It’s definitely been the strangest of times recently. As we near the end of lockdown, and a return to (the new) normal, we thought we’d find out how our Implementation team have continued to deliver our projects during COVID-19 times and how they plan to adapt our ERP implementation strategy going forward.
What have been the biggest changes you’ve had to deal with?
Heather: The sudden move to online training. Previously most of our training was done face to face onsite and moving from that to a digital training platform was a big jump, both for us and our customers. We’ve used a variety of platforms to mix things up and keep people’s attention. These include Microsoft Teams for situation assessment and group meetings and Teamviewer for screen sharing and training.
Fred: Not being face to face with customers is sometimes difficult, especially if they don’t grasp a topic immediately. It was hard to gauge this initially but, now that we are using video links in most situations, being able to see facial expressions and body language has made it much easier.
Heather: We’ve also become more flexible to work with our customers’ changing needs. Some of our customers have elected to delay some of their sessions due to some of their employees being on furlough, whilst others have never been so busy as they produce much needed PPE for our front line workers. Others have chosen to use this time to concentrate all their efforts on their ERP implementation and work through their tasks. We’ve got customers reviewing all their own customers, suppliers, items and stock ready for import so they can hit the ground running when they get back to work. We’re working with each customer on an individual basis to ensure each ERP implementation project runs smoothly.
Are there any benefits to these new working practices?
Fred: Definitely. Remote working makes it easier to plan shorter sessions more often and across different days. As people’s attention span can drop off, especially when they are concentrating intensely on new concepts or mapping out a process, changing our fact finding and training sessions to be shorter and more focused makes it easier for a lot of people. It means they come to each session fresh when we move onto another area of the system.
Heather: It’s also been great for us as it affords us more flexibility throughout the day. We don’t have to fit everything into the 9-5 model so I find if I am on a roll with a customer analysis or user guide, I can crack on as long as I want without distraction. On the days I’m running training sessions, the shorter sessions give me a chance to regroup so I am fresh for the next.
Michael: Saving in travel time also means that I can get more done. Even the time taken to refuel my car all adds up!
What challenges have you faced?
Fred: It definitely takes longer to build rapport and trust, not being face to face. This can sometimes affect how open people are to asking questions and providing detailed information. We get there in the end but it’s not as immediate as it is in person.
Heather: It can also be difficult to assess understanding in training. I had a situation last week where, after running through an overview of one area of E-Max ERP, I was met with a deafening silence. My first thought was that I had lost everyone’s attention but they were just taking time to absorb what I’d gone through!
Michael: Video is definitely a better medium than voice only calls as it is difficult to gauge people’s feelings. And although I have loved saving on travelling time, the lack of a commute and signals to switch off mean that I am still thinking about work activities when I’m with the family.
How will E-Max’s ERP Implementation Strategy change going forward?
Simon: We’ll continue to look at ways in which we can best understand our customers’ processes remotely but we’re finding that the more we work this way, the easier it is to identify methods to get the information we need.
Michael: I think we’ll definitely see a shift to more online training, even after restrictions on onsite visits are lifted. There’s lots of positives to this approach and we’ve had some good feedback from our customers.
Heather: We’re also looking at different options to deliver online training – it is a very different learning experience to classroom based training. We’ve been working on a range of new training materials to support this and will be introducing more interactive learning opportunities as we go forward – watch this space!
Fred: We’re surveying our customers about group training and the possibility of hosting regular live Q&A sessions and if there’s an appetite for this, we’ll get this going in the near future.
If you’d like to find out more about E-Max ERP or our ERP implementation strategy, then please contact us on 0808 109 2035 or drop us an email. Online demos of E-Max ERP are also available – book one now.