One of the key requirements for the successful implementation of a new ERP software solution is a well-defined and executed training plan. A training plan should document how, when, and where all executive, functional, and technical user personnel will learn how to execute their work processes in the new system.
Some of the key elements of a training plan include whether the software vendor or implementation services provider will train all end users or if a train-the-trainer approach will be used. A train-the-trainer approach is one in which key members of the implementation core team become functional experts or super users who then train their peers and colleagues within various functional areas.
Another decision to be made is how much of the training will be performed in an on-site classroom environment, via off-site remote or Internet-based training, or via computer-based or self-directed methods. Please note that these methods are not mutually exclusive and may be used in combination during a successful implementation training process.
Some of the key aspects that will help determine how training is performed will be determined by the sheer number of personnel to train, the number of locations at which the personnel to be trained reside, and whether or not an entire workgroup can be trained concurrently vs. needing to stagger their training to keep portions of the team engaged in day-to-day operations while training others.
When the customer implementing new software is of any substantial size with multiple locations, a train-the-trainer approach typically can be delivered at a reduced cost over a method of having the software vendor or implementation services provider train all functional users. Another benefit of a train-the-trainer approach is that the company implementing the new ERP software will generally come away with better overall internal functional knowledge because of the depth of training of the super users who become the internal trainers. If this method is of interest, don’t assume that a given software vendor or implementation services provider has a core competency in training internal trainers. Make certain to ask the various vendors about their training approaches and preferences during the software evaluation process.
While remote or Internet-based training can be performed concurrently with personnel from various locations without the need for travel, a key element which can be lost by using this approach is the ability for the trainer to walk around and observe the participants’ comprehension during hands-on exercises. There will be both hands-on learners and lecture learners, and it will be imperative to cater to the needs of both groups equally.
Finally, there are advantages to using canned training aids such as computer-based training including the ability to ensure that a consistent level of training is provided and that the training materials can be used after initial production Go Live with the new system for ongoing training of existing and new personnel. Ongoing training is a critical success factor to prolong the longevity of the ERP system and enable the company who is implementing new software to use the system as-designed and as extensively as possible.