Posted by: datango AG | July 25, 2011

Users struggling to keep pace with change?

I read the recent Sage ERP blog on the need for agility and it raised a number of interesting (and valid, in my opinion) points regarding the importance of being able to change quickly and easily. Naturally, the value of being able to readily adapt the technology that underpins your business to changing business circumstances, particularly in industries where regulatory change is the norm not the exception, has its significant benefits; but it also prompted the logical question, “How will the users keep pace?”
When we embark on a new project and we plan all of the materials that are used to support an end user enablement or training initiative for rollout, we generally think (and budget) for that first ‘go-live’ event. Frequently, the required materials (you know, the PPT slide decks, process documents, training manuals, job aides, online training demonstrations/simulations, assessments and/or quizzes, etc.) are created by various people using disparate tools for each type of deliverable with little ‘connection’ between each object. Then these are translated into multiple languages (if applicable) and modified for local market needs before being pushed to users as preparation for that go-live.
So when there are just 100 processes and supporting transactions, that’s 800-900 objects multiplied by the number of languages that could, conceivably, require an update for a wholesale system overhaul. In fact, even when just 3 processes/transactions change, it’s approximately 100 objects that must be modified if we’re delivering materials in only 4 languages. So what happens? Generally, it either doesn’t get done or only a ‘few’ objects are updated, rendering much of the information that users rely on as obsolete or, perhaps worse, inaccurate. The resulting user confusion prompts data entry errors or expensive calls to the already over-burdoned help-desk or power users.
So while there’s definitely value in the agile nature of an ERP system itself, this cannot be without a strategy and suitably agile solution that permits the ability to maintain the materials that will support end users in this environment of ‘constant change.’ Only when both the system and its users remain in synch is true business agility (in this context) possible and without one, the value enabled by the agility of the other is diminished greatly. 
As you’ve come to expect from my posts so far, this ‘user agility’ problem is one that our software actually helps companies of all sizes solve (I know, these always lead to a shameless plug). We’re also proud to work with a number of ERP software companies who recognize that ERP software agility also requires end user agility if it is to hold real value. Perhaps the most obvious example comes in the form of our friends at UNIT4 whose Businesses Living IN Change (BLINC™) ethos underpins this ‘change friendly’ aspect of their solution and is supported from an end user perspective via our technology in the form of UNIT4 Topaz. Take a look at how UNIT4 helps their clients’ users keep pace with UNIT4 Topaz by clicking on the image below:
UNIT4 Topaz
UNIT4 Topaz Brochure

Keep changing!

Steve, datango

PS: Businesses Living IN Change (BLINC) is a trademark of UNIT4. All other trademarks are the proprty of their respective owners.


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