Friday, June 26, 2009

The 'Objective Oriented' Training

Friday, June 26, 2009
End user Training is one of the most important and commonly neglected step in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution implementation. Due to the inherent human nature of reluctance to change and fear of failure; ERP implementation in any organization has never been much welcomed by the employees, anywhere in the world. And to make it worse; every ERP implementation comes with a set of business process re-engineering and these changes in process is expected to be communicated to the users through these trainings. All these factors, in different degrees, contribute to the complexity of this activity. Interestingly a poorly executed end user training has significant role to play in failure of an implementation and as a result, reduced or zero return on investment of an ERP product.
Some of the common factors those hinder the end user training success are;
Less importance to the training: - Ironically, while companies spend whopping amounts to buy ERP software and its implementation; end user training is usually neglected. Adequate budgets are not allocated and training is conducted as mere procedure compliance.

Not addressing operational issues: - Often emphasis is more on the technical aspects of the solution and training becomes more software functionality oriented, without any application of what happens in real business situations. Here employees get to understand everything during training, but problems arise when they try to use the solution during their regular course of business.

Absence of a holistic view of operations: - Since ERP solutions call for lot of coordination between employees and departments, it is essential for everybody to have a holistic view of the solution. When employees tend to neglect this and specialize it for the heck of completing their area of operations, ERP solution will not deliver the desired result.

Given enough emphasis and adequate budget, the best approach for an effective end user training could be when the training is delivered to cover all reasons and the objectives of the implementation, defined during the initial phase or when the training is “Objective Oriented”.
How do we make a training objective oriented? Some simple techniques could be;

Communicate the vision: - Implementation of an ERP solution seeks to streamline and integrate operation processes and information flow in the company to synergize the resources of an organization- namely men, material, money and machine- through information. Communicate well before hand to every user, the altered operational flow, expected benefit to organization and role of the end user in making this successful. This will keep the enthusiasm level of the user high.
Operation oriented training: - Training should be ‘operation oriented’. Instead of explaining the functionalities of the software, trainer should come down to ground level and explain how the system should be used in actual scenario; also the benefit to the user and things that user should take care while using. To achieve this there should be a set of carefully prepared, reviewed and agreed training material made available to the trainees before attending the training.
Complete training: - Each user should be trained on every part of the application that he or she may use/ see. In another words, no user should have access to any part of the application, which he or she is not trained on. Take a note that inappropriate usage of the application and incorrect data input can mess up the entire report information; resulting in incorrect representation of the facts at various levels.
Trainer’s awareness of as-is and to-be processes: - Trainer should be aware of the process as-is and to-be. This will help him (or her) to understand the results of implementing a different business process. It will also enable the trainer to conduct a more ‘Operation Oriented’ training. A well defined and documented set of implementation objectives should be the base of that clear understanding.
If a poorly executed training can cause a failed implementation, a properly planned training program will help it succeed by helping the trainees to make consistent progress and avoiding lack of enthusiasm. Just keep in mind that the training is the phase where the entire solution, which was in making till now - behind the scenes with all the hard work- is being presented in front of the audience; like the first screening of a movie. This is when every stake holders get a complete view of the beautiful solution you have architected and this show must be executed to perfection.


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