Training Tips for Cloud ERP Deployments
One of the most important stages of implementing any new ERP software is the training of the end user – this is particularly true when implementing Cloud technology. To unlock the full cost saving advantages of ERP software it is essential that all of its users not only know exactly how to use it but also understand why the new system is better than the one they are used too. Here are the IRIS ERP software five important tips for planning and training which are often over looked.
Tip 1: Your training should become education
You will no doubt start by creating a how-to-guide for your software, this is great but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just talking your users through this will be enough. Just because a software solution automates a lot of the ERP process does not mean the users do not need to understand why they need to perform each task. A little extra time spent learning about the background details of the system will make the transition more efficient over all.
In the first instance understanding what the software is doing is important to help users with the transition, many users will have become very familiar with the companies previous solution. It can be difficult to change behaviour and if the users do not know why the change is better for them and the company they are more likely to resist, seeing learning how to use the ERP software as extra work enforced upon them. Helping employees feel part of the change can make it a lot easier and even exciting.
After the software is implemented, knowledge of how the system works can also help avoid errors. If a user does not know, for example, what happens when they enter a sales order and how this affects manufacturing or the customer mistakes can be more likely; however with a sound understanding of the entire process a user will find it easier to remember what they need to do. It will also help to give users a more personal connection to the end product. Users will feel like they are helping to create something rather than feeling like a meaningless cog in a machine.
Tip 2: Education doesn’t finish
Software solutions like ERP software and a movement towards an information society is changing people’s attitude towards education; you need to incorporate this into your training. Education should be on going and incorporate both self teaching and assisted teaching. It is no longer enough to just run a class after the software is first implemented and then declare the training done. Software is constantly changing and as result learning needs to be an ongoing process. It is therefore important to make sure you keep revisiting your training and improving user proficiency.
The reliance on the internet for self teaching also means users are now more comfortable teaching themselves at their own pace. This should obviously be complimented with traditional training and access to face to face help if they need it. However having lessons they can look up whenever they need to can be very important and useful for the user.
One of the benefits of cloud software is that you can ensure training documents are constantly up to date. Everyone can always access the best available material.
Having this constantly ongoing education will also make it easier for any new employees to quickly get up to speed with your software.
Tip 3: Mix your training styles
Just like with any other kind of training you need to be aware that there are many different learning styles; as explained above these should include instructor lead learning with keep-able materials. The materials should include both text and images as different learners absorb more from the different formats. This should be more than just preparing a manual for your ERP software, it’s also important to include guided activities to help the users learn as many users will be active learners who gain most from doing.
For some users the time spent with the instructor will be the most useful, there should be an opportunity for the instructor to lecture; passive listening is when a lot of people absorb information best, but also an opportunity for interaction and discussion geared towards active learning.
With cloud software you can also include discussion forums allowing users to keep in touch and work together on their training the best way to learn can often be as a team, teaching and learning from each other; and as mentioned above this shouldn’t need to stop at the end of the training.
Tip 4: Allow opportunities for informal training
The formal atmosphere of the class room isn’t ideal for everyone; make time for users to discuss problems they are having informally. This could be in a more social situation after any training has happened, or perhaps visiting the users whilst they are actually working with the software so you can informally help them with any difficulties.
Tip 5: View education as an investment
It can be too easy to let your training feel like just another expense which needs to be done to tick a box, but this is not an area to take short cuts in. Training is an investment and the more you put into training the more you will get out of the software, no matter how much time and money your new ERP software could save a business, it is only as good as the users who operate it, they need to be proficient and happy with the software to demonstrate the great investment it offers.
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IRIS Exchequer accounting software provides strong support for your finance team, its wholesale and distribution management software covers all wholesale and distribution operational requirements, from stock forecasting to managing returns and automating processes to maximise efficiency.