ERP Change management: from resistance to readiness

Navigating ERP Transformation: transforming resistance into readiness

ERP Change Management is crucial at all stages for a successful ERP implementation. Imagine if the users of the newly implemented ERP system only use it partially or refuse completely, who’s to blame? Usually, it is the solution that gets blamed, when in reality it isn’t – especially when there is a professional approach to manage the change and disruption to your people and business.

In our ERP Readiness video series, our CEO, Rob Jurcec talks about change management.

ERP Change Management Guide

In our ERP Change Management Guide covering the instrumental steps for ensuring a smooth change of solution and increase users transition from the ‘old way of doing things’ to the new. Each step serves as a cornerstone in navigating the challenges of bringing a new ERP system online. This guide aims to provide you with actionable insights and tools for success.

1. Stakeholder communication and planning

First and foremost, identify all key stakeholders within your organisation. This group should include executives, department heads, and IT personnel. The development of a comprehensive communication plan that consolidates essential information ensures clear and open communications that sets your ERP project up well at the start.

Also, the inclusion of a planning structure and framework for your ERP implementation will help to maximise engagement from all key stakeholders. This plan should outline the key objectives, timeline, steps, and milestones of the change initiative.

Before implementing any changes, it is crucial to conduct a thorough risk assessment as well. This will identify potential risk types associated with the proposed changes, such as operational disruptions, supply chain disruptions, quality issues, and financial risks. This assessment will help you drive and develop strategies to mitigate these risks.

Change for the new ERP system must start at the top if you want your people across the business to embrace the solution.

2. Appoint ERP Change Management Champions

Within your leadership team, it is essential that you appoint someone to be a Change Champion and Project Manager. These champions communicate with all stakeholders keeping them informed and engaged throughout the entire ERP implementations.

They are the internal advocates and experts who guide users through the changes with a clear definition of steps. They offer support, answer questions, help facilitate communication, address concerns, and encourage their colleagues.

3. Change readiness assessments

Unfortunately, when changes are met by user resistance and confusion it often indicates a lack of communication and not being adequately engaged. You can overcome this by conducting readiness assessments to gauge the organisation’s willingness to adapt. These assessments can be done in several different ways ranging from a formal survey to a casual conversation over coffee. Such assessments provide insights into how well your workforce is prepared.

Engaging in conversations with employees at all levels of the organisation allows you to understand their individual perspectives and concerns. These interactions can provide qualitative data that complements the information gathered through formal surveys affording you the opportunity to address any concerns and allay fears that may arise.

By involving people in the change process with clear communication, training programs, and opportunities for feedback you can overcome many roadblocks and increase user adoption quicker. By fostering an inclusive environment, you can mitigate resistance and gain support for the proposed changes.

4. Training and skill development

The next crucial step is training and skill development for the people, your team, who will be using the new ERP system. The aim is to equip employees with the essential skills to use the new ERP system efficiently. An informed workforce will be more confident and capable in navigating the new system.

Our FlexSafe methodology prioritises employee empowerment by training the Change Champions at the end of each surge, not in one large information ‘dump’ at the very end. Through customised, interactive training sessions at different stages throughout the implementation, we enhance that your people acquire the skills and knowledge needed. The benefit of our FlexSafe’s step-by-step approach ensures that your people are well-equipped and confident to use your ERP system.

This collaborative approach allows for timely feedback and any adjustments if required, ensuring readiness and adaptability.

5. ERP change management impact analysis

For any ERP implementation project to be successful it is essential that you analyse how the new ERP system will impact various departments, roles, and processes.

Starting with in-depth change impact analysis that will identify potential disruptions and challenges. From this, you can develop a mitigation strategy that will plan for these variables in advance.

Once these potential impacts are understood, you can create a targeted mitigation strategy. This strategy should address both short-term disruptions and long-term changes in workflow.

By proactively planning for these variables, you reduce the negative impact and increase the likelihood of a smooth implementation.

6. Change resistance management

So how can the risks associated with changes be managed resourcefully? The identification of any potential sources of resistance ascertained from the Change Readiness Assessments.

  • Be proactive by providing forums where employees can openly discuss their concerns.
  • Address these early murmurs, whether it’s by hosting meetings or through informal chats.
  • Managing this “noise” helps in maintaining focus and productivity during the transition.
  • Open and transparent communication collaboration is crucial in gaining employee buy-in.
  • Clearly articulate the reasons behind the proposed changes and how they align with the organisation’s goals.
  • Ensure that employees understand the benefits and potential challenges associated with the changes.
  • Regularly provide updates and encourage two-way communication to address any concerns or questions.

7. Continuous improvement, monitoring, and feedback

So now your ERP system has gone live. What now?

Post-implementation, it is crucial to monitor how well the system is being utilised. You can collect feedback from end users and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement. Then you work with your ERP solution provider or internal team to refine and repair.

An ERP system should not be a set and forget situation. By regularly seeking employee feedback to assess their level of understanding, satisfaction, and any challenges they may be facing with the system, will ensure long-term success, organisational wide system use, and Return-On-Investment (ROI) over the life of the solution.

8. Celebrate success

You’ve come a long way since an ERP system was just an agenda item for discussion at a leadership meeting. So, take a moment, celebrate your hard-earned success. Recognise the milestones that represent the successful completion and overcoming of many challenges that have been achieved during the ERP implementation. The collaboration internally and with your ERP solution provider has been, at times, exhaustive as you now have a working ERP solution that is performing how you wanted for your people and business.

Take a moment to bring your people together, engage and acknowledge their hard work and dedication, and show appreciation for their contributions to the project’s success. Team celebrations boost morale and serve as a fitting end to a project well-executed. After all, it’s a collective win, and acknowledging it strengthens your organisational culture.


Successfully implementing an ERP system is no small feat. It involves not just the integration of new technology, but also managing the human elements that interact with this technology daily. A well-planned change management strategy is indispensable for navigating the project complexities.

By diligently focusing on the eight areas outlined you have set the course for a successful, smooth implementation. This ensures your organisation’s long-term success, ROI, mitigates risk, and enhances employee satisfaction and productivity.

So, whether you’re in the planning stages or already underway, this ERP Readiness – Change Management Guide can be your roadmap to ERP implementation success.

Are you ready to save time and solve the most complex challenges in your business?

NetSuite is a full, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite that gives organisations what they need to run efficiently and accelerate seamless scalable growth. Supporting 37,000 customers in 219 countries and territories worldwide, NetSuite has everything you need to grow, in one place, on a single cloud platform.

If you are considering an ERP solution, take a look at what we do, how we got here, and how NetSuite works. Our FlexSafe™ERP methodology ensures that every NetSuite implementation is meticulously executed that is transparent, collaborative and increases user adoption by reducing change resistance. We have a proven track record of process expertise, and providing scalable cloud solutions.

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