Change can be difficult to manage, and the bigger the change, the tougher it is to manage and embrace. And whilst it’s a broad sweeping statement, it is widely accepted that the human species actually doesn’t like change. But if it weren’t for change, we’d all be standing still, never progressing, never solving challenges and improving how we live and work. To solve this conundrum, change usually becomes more acceptable if it’s done at a steady pace and in small steps.
Applying this real-world scenario to IT systems, especially to ERP, the same principles can allow an organization to introduce change at a pace that’s appropriate to ensure successful adoption.
Don’t be put off by new features. Embrace them and learn to adopt them at the right time and the right pace.
This is one of the reasons why many software vendors now introduce new features across a period of many months or releases, providing a gradual drop-feed of enhancements and new capabilities, rather than a whizz-bang release of a brand new function. From a vendor’s perspective this allows them to bring new features to a market at the earliest opportunity, bringing just enough to entice people to kick the tyres and to start to embrace those features. But it also allows them to influence the second, third, fourth releases based on feedback gained in the first version. It’s a two-way street, and it’s equally important for early-adopters to give that feedback to vendors. In other words, help shape the product.
As a consumer of ERP solutions, keep your userbase informed of new capabilities being provided by the upstream vendor, particularly if you know there is pent-up demand for these capabilities. Encourage early adoption of the features, taking care to ensure your userbase knows this is “version one” and to please provide feedback. If your userbase adopts a feature but recognizes areas for improvement, gather that and feed it back to your vendors. Who knows, the next release from the vendor might contain the changes you wanted, and that means fewer gaps or less effort for you to bridge the gap yourself.
This might sound blindingly obvious but it’s no. As both a software vendor and a software consumer, we’ve heard comments from clients: We’ll use it when it’s ready; I took a look but it had gaps, so we’ll not look again; we’ll write our own solution, etc. These are all missed opportunities, and if this feedback had either been shared with the vendor, or shared but done so earlier, most vendors are grateful for this feedback. After all, they want to deliver features that work the way you need them to work, otherwise what’s the point?
But this all comes back to managing the change, and managing the expectation with your users. Don’t be put off by new features. Embrace them and learn to adopt them at the right time and the right pace. You’re more likely to win over your userbase when you want them to adopt a new feature if you’ve brought them on the journey with you and it’s been journey of discovery, rather than simply a destination.