They are making us do it
People don't like change, right? Via Twitter, I came across Richard Veryard's article on Why New Systems Don't Work. It seems to be part of a larger discussion, but it's a beautiful example of where the focus on the software brings you a failure.
In many organizations, I agree that individuals can't openly rebel or resist the official adoption of some corporate system such as ERP. However, despite the absence of visible resistance, the organization somehow frustrates the purposes of the ERP system.
How does this happen? Over-[simplifying] enormously, let's say the business case (top-down purpose) of adopting ERP across the organization is based on the cost-saving from eliminating surplus stock. But local managers like to have surplus stock, because it gives them more flexibility to achieve their targets. So we can observe the local managers diligently complying with the demands on the ERP system, and yet for some mysterious reason the surplus stock doesn't disappear. In other words, people whose departmental interests may be slightly at odds with the overall corporate interest, or who may feel their autonomy challenged by a centralized ERP system, may somehow manage to mislead the ERP system in order to preserve their local surpluses.
This is exactly what I would expect to see in organizations where the reason for installing new software is that "they are making us do it." Unless the software is insanely better than the way things work today, there is about 0.5 percent chance that it will be readily adopted by the people affected in this way.
Interestingly, one of the things I have noticed in our implementations is that people tend to focus on the software, even if that isn't the primary driver behind the change. This is such a strong reminder that the reasoning and thinking behind the change needs to be reinforced and repeated over and over throughout the course of the project - and beyond. What is the goal of the project? What is the expected (positive) impact on the people? Are you getting that impact? Are you seeing some other (negative) impact? Was it expected? Can it be mitigated?
Good stuff, and as the comments of Veryard's article indicate, the implementation has to pay attention to the entire eco-system of the organization, not just one element.
People don't like change, right? That is only true when the change is something they aren't invested in.
Happy New Year all! I don't expect to be posting much over the next couple of weeks.
[Photo "Rebellion! - Forced feeding - Suffrage Series" by scrappy annie.]
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