Your workforce is the key to a successful ERP implementation. Do you set them up for success?
Every year, organizations invest tens of billions of dollars into workplace training. Despite the investment, their knowledge workers spend more than one day per week looking for information to do their jobs, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
How can this be? The answer has a lot to do with how organizations approach knowledge management. Traditionally, companies have relied on classroom training and personalized interactions to transfer knowledge from one worker to the next. But these models are out of step with modern workforce needs for several reasons.
For starters, the modern workplace is growing increasingly complicated. Knowledge workers use eight different software applications, on average, to get their work done, up from a mere few a decade ago. Furthermore, work is more distributed than before. In the aftermath of COVID-19, it is estimated that one in four workers will work from home (WFH) in some fashion on a permanent basis.
Despite these realities, organizations still devote as much as 65% of their training budgets to classroom training that unfortunately consistently fails to deliver results. Consider a 2019 study published in the Harvard Business Review. The study revealed that an average learner retains just 25% of information shared in a classroom setting six days later. If the training, however, is part of a longer or more interactive program, learners can remember as much as 80% of what was taught two months later.
If your company invests in enterprise software that requires training and change management to produce desired results, that increase in knowledge retention should pique your interest. Such an increase implies improved software adoption, increased productivity, and job satisfaction among employees, and, obviously, better return on your training and ERP investment. But how can it be achieved?
Well, there are exciting things under way in the field of knowledge management that could have a significant impact on the return on investment from complex software such as ERP. These developments revolve around a new type of technology called digital adoption solutions (DAS) that provide for the highly sought-after “learning in the flow of work”.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, learning in the flow of work is achieved when a worker can successfully find the answer to a question or get support in their work, all while they are about to perform an actual work task. This way of learning differs significantly from a one-time classroom training that happens at a designated time, with a set curriculum, and in a simulated setting.
Historically, learning in the flow of work has best been produced in personalized interactions with professional trainers or informed peers or superiors known as “super users.” Super users are often called upon to pass on significant institutional knowledge to colleagues in an ad hoc fashion. The problem with transferring knowledge this way is that it simply does not scale.
Another popular form of knowledge management involves the identification, collection and dissemination of institutional knowledge via a codified digital repository. You might be familiar with the process: A worker is encouraged to document a skill, an experience or a best practice and store this codified knowledge object in a repository. Anyone who has spent time trying to extract knowledge from such a system will tell you they are difficult to use at first and routinely ignored thereafter. (Now you understand where some of those billions of dollars wasted on workforce training and knowledge management go.)
DAS, however, offers a better way. Though still relatively new, it has been proven to better capitalize on institutional knowledge and minimize waste in the reuse process. DAS technologies provide for a sustainable approach to knowledge management and can accelerate the pace of learning and increase the relevancy of information shared.
The digital adoption solutions we at Projexia have investigated all provide on-demand in-application support to end users as they perform tasks in a system. This enhances the chance that a learner will be receptive to the knowledge provided, which is essential for getting work done not just for today but well into the future. Additionally, the knowledge objects stored in a DAS system can be applied several times and through several formats, which enhances the reusability of codified knowledge drastically.
Like others in the field of technology consulting, integration and management, we believe that learning is a lifelong pursuit that doesn’t end when a person’s formal education is completed. Instead, we believe that learning is as eternal as it is essential — and for good reason.
We know from first-hand experience that succeeding with ERP is challenging under the best of circumstances. But it’s made all the more difficult when customers skimp on change management. To succeed with ERP today, you have to commit to the right level of investment when it comes to the people, processes and technology you depend on.
While it might be new to you, take some time to understand what digital adoption solutions can do for your organization. Your CFO will thank you, and your workers won’t waste one day per week looking for information that you have already shared.
Author: Tove Strander, Training Specialist, Projexia