As if designing and deploying a comprehensive software training program isn’t challenging enough, creating such a program for an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implementation provides its own unique and additional problems. We have worked with some of the most successful companies in the world and have created hundreds of training programs. Based on our experience we have compiled this list of five tips to make your job of creating an ERP training program a bit easier.
Implementing and operating an ERP system can easily cost millions of dollars. However, if an organization fails to train its user base on the proper use of the software the investment will largely be wasted. Avoid the number one mistake organizations make with regards to implementing an ERP system and make training a priority from the beginning of the implementation project. The training program must address overview training for managers and executives, configuration training for the project team members, and functional training for the end users.
The most successful ERP training programs combine the best of traditional classroom training with state-of-the-art eLearning simulations. Consider all available options, including:
Each training delivery method is most appropriate for a specific stage in the training requirements lifecycle. Make sure to match the training method to your organization’s current training need.
Understand the difference between “training” and “learning.” Top-notch training material manages to address both by explaining how to perform a particular task as well as why to perform it. Students want to understand how they fit into the overall business process and how their actions might impact other process steps downstream. Ensure that training materials are applicable to the student’s business role and that they include lots of hands-on practice. Nobody enjoys “death-by-PowerPoint.”
Unlike with traditional classroom training, the beauty of eLearning solutions is that you can measure student participation, progress, and completion accurately and in real-time. It is very important for training administrators to track each student’s progress against well-defined training program goals and milestones. Make sure to set and communicate these goals and milestones at the beginning of the training program, and then hold students accountable with timed and graded final exams to ensure knowledge transfer and retention.
Also, survey students at the end of each training program to assess how well they liked the training material, course scope, delivery method, and instructor (if applicable). Adjust your training program based on the feedback you receive. For example, you might find that the course scope is too broad for the time allotted or the training material leaves too many unanswered questions.
ERP systems constantly change due to upgrades, additional features, or addition of new functionalities. In addition, knowledge leakage due to employee attrition can be as high as 25% in any given year. Consequently, ERP training is an ongoing business requirement and not a one-time event. Best practices suggest providing recurring refresher training to all system users. Also, to ensure ongoing knowledge retention, many of our clients make the successful completion of appropriate training courses part of the employees’ annual performance evaluation.
Your turn now. What are your tips to make SAP training a success at your own company? Please leave your comments below.
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Thomas Michael is the CEO of the Michael Management Corporation, the leading provider of award-winning online SAP training. He lives in New York City, is looking forward to St. Patrick's Day and is on a quest to make corporate training fun and effective again.