Why Overcome User Resistance to ERP

PostedOn: 2018-10-05 12:07:47

For today’s manufacturing and distribution organization looking to transition from the status quo of legacy systems to modern ERP, it doesn’t find much bigger than evaluating, selecting and implementing a new ERP solution.

In a typical project, it’s an unfortunate reality that the project team spends much of their time managing resistance from various quarters of the organization.

Looking at User Resistance to ERP

Industry analysts define resistance to change as an insistence that the status quo remains and with the aim of there is no need to change it.

An organizational change management approach puts into place initiatives that manage resistance and to make the organization change-ready for the initiative to succeed.

In this post, we will look at the causes of resistance to change in ERP and offer an approach for development teams to manage and address user resistance to ERP

Factors Leading to User Resistance of ERP:

In previous industry research projects, From the surveys, the researchers composed the following factors that led to users resisting the use of applications, explicitly ERP applications:

1. Resistance based on system dissatisfaction

A significant resistance factor uncovered by researchers was in the area of systems design.  Resistance is common when the new system is neither simple nor easy to utilize, or if the system’s features do not serve the needs of the users. If an evaluation and selection project led to a bad fit, users quickly note that the features of the systems do not easily comply with the company’s workflow.

2. People-factor resistance

This category of resistance includes those users who come with biases or were predisposed to resist a certain ERP solution due to their prior experiences. Some users resist change because they have not been part of the team tasked with effecting the change in the organization. They, therefore, feel excluded in the transform process and hence the resistance. Existing relationships with the project team members can also color an ERP implementation project.  Researchers note that many users feel threatened by the new system if they see their jobs at risk or did not receive appropriate training.

3.Resistance based on workflow interactions

The researchers noted that some teams resisted an ERP implementation because the way they worked was no longer the same.  They considered that the processes did not tone well with the ERP system, which required considerable effort to redesign the processes in order to implement the system. Others were threatened because of the redistribution of work and responsibilities which took place after the system was launched. Implementing an ERP solution means acquiring new skills to be able to use the new systems. The fear or apprehension that one does not have what it takes to learn these new skills may translate into resistance.

4. Power and politics related resistance

This type of user resistance is related to perceived power shifts and changes in the political structure of the organization.  For instance, the launch of the system often provides are the distribution of power in the organization which would survive a threat to some. There could have been internal political disputes that made the system implementation difficult.  In addition, researchers saw cases where one group or team member took advantage of the system implementation to raise their rank in the organization.

Strategies to Mitigate User Resistance to ERP

Delivers tremendous value to manufacturing and distribution teams facing these resistance factors.  Read more about organizational change management focus areas here. In assessing the resistance factors summarized above, industry researchers found that organizations can mitigate user fighting to ERP by putting into place several key strategies.  A summary of these strategies includes developing the business case for change, effective communications, executive support, training, and organizational considerations.