, and will mean less work for the ERP super user when it’s game time.
The catalog will also be extremely helpful when it comes to training new employees or upcoming super users, and will be able to translate often complex terms and processes into understandable terms. It will do wonders for software adoption and ensure that when users get frustrated, they have a place to go for help and don’t just abandon the system flat out.
Make Sure Employees Know Where To Go
Your ERP super users wont be very useful to anyone if employees don’t know they exist. Ensure your entire organization is aware of the software experts and know where to find an ERP super user should they run into any issue or have questions about certain processes that don’t require complex technical help from your IT department. A company wide announcement (along with commandment) should go out regarding the role, including who is handling what aspects of the ERP system if you have a team, and how to determine whether a help request needs to go to IT or to an ERP super user.
Reward Them Well
Recognize that you are asking a lot of these employees; extra time, a determined attitude and a long-term dedication to the project and the software. They should be duly rewarded for their efforts and recognized for the hard work they put in to learn your ERP system front to back and become well of knowledge for the entire business.
Be it extra vacation time, a dinner or a company-wide recognition, the reward needs to match the effort the ERP super user has put into becoming a master of the system and a knowledge resource for every software end-user in the business. Not only will be this be a deserved reward for your software experts, it will also provide further incentive to other employees to get involved with the system and possibly volunteering to become super users on other enterprise projects or if a need for new super users arises.
An ERP super user will be the touch point between your IT department, the software itself and all of its users within your company. They are critical to the success of your system both at go-live, the often rocky period directly after and in the long-term lifetime of the ERP. As they work to disseminate information and develop ERP best practices throughout the organization, they should be suitably recognized and rewarded for their efforts. After all, their work will help your business on many levels—taking a large burden off of your IT team while also fostering enthusiasm and greater software adoption among the ERP’s end-users.
If you’re starting out on an ERP implementation, or simply need help during an ongoing project, get in touch with an expert at Datix now! We have over 18 years of experience in the enterprise software world—we can train the next superstar ERP super user in your business.