Owning intellectual property is like owning land. You need to keep investing in it again and again to get payoff. Esther Dyson
the quality of data is poor and getting worse by the day. Excel is being used to produce management reports. You are surprised that even the most basic tasks in SAP seem like an enormous challenge for people, and yet, you’ve seen the system work so well elsewhere. What makes the situation even more astonishing is that the implementation project concluded only a year ago, and was reported to have cost around $50 million. You wonder whether this company is really for you… This all-too-familiar scenario arises easily, and it starts with the project handover. Training is the item most often identified as the single greatest determinant of success during post-implementation project reviews1, yet it’s still the item which is most likely to have funds de-allocated during an implementation. If training and change management is not done effectively for go-live, the project obviously suffers. However, it is the Business As Usual (BAU) training environment that is the key to realising the return on the investment over the long term. Providing quality, ongoing training does not have to be expensive. By applying the latest learner-centric approaches, it costs less than ever before. The ubiquity of screens (PCs, laptops, tablets and phones) in today’s workplace means that users are more comfortable with training content and support materials being accessed online and printed only when required, or never. Content is thus more easily updated as the system is enhanced, compared to the ‘printed manual’ approach of 10 years ago. The latest tools for recording eLearning simulations, such as SAP Workforce Performance Builder, are all about rapid development of content, requiring less expertise for developers, and also permit field-level, context-sensitive help and process guidance. This means that process and business rule help is pushed to the user directly when they are populating fields in SAP, without having to invoke help menus. The result is better training support for learners, integrated in the system, demonstrating the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. A linked learning management solution (LMS) or training portal (such as KnowHow) further enhances the overall learning experience, delivering relevant courses directly
to users, and participation and completion can be easily monitored. And by capitalising on the use of social media, wikis and forums, users can generate and update shared materials; such as a user forum where upcoming changes can be announced, or questions asked. This enables self-help and cultivates engagement, while ensuring that the management team has visibility of process adherence. All this is cheaply available, now. And rather than incurring the overhead and inefficiency of permanent training staff, expert trainers can be called in for ondemand sessions only as required, for example, when there are multiple new starters or a process has changed. This provides a training ecosystem which is targeted, easily accessible and up-to-date; as a result, users will use it and be effective in the system. Calls to the helpdesk go down, user productivity goes up, data quality is retained, and you have a platform for future enhancements. In short, the very benefits the project was intended to deliver in the first place. Clearly, the maintenance of BAU training content and business processes is critical to achieving the return on your SAP project spend. Attending to upkeep using the latest approaches will deliver years of productivity gains from your systems and people, at a fraction of the cost of inaction. Lynton Howes is a director of Adapt2 Consulting (http://adapt2consulting.com.au). Together with his business partner, Marié Lambrechts, they have over 20 years of experience delivering successful change and training solutions for SAP clients across a diverse range of organisations and industries.
Reference 1. Mark J. Sweeney, Jr. Education Account Manager, SAP Global Accounts (quote used with permission)
Inside SAP Summer 2012 edition includes a special feature on enterprise mobility, case studies of SAP projects from The Wine Society, Zimmer...