ERP Help Desk: Your Post Go-Live Ally

An ERP implementation team’s strongest ally in the post go-live period is an organized and effective help desk process. The sophistication of the ERP help desk may vary, depending on the size and complexity of the implementation, ranging from a dedicated war room with a large bank of telephones to a couple of people assigned to special duty for a few weeks. There is nothing more comforting to both the ERP implementation team and the end users than knowing that if there is a problem, they can pick up the phone and dial H-E-L-P, and someone on the other end will be there to assist them.

It is both fortunate, and not obvious, but the people manning the help desk telephones post go-live do not have to be technical ERP experts. This means that if you can temporarily staff a support group with intelligent people who care about solving problems, and have good interpersonal skills, your ERP help desk can be world class without an enormous training investment.

The reasons you don’t need technical experts is that the majority of calls are not about technically complex problems. The largest single category of help calls will be insufficient or inaccurate security permissions. These will prohibit people from logging on transactions necessary to do their jobs. Another large category of help desk problems is master data inaccuracy or incompleteness. These problems can be channeled directly to the master data team for resolution. At the end of the day, a relatively small percentage of help requests actually involve a technical solution, and those that do can be channeled to an appropriate subject matter expert on the ERP implementation team.

The Importance of Help Desk Feedback

In addition to helping end users, the help desk can provide insight for the implementation team by faithfully documenting help request activity. This is the process of transcribing a phone call into a problem record, normally a standardized form in a local database. The number of help tickets generated, the urgency of the request, the category of problem, the number of help requests resolved, create important statistics by which the implementation team can determine whether they are keeping up with the problem queue, whether certain types of problems seem to be trending unfavorably, whether certain user groups seem to be generating more help tickets than others, and what priority to place on each reported problem. There may be some resistance to this documentation discipline; it can take longer, for instance, to document a security help ticket than it does to resolve the problem, but without that record, the effectiveness of the ERP help desk becomes a matter of opinion.

Half of the battle in winning end user confidence is for end users to believe that if they get into trouble, help is readily available. Your ERP help desk is the perfect way to foster this belief.

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Richard Barker

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Richard Barker

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