Ten change management tips for making ERP programmes successful

Sysdoc has been involved with ERP implementations for 20 years, having provided either or both change management and training services for 40 new SAP roll outs. Additionally, Sysdoc has been involved in 200 SAP upgrade projects. During that time we have built up a vast amount of know-how in what it takes to successfully implement SAP.

Here are our top ten tips on change management for making a SAP implementation successful:

1. Start thinking “change” at a very early stage.
All too often, change is not thought about until the project has begun and it starts appearing on the horizon as an issue. However, significant opportunities can be lost if change resources are delayed. Change management activities should be part of the project plan from the beginning. In addition, the status of the change effort should be reviewed as part of the process that manages the governance of the project.
3. Advocate for the end-user.
During the business transformation, end-users can be overwhelmed. They will be presented with multiple resources which they can find confusing. Every effort should be made to ensure they are clear on what will be needed for them to perform on day one. This means there should be a high quality training plan in place which identifies each impacted end user group to make sure they receive the support they need.
5. Provide end-to-end processes.
End–to–end business processes describing the “to be” position are important and can be used as an essential reference point by many audiences; including those who will be engaged to configure the system through to the end–user.
7. Pay attention to manual activities.
Even though there has been a drive to automate as many of the business processes as possible, there will still be manual activities which need to take place. Our recommendation is that when systems related documentation is developed for end users, for example to input transactions to the ERP system, a similar level is developed relating to the manual activities.
9. Use a ‘Stop, Start, Continue’ approach.
A great way to prepare staff for the work they will be doing post-launch is to use “stop, start and continue” cards. These simple tools are produced for each role and show a “day in the life” of the role holder, what activities they will stop doing and those they will continue with and start. They help greatly in developing user understanding of the work they will be doing post-go-live and enable staff to perform effectively from day one.
2. Don’t underestimate the effort needed to make change successful.
Even if change is planned up front, the effort needed to successfully implement it is often seriously underestimated; particularly where there are large groups of staff, suppliers or other stakeholders involved. Another danger is that the change budget is often seen as an easy target for savings
4. Track benefits closely and look wider than IT.
Most IT projects are judged on price paid and performance, with a lower regard for business outcomes. However, as Michael Doane says in ‘The SAP Green Book’, “without measurement, business leaders have little evidence to present to their colleagues … other than the notion that things are better.” The benefits that the implementation will produce should be clearly identified, quantified and tracked throughout the project.
6. Define the “happy” and “unhappy” processes.
There needs to be an understanding of what can go wrong, the so-called “unhappy processes”, and the actions that should be taken in the event of this happening. Then, it ensures that the risks are mitigated and contingency planning is in place.
8. Communicate regularly and clearly.
It is essential for understanding at an early stage, in order to identify all the relevant stakeholders. This means the kind and frequency of communications to them can be tailored accordingly. Our recommendation is that communication is carried out through different media and formats, ensuring it is as clear and simple as possible.
10. Plan and provide the required post-go-live support.

Users will need post-go-live support and the sooner this is planned the more effective it will be. Ideas to support users after go-live include:

  • Floor walkers to take questions and provide on the spot support.
  • Super users within teams who are available to help.
  • Help desk – a centralised team to take calls from users.

In our experience, organisations that follow these 10 tips have a much better chance of landing the change successfully.


  • Gravatar Margie Mcalpine February 18, 2015

    Spot on - we need a poster!

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