Do You Have an ERP Super User?
You just selected your ERP system and your company is gearing up for a full-scale implementation and all the requirements and planning that go into that. It takes a lot of hours and a lot of brain power, so how is it that you could possibly miss a step? One of the most important elements for success is the training you offer your staff on the new system. You should go into your ERP installation with a fully documented training strategy, as well as a plan to document and capture procedural changes. Even if your organization does not overlook this commonly missed step, you may still hit a brick-wall after go-live. Every organization needs to have a super user. These users are the backbone of success for your business software. Their job includes training others, including new users on the software, maintain data integrity, troubleshoot issues, and bridge the gap between the software and the business needs. Investing time and money early in the installation process on training can ensure less headaches and quicker adoption of the new system.
Why would you need a super user you may ask? It is common after your go-live for your IT department and even your ERP Consultant to start getting swamped with help desk requests, user questions, customization requests, or with any complex fixes that may result from the installation. Depending how large your IT support staff is, they may be burdened with months of work just from the launch of your new ERP system. A super user is an end-user that is trained extensively in the ERP system, has a knack for understanding and using technology, can speak technical enough to understand the system but can also speak business lang,uage enough that they can help take the technical jargon and help break it down so that non-technical employees can understand. They act as the touch point and the mediator between the software and the users. Pre-selecting a super user before finalizing ERP system selection and having them involved in every step of the process, could mean the difference between success and failure in your project.
Now, it is very important when selecting a super user, that you give this person the decision making ability and trust to handle many of the common issues that will arise in daily use of the new system, or else they aren’t really lifting the burden from the IT department. This person also needs to act as the internal champion of the system and maintain a positive outlook throughout the entire project. Finally, this person needs to understand the business processes and best practices of the organization and understand how to use the system to remain in line with those best practices.
Here are some things to keep in mind when making your selection for your super user:
- Your super user will need to have working hours available to prioritize learning how to use the ERP system and being an active participant in the implementation process. Most super user are invaluable employees within your organization and already have full work-loads, so make sure you lighten their workload enough to give them the time to do this role properly.
- Consider having more than 1 super user. Having 2 or 3 super users will allow each of them to have a specialization when it comes to the system. ERP systems are complex and have a great deal of functionality, so if you can divide this up among a few people, they will have the bandwidth to become experts on their assigned modules and can deepen the expertise level you have on staff. Keep in mind, you will need to lighten the workload for all the super users and have all of them involved in the implementation process, so you need to make sure you are able to sacrifice that much labor. If you aren’t, stick with one.
- Super users need to document work instructions and develop user guides and will need to keep updating these as processes and items are changed within the system. This way as you add new users or users change roles in the organization, they have an easier time learning the system based on written and proven documentation. You can’t guarantee your super user will always be around to help with post-implementation support, so thorough documentation of their knowledge and experiences with the software can be critical to your success. Keep in mind it is way easier to document processes as they are occurring. If your super user tries to go back after the fact and document their processes, you can be certain they are only going to retain a % of this knowledge.
- Chose someone who can handle the additional workload. Even though you should take steps to lessen their workload during the ERP implementation process, there will still be additional responsibility and accountability added to their plate, and this can be frustrating and challenging for even the highest performing employees. Choose someone who can handle a higher workload, long hours, increased frustration, but who can also recognize when it may be time to delegate responsibility when the burden becomes too much for them to handle alone.
- They will essentially become the trainer, so chose someone with the personality to do so. Your super user will essentially take the knowledge from the implementation team and train the users of your system on this knowledge. They should develop a toolkit to make completing this step easier.
The investment and knowledge you give your ERP super user will pay off many times over through the life of your ERP system. These valuable users fill the roles of subject matter experts, problem solvers, and leaders. They are the link between the software and the physical business processes, so make sure you devote time and energy into helping them succeed. Considering rewarding your super user for this important role they are playing, it will benefit your organization’s bottom line as well.
It is also important that all of your users know who this super user is and how to find them. A company wide announcement should go out regarding the role, including who is handling what aspects of the ERP system if you have a team, and how to determine whether a help request needs to go to IT or to an ERP super user. Your IT department will certainly be greatful for helping streamline the items that come across their desks.
2W Tech is a certified Epicor ERP partner and has over 25 years working with Epicor installations, upgrades, and project management. If you are in need of a new ERP system, or just need help maximizing the system you already have installed, give us a call today and see how we can help.