February 16, 2017
Are you in the middle of launching new ERP software or planning an implementation in the coming months? Without effective communication guiding your rollout, even the most powerful, useful platform will go unused. Set your implementation up for success by creating an effective launch communication plan. Let these 5 questions guide you.
- How will this system make the lives of my colleagues better?
Adoption of the new technology hinges on how effectively you communicate the vision for it. What does it do and why are we moving to it? If you lead with the technical details and pre-launch checklists, you’ll lose your audience.
In a piece by Harvard Business Review, Didier Bonnet of Capgemini Consulting says, “Employees need to understand why [the new technology] is an improvement from what they had before.”
Without compelling reasons to transition, most employees will perceive the new technology as disruptive to their comfortable routine.
Put yourselves in each department’s shoes. What’s in it for Accounting and for Manufacturing? What about Sales and Marketing?
Also remember that communicating the vision doesn’t end once you’ve announced the new system. You must reiterate the “what and why” at each stage of the rollout process.
- What influencers can I ask to champion the rollout?
First, if top leadership isn’t backing this new technology and making that clear to the rest of the company, very few people will adopt it.
But beyond the executive team, who else in your company could you ask to be an ambassador for this change? Choose someone who has demonstrated enthusiasm and success in championing other initiatives.
- How will we educate people about using this new tool?
Your colleagues already have a full-time job. Asking them to learn a new platform is almost like giving them a part-time job on top of that. Be sensitive to this.
How can you communicate in ways that make the most of people’s time and make it easy for them to learn?
People are daunted by software user documentation because it’s murky, cumbersome, and bursting with jargon. Communicate in everyday language. Keep videos or documentation short and organized. And if your mom couldn’t understand your communication, start over.
Build incentives into your communication plan. The first 5 people to sign up for a training webcast get a $10 Starbucks gift card. The first 5 people to do XYZ in preparation for launch get a $25 Amazon gift card. And so on.
- How will we set expectations for day of go-live?
Create and communicate schedules. Are you rolling out in phases? Outline the “who” and the “when” clearly so that people aren’t surprised when they can’t access legacy systems any longer.
What can people expect on the day of rollout? Who do they contact if they have problems with the system?
When questions, concerns, or problems roll in, be quick to address them. For those who experience a critical issue on launch day, you need to provide a response that at least sets expectations for a solution.
- How will we sustain engagement on our new ERP system?
Many companies mistakenly think that once the new technology launches, the job of communicating is done.
Making it past launch day is only half the battle. You’ve got to show up after rollout through continued communication and guidance.
Continually communicate why people should keep using the tool and motivate them use it.
Celebrate quick wins departments are experiencing to create momentum. Create FOMO throughout the company by sharing employee success stories of those who are benefiting from using the new system.
It’s not too late!
If you’ve already started your software transition without considering these questions, it’s not too late to finish strong. Review the suggestions and see what you and your team can pull together. We’re here to help, if you still have questions, contact us!