In the modern world where technology has surrounded our daily needs, Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, has become the core of the organisations. But, as a business owner, you might not be way too happy about adopting this costly and time-consuming investment. But if you do, how do you ascertain that you are satisfied with what you have bought?
Factors Determining Satisfaction
User satisfaction is, in reality, a non-measurable quantity. However, with the use of proper models and factors, we can understand the extent to which the user feels satisfied with their purchase. While there does not exist any fixed measurable determinant of user satisfaction for ERP, we can understand it by studying the following 3 factors –
1. System Quality
In layman’s terms, System Quality is used to see if the business offers that products and services which are in accordance with their values and integrity. For example, system quality will ensure that every single document is 100% original and unique when you are running a business which offers 100% original research papers that your team of scholars write.
Where does ERP fit in here? Imagine that you are this business owner and you have invested a goof money deal of money in implementing an ERP system. How does ERP work with system quality? The ERP will have stored functions and algorithms that will ensure that you are doing what you are meant to do. For example, for the research paper business, the ERP will have stored various processes and checkpoints which you need to follow before any document is posted on the website.
Furthermore, quality management (another name for system quality) is also reliable on the feedback received from the system. Once the process data is collected and analysed, one can identify where further improvements can be made. But ERP helps you in that. ERP is a smart business process management tool which reads the business processes and collects data about them. Then, it tells you which processes can be eliminated, merged, and improved.
Hence, ERP plays an important role in determining that the system quality is met and maintained. If, after the ERP implementation, you do not feel changes and assurance in the system quality or have identified that the system is not working to ensure system quality as it should, then this factor acts as a measure for dissatisfaction of ERP implementation.
2. Management Support
Implementation of a new solution is not just any other IT project of the company. No, it is a big step and involves commitment because it will affect most of the parameters of your business. Therefore, the management body of the organisation must be involved with the ERP implementation so that the project aligns with the goals of the company.
When you are talking about revamping the business process and implementing a solution that is going to affect the majority of the business, you need to have someone on board who knows the current processes and understand them. Moreover, the management body of the organisation plays a critical role in reviewing the project’s progress and making sure that the provider and organisation are on the same goal.
ERP implementation is a large scale business activity which requires the involvement of various departments within the company. It is not possible to assign a different team leader for each departmental resource who will oversee their status. Hence, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the top management who oversee the entire project. They assign deadlines, goals, and achievable objectives to the members. Additionally, taking user feedback and extracting useful information from that is also a part where high management is needed.
Did I tell you that communication is the key to successful project implementation? Whenever the company decides to shift to a modern solution, like ERP, the resources (employees of the company) must understand what changes are coming. They have to be prepared and ready for the changes, have to be aware of why the changes are being made and must know how these changes will benefit them in the long term. Senior management keeps the communication channels open and active and ensures that the team is aware of the changes and progress of the project.
The training of employees regarding the new system is necessary and one of the most needed factors to determine whether the implementation has been successful or not. The best of doing this is to take feedback from the employees or taking a quick quiz about the new system. It can either be in the form of a questionnaire or interview. Employees, if not trained properly, cannot use the system efficiently and the results will not be as expected. This can lead to the belief that the implementation was unsuccessful and liability for the company at the expense of financial burden.
However, several studies have shown that though the training is an important part of the ERP implementation, organisations do not make much effort for that. The companies often cut down the training budget because the implementation project has already cost them a fortune. But, at the same time, studies have also revealed that training and success of ERP implementation are dependent on each other. The effectiveness of the ERP is more when the employees are properly trained, have adequate knowledge of the system and are exactly using the system as it was intended to be. This created the view that the implementation was indeed successful.
These are the 3 factors for ERP satisfaction determination
As I said, you cannot measure the satisfaction from ERP implementation in terms of quantifiable units. But you can study factors which determine satisfaction. The above 3 factors let you know how ERP implementation is done and how system quality, management body, and training of the employees determine the effectiveness and success of the ERP. If these factors align with the output, then the satisfaction from ERP implementation is obvious.