Preparing For The Post Go-Live Stabilization Dip
The post go live productivity dip deserves attention. ERP success and organization change doesn’t end, and isn’t determined, just when you “hit the switch”. In fact, it is really just the beginning of opportunities for continuous organizational improvements and the realization of benefits and ROI. And, the value of formal and informal learning and training doesn’t stop after you “hit the switch”. During the pre go live phase, preparation and readiness training needs to consist of effective and efficient organizational stakeholder learning. This learning should be executed with a scaffolding approach such that the learning process is effective. This learning should address conceptional as well as functional ERP learning. It should include user acceptance testing (UAT), conference room piloting (CRP), and formal and official sign-off among other best practices founded in principle in order to ensure proper training.
Pre Go Live Training Is Just Half of Post Go Live
But, even given and assuming an effective and efficient pre-go-live training program, that’s really just the start. It is one thing to learn in a pre go live environment, it is another thing to learn on the job in a “real world” environment after the go-live. More to come on this in future posts, but to a certain degree, the transition past the post go-live stabilization and productivity dip is a function of human learning and the application of effective ERP organizational change learning programs. We are going to discuss the post go live productivity dip further on upcoming posts and articles, but there are multiple reasons for this dip. The key is not to just try to mitigate the productivity dip as much as possible (via the most effective and effect pre-go-live training), but to also just acknowledge and be honest about it, and then be prepared with tangible and effective post-go-live tactical actions that help ensure the transition past this productivity dip.
Key Post Go-Live Stabilization Success Concepts
Application of Learning From Pre Go Live Training
One major and primary key to post go-live transition and stabilization success comes with; 1) a continuous learning program, 2) effective and efficient transfer of knowledge to the workplace, and 3) and proper measurement, adjustment, and support for the application of the knowledge that was gained in pre go live training.
(Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, “Four Levels of Training Evaluation”, page 15)
Therefore, your ERP organizational change plan would benefit from the points of Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick in that pre go live classroom training and evaluation is just a part of success, the successful application is also critical. And the successful application needs to be wholly advocated and endorsed by the organization.
Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick are basically telling us ERP Organizational change practitioners that effective training as well as training expectations, evaluations, and the application doesn’t end after the classroom UATs and CRPs. So then, the ERP organizational change plan must have concrete, specific, organizationally aligned action items in order to ensure that training and its application is effective. This will help organizations accelerate past the known, factual, expected, and accepted (to a certain degree) post-go-live productivity dip.
Understanding That Success & Realized Benefits Aren’t Always Immediate
In “Firm Performance Effects in Relation to the Implementation and Use of Enterprise Resource Planning Systems”, Nicolaou (2011) states that ERP implementation represents a significant commitment that impacts nearly all business processes. Nicolaou also states that given the sheer nature of ERP, benefits aren’t and can’t all be realized within a short time frame. Nicolaou (2011) suggests that ROI and expected benefits can be a longer-term realization. Nicolaou further adds that the “return on assets and return on investment were negatively affected by ERP adoption in the year of and following system completion”. In other words, success and realized benefits aren’t always immediate and fully realized just because an organization “hit the switch”.
Moreover, in “Effect of enterprise resource planning implementation on organizational productivity.” Newlin (2009) states a great and true point, “ERPs evolve as they make their way through a life cycle, usually starting with conception and ending with a new way of doing business”. Newlin also describes the post go live productivity dip as:
The Moral Of The Story
To Post Go-Live Stabilization
The moral of the story to the post go-live stabilization conversation is: be honest and realistic within the organization that the effort and training (and its application) doesn’t end after go-live. The ERP benefits happen, but they depend on the holistic approach to the effort. In “Minimizing the human capital aspect of productivity disruption during the implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system”, Newlin (2009) states that “In order to minimize the productivity dip, it is necessary to have a realistic expectation regarding depth and duration of the dip, and understand the factors that contribute to the dip including how to manage them”. And then, build concrete action items into your ERP organizational change plan in which to address these factors.
Lastly, Sobyanina and Mockutė in their work “ERP post-implementation: Risk assessment” make a great point/suggestion: “In the end, it should be mentioned that the awareness of potential risk factors and their dependence on each other can facilitate managing process and help to avoid possible negative effects for a company’s business. Sometimes manager’s confidence that technology could solve any problem, might discourage employees from presenting a realistic view, which, in turn, may prevent from addressing post-implementation issues more effectively……The findings suggest that companies should invest and pay more attention not only in technological solutions but in organizational or human resource areas, e.g. every company should have a proper human resource strategy that implies not only monetary rewards but non-material values as well, such as training, seminars or participation in projects”.
Well said indeed.