Even the most sophisticated ERP system that automates much of the supply chain requires employee interaction with the software. Forgetting this fact can cost a company. What is designed as a streamlined workstream can bog down when a user is uncomfortable or inefficient at using the software. It is imperative that the process of implementing a new ERP system include end user training. Employees are naturally resistant to change, and awkwardness with new software tools can increase that resistance. Fortunately, end user training can alleviate these problems. There are three options for addressing this need for training: in-house training, outsourcing, and a hybrid of the two.
For many companies, especially mid-sized organizations, in-house training is the most cost efficient method of training end users. There is no need to spend time bringing a third party up-to-speed on internal processes before designing the training course. In addition, the end users may respond better to an internal trainer who is “one of us,” breaking down resistance and giving them confidence that they too can learn the system. Some ERP solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics AX offer tools designed to assist a company in developing a course. Dynamics AX comes with a Task Recorder that allows trainers to take screenshots throughout a workstream and save it to a Word file for further development.
For some companies, the scope of end user training is beyond what can be addressed by internal resources. In such cases, organizations can turn to professional course developers and trainers who are experts at developing and delivering courses that meet a company’s specific needs. Reaching out to an external source can be more expensive, but in some cases it is the best route. For example, some large, global companies need to train so many users that it is not feasible to assign an internal resource. These companies sometimes embed an outsourced professional into the company for several months while the new ERP system in adopted. As professionals, these trainers know how to coordinate different delivery methods (e.g., self-paced online courses vs. trainer-led groups) to maximize user adoption. These trainer-led sessions can be more effective because they are conducted by a professional.
Some companies have a third party design a course , then have an internal super user present the materials to the end users. The users have the benefit of having ‘one of them’ deliver a course, but also benefit by using course materials that have been developed by instructional design experts. These professionals can also give the internal trainers tips on effective delivery methods. A hybrid solution also works well when a company needs to supplement trainer-led sessions with online tutorials that require a third party’s expertise.