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ERP systems need employee training

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To ensure success when introducing complex ERP systems, organisations must ensure that staff training is differentiated, focuses on changes to working practices and takes place at all stages of the project lifecycle, research has found.
A study undertaken by Dr Stephen Gourlay, a reader in the leadership, HRM and organisation department of Kingston University's Business School, revealed that employee training was one of the most important aspects in successfully implementing new ERP systems.
Because the deployment of such applications led to considerable change in most staff roles, jobs and tasks, it could have a huge impact on all areas of the business, the report found.
But poor or inadequate training provision, which included a focus on teaching in a task-based keyboard-centric fashion at the eleventh hour, could result in initiatives failing to meet expectations.
As a result, the research, which was commissioned by IT training firm Optimum, recommended that training be customised for individual groups of employees.
It should also focus not just on how personnel could use the system's functionality to best effect, but also on how their working practices and their interactions with others would change in order to help break old habits.
Training should likewise be provided throughout the project lifecycle from the early planning stages to the post-implementation phase. Refresher training was also useful as staff became more used to the system and as new functionality and modules were added, the report said.
The benefit of such an approach was that it both helped to boost acceptance rates and helped with knowledge transfer between staff.
In news elsewhere, British Gas announced that it was recruiting 30 apprentices for a new information systems-based scheme, which was developed with the help of IT Sector Skills Council e-skills UK and will kick off in September at its offices in Staines.
School leavers with suitable GCSEs or A levels who have little or no experience of working in IT will study for an Advanced Apprenticeship Diploma and the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award via a mix of classroom-based learning and on-the-job training. The aim is to focus on developing not only technical but also softer skills too.
Rosalie McMillan, a talent attraction and resource specialist at British Gas, said: "We hope that the apprentices will bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to our projects as well as meet the skills needs we have now and in the future."

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