So you’ve just selected an ERP system, and your business is getting ready for the implementation phase. Amongst the bustle of requirements gathering, business scoping, project planning and system design, it’s easy to overlook one of the most essential elements for success – assigning a super-user.
Super-users are end-users who have been trained extensively in the software, and are critical to the continued success of your ERP system. It is up to them to train new users, troubleshoot issues, and bridge the gap between the software and the business. They are also there to ensure the ERP system evolves to meet the needs of the business, and maximise return on investment.
Here are 5 tips for getting the most out of your super-user:
1. Selecting a Super-User
When selecting your super-user(s), it’s important to identify key business users who have an aptitude and enthusiasm for your ERP system. Super-users should understand the business, and how their assigned areas function. They should have an understanding of the business pain points, and how the ERP has been implemented to support the business. ERP super-users need to endeavour to support and fulfil three objectives:
- Automation and transformation of business processes to increase productivity
- Greater visibility of information to enable better decision making
- Education of business and software best practices
2. Training your Super-User
Becoming a super-user or ‘expert’ in any ERP software is no easy task. It takes a considerable amount of time to learn all the software functions and business processes in depth. Businesses need to understand this and be prepared to give them the time they need. Your super-users still have to manage their day-to-day workload, so be patient and realistic. If you have multiple super-users, it’s a good idea to encourage specialisation and assign each super-user a business area or module in which they can become proficient. This shares around the workload, and allows for a deeper level of expertise.
Super-users should receive individual training sessions and one-on-one time with the software, as well as sitting in on group training sessions to gauge the reaction of other end-users to the new software, and begin to understand how best to resolve issues with employees.
Investing in their training during the initial stages of an ERP implementation will save your business vast amounts of time, money and stress in the future.
3. Document their Knowledge
You can’t guarantee your super-user will always be around, so extensively documenting their knowledge, processes and helpful tips will be essential for support post-implementation. This documentation will also be extremely helpful when training new users, and can help translate complex software processes and terms into information that can be easily understood by all employees. It’s also important to update your documentation as the ERP system evolves to meet the needs of the business.
4. Ensure your employees know where to turn
Your super-users will act as the intermediary between the software and its everyday end-users, and will assist employees with system functionality and business process queries. Small issues with the software, data corruption, or lack of process knowledge can lead to frustrated end-users abandoning the new ERP system and reverting to their old methods. It’s up to the super-user to respond to their requests, and encourage employees to remain positive about the ERP.
Having an understanding of the business needs, how the ERP system has been configured, and the software’s limitations and capabilities is very helpful when assessing issues and defining solutions for employees. But your super-user won’t be useful to anyone if your employees don’t know they exist. Ensure your entire organisation is aware who your super-users are, and who is responsible for each department or module. Clear processes should be in place so employees know exactly who and where to go to if an issue arises.
5. Work with the IT Organisation
Super-users should act as the main points of contact when liaising with the IT organisation. When system issues or errors arise, super-users are generally the best suited to translate functional business requirements into technical requirements. They work with the ERP help desk by filtering end-user requests, and only passing along issues that can’t be resolved within the organisation, and need some sort of system fix. Your super-users should also be the main points of contact when it comes to coordinating new projects, upgrades and additional modules or licences.
Having a single or few points of contact not only makes life easier for your employees, but also ensures the IT organisation isn’t receiving requests from multiple people within your organisation. While ERP help desks are always happy to provide support, every time you make a support request you will be charged. If you have multiple users enquiring about the same issue, or asking how to complete processes that are already documented, you are wasting both time and money.
Remember, ERP systems should be run by the business, not the IT organisation. The investment and knowledge you provide your super-user(s) will be apparent throughout the life of your ERP. Dedicate the time and resources into helping them succeed, and the return on investment will be worth it.