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Today’s article is going to focus in on Prophet 21 Training.  One of the biggest challenges for any ERP deployment is cultural acceptance of the new software.  If you have recently implemented P21 and you are experiencing this, it is pretty normal.  Prophet 21 is full featured ERP system and has a lot of bells and whistles.  You should expect a learning curve for the users to really get into the system and figure out what they need to do.

Chances Are, You Upgraded from Another System

The first computer/accounting software that gets installed in a company is always the easiest to get going.  The reason for this is simple; there is no basis for comparison.  In the first system, you never hear the phrase “well, in the old system it worked like this…”.  I have not yet met a startup distributor who went with Prophet 21 on their first day.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t out there, but my instinct tells me that the overwhelming majority of companies are switching to Prophet 21 from another system.  That means every user’s experience is now instantly compared to the old system, which is completely ingrained in their psyche from years of repeated behavior.

Owners, executives, and project leaders have to accept this axiom quickly.  It will save you a lot of frustration in the long run.  Most of the time, users are not complaining, they are simply stating their perception of user experience.  Take it seriously.  Labor costs are not cheap, and you can not afford to have unproductive users for a long period of time.

Getting Prophet 21 Training

prophet 21 training overloadOne thing I have observed across many companies who have implemented Prophet 21 is that none of them have been successful subjecting their users to hours of computer-based training months before go-live.  It simply doesn’t work.  When you studied for finals in school, when did you do most of it?  RIGHT BEFORE THE TEST.  You crammed, like almost everyone else.  If you are in the 1% of people who study way ahead of time, good for you.  Just remember that the other 99% don’t do that.

Prophet 21 Training needs to be prioritized, focused, and delivered on demand at the point of use.  People need to be trained on the fastest, most accurate way to achieve the most common tasks they do daily.  If you user is in customer service, they need to be able to enter an order, do an RMA, retrieve an order by customer PO number, and know how to use Item Master Inquiry.  Everything else is a luxury.  If you have time for more, great.  If not, focus on the important transactions.

Delivery of the training on key tasks needs to be short, sweet, and to the point.  Users need access to hyper-focused, task oriented training, in bursts of no more than 5 minutes.  They should be able to train on the fly, YouTube style.  Find a way to deliver it like that and you win.

Don’t Assume Your Old System Was Wrong

A long time ago, I worked in construction, running heavy equipment every day.  I remember an older gentleman who did concrete work always telling his crew, “If it’s hard, you’re doing it wrong.”  That phrase has served me very well over the years, and may have even been an early inspiration for me to pursue computer programming.

If the screen layout on the old system was better than the default layout in Prophet 21, fix it.  You have the tools at your disposal to do this, so why don’t you?  I had a customer once tell me, “In our old green screen system, when we tried to enter a PO, the price would automatically come in, now we have to look it up”.   That’s not a Prophet 21 system limitation, and it is not a Prophet 21 training problem.  It is a set up problem that needs to be addressed immediately.  This was a mission-critical implementation blunder, but it made the users believe that P21 was not as good as the old system.  It takes a long time to undo that kind of morale damage.  Avoid it at all costs.

Key Takeaways for Prophet 21 Training

People are creatures of habit.  Always have been, always will be.  Getting frustrated when users have difficulty adapting to a new behavior pattern is a waste of time.  There are always a few who fight change in an open insurrection, but most people are just frustrated because their job feels harder.  There are a few things you can do to get ahead of this pain:

  • Listen to your users.  Find the issues causing the biggest bottlenecks and focus there first.
  • Prophet 21 training needs to be short, sweet, and to the point.  Make your training hyper-focused, less than 5 minutes long, and deliver it at the point of use.  Let them cram!
  • If your old system was better, adapt!  Prophet 21 is very easy to modify.  Do it, and make the user’s life better.  The little things can make a big difference.

Read more about Prophet 21 on our blog