Top 5 Change Management Challenges to Address Before Implementing an ERP System

Is your small business ready for a whole new level of productivity and profitability? Then it may be time to seriously consider adopting an ERP solution. An enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is an all-in-one data and business process management tool that uses a single database.

This all-in-one software ensures all users across the business have access to consistent, real-time, and accurate information. An ERP system will aid your business processes, empowering your business to make agile business decisions through:

  • Eliminating process bottlenecks
  • Unlocking new growth potential
  • Gaining real-time visibility

From inventory and supply chain to finances and operations, an ERP system can do it all.

But without careful consideration, adopting an ERP project can also be disruptive and catastrophic, leading to poor integration and poor return on investment (ROI).

If your small business is ready to adopt an ERP system, here are some critical change management challenges to address to avoid implementation failure and ensure the ERP journey seamlessly integrates with your business processes.

#1. Employee engagement

Getting everyone involved is critical to the success of your ERP project. A crucial element of integrating an ERP solution to your business processes is to communicate the need for change. Addressing and articulating the objectives and strategy behind an ERP project minimizes passive resistance from end-users thereby increasing the chances of success.

Spend time communicating the importance of the ERP project with stakeholders. By clearly communicating the benefits of an ERP system, your project can gain buy-in and generate enthusiasm from end-users to create a seamless and successful implementation.

#2. Workforce transition and impact

As ERP software is designed to manage entire operations and streamline processes. Roles performed may change and your workforce may see an impact on workload balance. The efficiency gains resulting from ERP implementation may increase or decrease the current workload balance.

It’s important that such changes are addressed before integrating ERP software into your business’ processes. A comprehensive organizational structure strategy must be devised to address workforce transition. Your change management plan should account for workforce transition needs, impacted roles, and departmental shifts.

#3. Removal of roadblocks

To reduce the issues raised over implement ERP software, your project must gain adequate sponsorship from organizational leaders and from those with authoritative power.

Gaining visible endorsement from all levels of leadership from the outset removes barriers to success and motivates end-users. This will benefit the project by creating enthusiastic end-users committed to implementing the ERP software.

On the other hand, a lack of visible endorsement from authoritative figures generates distrust, increasing stumbling blocks, confusion, and barriers which only work to impede work progress.

#4. End-user training

While considered an afterthought, end-user training is critical and an essential component of ERP success. Implementing an ERP system without understanding the importance of end-user training will drive divisiveness among departments and create confusion when competing initiatives arise. Appropriately structuring the ERP project with clearly established roles ensures continued post-live support.

Your end-user training program should include a skills bench assessment to address training needs and identify potential “super users” who can be deployed to support workload balancing, and provide post-live support and continuous advocacy for the project.

Providing focused, practical training complete with targeted training ensures end-user accountability, ensuring better implementation and end-user integration.

#5. Dealing with unforeseen challenges

A common element among major projects is they are accompanied by unforeseen challenges. Whether it is the failure to analyze properly, or unanticipated errors, challenges will present themselves. These can have a serious impact on your ERP project and can lead to wasted workarounds, bottlenecks, and the loss of valuable time or financial resources.

Proactively identifying potential challenges and unanticipated impacts discipline your business to manage expectations and deal with most, if not all, possible issues.

Effectively managing expectations and formatting solutions to deal with issues conveys a sense of confidence with the project, enabling your end-users to maintain a positive outlook.

Being able to communicate discrepancies or unanticipated changes provides clear feedback to enable fixes and solutions to take place. Encouraging engagement empowers collaboration, creating solutions through informed and calm discussions.

Unexpected crises and situations may occur, but by identifying areas for continuous improvement, your ERP project can anticipate and diffuse any potential challenges.


For any business, ERP systems are transformational. Implementing an ERP system in your business processes is a major step towards creating organizational change for the better. But as is the case with any major project, such changes will come with management challenges.

Being able to address potential issues in change management during ERP implementation safeguards your business from potential failure or disruptive integration, effectively enabling your business to fully realize the benefits of an ERP solution.

By taking steps to mitigate such challenges, your business can maximize its ROI on your new ERP investment, ensuring your business continues to drive increased sales and growth.

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