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Unpacking the Critical Role of Organisational Change Management for ERP Project Success

Change Management SMC
Posted by: Sharon Squires-Hansen on
June 6, 2023

Organisational Change Management or as we refer to it at SMC, People and Business Readiness, plays an important role in ERP project success.

Change Management is the process of managing and supporting people and businesses through a change, to ensure the adoption, acceptance, and effective utilisation of new technologies within an organisation. It is especially important when undertaking an ERP implementation project. This process prepares and supports employees to be aware of the change that is being introduced and have an understanding of what that change will mean for employees, teams, and business units with the aim to build buy-in and commitment to the new technologies, processes, and systems.

In this article, we’ll unpack the critical role of Change Management for ERP project success and explore the strategies, activities, tools, and best practices employed to realise that goal.

What is Organisational Change Management or People and Business Readiness?

At SMC we have developed a People and Business Readiness enabling framework to manage the people side of changes being introduced which is a vital function in any ERP implementation project.

It consists of activities, processes, and tools that are used to prepare and support employees to achieve buy-in and commitment to the new technologies, processes, and systems. However, Change Management is not just about technology, it’s also about the people that use that technology, and managing their transition to do so.

As such, Organisational Change Management is a key component of any successful ERP implementation. It helps to ensure that the new system is adopted, accepted, and utilised by employees. It is the process of preparing, equipping, and supporting employees to successfully transition to new ways of working. This includes identifying and addressing resistance to change, educating and training employees on the new system, and providing ongoing support.

The importance of Change Management for ERP projects

ERP projects involve significant changes for organisations. They comprise new processes, technologies, and systems that require employees to learn, adapt, and adjust. Without proper Change Management, these changes can be difficult to adopt and accept. This is why it is important to understand the key role that Change Management plays in ERP implementation projects.

Change Management ensures that the transition to the new system is successful. It helps to support your organisation and leaders to make sure that employees are prepared and equipped to master the use of the new system, processes, and behaviours. Further, as the Change Manager’s role is to be across any potential issues that could arise, they will identify and support business leaders to address any resistance issues during the transition.

Without proper Change Management the transition to the new business technology systems could be difficult and unsuccessful. Change Managers support your business in this period of transition.

Key Change Management activities for ERP projects

When it comes to involving Change Management for your digital transformation project, there are several activities that can be employed to ensure success.

First, is a compelling case for why the change is needed. This includes building awareness of a vision for the future, setting clear objectives, and communicating the benefits of the new system. Building alignment across the organisations leadership to support the vision and purpose of the new systems is essential.

Second, understanding how the change will have an impact on roles, teams, business units and functions. It is important to remember that not all employees will be eager and willing to embrace the new system, so it is good to identify any potential issues before they arise and address them.

Third, adequate education and training needs to be provided. Employees need to be properly trained in the technology, processes and behaviours required to support successful operation of the new system. This includes providing access to training and support materials, offering on-site training sessions, and providing ongoing support.

Forth, progress needs to be measured and monitored throughout the project. This includes tracking key metrics, such as understanding what the change will mean for the user, leadership alignment and support of the new solution, and adoption and utilisation rates to ensure that the project is progressing as planned.

SMCs Change Management tools for ERP

Change Managers will use several tools to ensure the success of an ERP project.

At SMC, our People and Business Readiness scorecard tool assesses and tracks the digital maturity and readiness for the change. It allows organisations to track the progress of the project and adjust as needed.

Our People and Business Readiness approach outlines the key activities and plans on how we will deliver readiness for the change, allowing organisations to track and ensure that the project is progressing as planned.

A communication and engagement approach is used to ensure messages and involvement of all project activities are maximised. These will align with building awareness, understanding, buy-in and commitment to the new ways of working.

Our training and support approach incorporates a detailed assessment of the learning needs and builds a network to support and build the expertise of users to maximise the new solution utilisation.

Best Practice in Change Management

Change Management is an essential part of any large-scale project, especially when it involves technology such as an ERP system implementation. Employing Best Practices in Change Management can help ensure that the project is successful and that the desired outcomes are achieved. Key points are:

  • Ensure that all stakeholders participate in the process: this means that all stakeholders should be consulted and engaged; decision-makers, stakeholders, and those who will be impacted by the change.
  • It must be well-planned and managed with goals, objectives and timelines clearly outlined, then monitored and adjusted based on the current situation.
  • Communicate and engage with stakeholders: allowing for feedback to be provided so that the change is seamless.
  • Change Management should be properly managed: this will help to ensure that the change is implemented in the most effective way possible.


Change Management is an important part of any successful ERP project. It helps to ensure that the transition to the new system is successful and that employees are prepared and equipped to use the new system. It is the approach of managing the people and business readiness activities to maximise commitment, buy-in and speed to competence in the utilisation of new technologies, processes and behaviours within an organisation. It consists of activities, processes, and tools that are used to prepare and support employees to accept and embrace new technologies, processes, and systems. Change Managers can be guided by best practice principles when engaged in ERP project implementation to ensure that the technology project is completed successfully with all stakeholders positive and skilled up for the new ways of working. If you are considering implementing a new ERP system, it is important to understand the critical role of Change Management and how it can affect the success of the project. SMC offers professional and expert Change Management through its People and Business Readiness service.

SMC is a 100% independent advisory and consulting company that specialises in enterprise software to enable your digital future.