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Wednesdays at Sadie’s

How do you keep users involved and motivated to increase their SAP skills?  At Inland Empire Utilities Agency in Chino, California, they do it with “Wednesdays at Sadie’s”

Every other Wednesday, Information Service’s Kristine O’Dea hosts “Wednesdays at Sadie’s” in the Agency’s Sadie Alexander Training Room to demonstrate SAP tips, discuss challenges, and learn new features.

At this SAP open house and workshop users experience hands-on lessons and troubleshooting of SAP issues in test and production environments.  O’Dea solicits areas of interest from users ahead of time and make sure that an analyst or other staff member is their to help.

This meeting is neither formal nor mandatory.  People bring lunches or snacks and O’Dea (an accomplished culinary master) often brings something to share. Users are encouraged to bring work problems they’ve encountered and the lunch-time brain trust finds an answer or finds someone who can illuminate the issue.

At a recent session the theme was “Paying an Invoice” and the main presentation came from Senior Accounting Technician Patricia Jackson.  Jackson brought actual invoices so attendees could see real world data, not just training materials.  Light bulbs were going on above heads all over the room as users who were only involved in one segment of procure-to-pay saw how their actions impacted the rest of the process.

One user commented, “Pat took us to places we’d never been before.  I have a much better understanding of the process now.”

O’Dea, a PC/Network Administrator, is not an SAP expert, and considers herself a user of the system.  She understands the users’ perspective and can advocate for them within IS. Although she likes to have regular attendance at these workshops, O’Dea makes sure users know that it’s OK to attend only when they need help. “Helping one another”, she said,  “is what this workshop is all about.”

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