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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) 

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) initiatives have their own unique challenges.  ERP projects are concerned with the design, development, and implementation of training for the company's new enterprise-wide computer system.  The training provides each job incumbent affected by the system with the skill and knowledge required to effectively interact with it.  The emphasis of ERP projects are to be on providing job tools that minimize the impact of the change, facilitating mastery of the system as quickly as possible, and  minimizing the amount of actual training that must be conducted.

The deliverable materials for ERP project usually include:

  • Job training aids

  • Instructor's Guide

  • Participant's Training Manual

  • Train-the-trainer workshop

                  

          Why undertake a training project for your ERP initiative?         


An enterprise system is a "Major System" that has a significant impact upon all facets of the business in terms of planning, organizing, executing, and managing work.  The implementation of "Major Systems" results in an uncertainty and fear of change that can work counter to plan, delaying or even stalling full implementation.

Training and documentation in some form accompanies almost every software package implementation and is usually prepared by both programmers and technical writers.  This material is valuable to a point and does serve a purpose -- as the basic system component of a comprehensive performance-based job training development effort.

Most enterprise resource systems fail because training is not provided beyond that provided by the software vendor.  It has been our experience that most if not all software end-user documentation and training fails to achieve its fundamental purpose -- to make life easy for the user.  Failure, in varying degrees, occurs for two fundamental reasons:

First, the materials themselves are usually written by technical writers, who in all probability, have system analysis or programming backgrounds.

Second, technical writers have no idea how adults learn, how work is performed, or how the human brain controls the performance of complex tasks.

 

Traditionally, companies use various approaches to implement major new system technology with much the same result -- work becomes punishing and performance is negatively impacted.  This occurs because training:

  • Does not link the new system to the job specific tasks comprising the user's job.

  • Often consists of nothing more than a cursory overview of system function, reviews of screen prints, vague quick explanations of how tasks are performed, and long "in-training" times learning the system while on the job.

  • Assumes a level of system knowledge that simply does not exist within the skill repertoire of the user.

  • Emphasizes the system architecture rather than the steps that must be performed to successfully accomplish a task using the new system, and

  • Does not include system documentation that has been designed as a job tool and that address actual job tasks.

New system implementations are most effectively accomplished by instilling both competence and confidence in the workforce.  Competence refers to the ability of users to easily navigate through the system and use the system to efficiently, effectively, and accurately use it as a job tool.  Confidence refers to the belief that the system benefits both the user and the company and it does what it was designed to do. In short, it makes life easier. Making life easier translates directly into higher levels of job efficiency, minimal job frustration, less errors, system acceptance, and much faster training times. Competence and confidence are realized by acquiring knowledge of how the system functions, impacts each individual job, improves operations, and integrates into each individual job function.

Training must focus on “job tasks” rather than directly on the system. The difference on the surface is subtle, however, from a human performance standpoint, it is critical to the quick internalization of the process and to the overall understanding of system function. A common example would be word processing documentation that describes all of the aspects and attributes of a system rather than the series of steps required to complete specific tasks such as, Set Tabs and Margins,  rather than - Prepare a Business Letter, Prepare a Newsletter, etc..  Learning to use a new system by eliminating the need to apply complex and sometimes abstract rules to actual job situations (a very difficult activity) greatly minimizes the training that must be presented.

We have carefully designed this training package to avoid the common problems and pitfalls associated with most system training initiatives; job relevance, job task versus system focus, on-the-job reference, and "real world" task practice.