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Cushing Anderson of IDC, along with SAP Education and GP Strategies offered great insights yesterday during the “Lifecycle of Education in SAP Projects” webcast.  The conversation highlighted an important overarching fact:  One of the greatest impacts on project success is the skill of the project team and the end users!

Cushing shared this survey to support his theory:

IDC-PTT Chart.png

Source: IDC’s Training Impact on Projects Survey, 2011

To my surprise, Cushing offered further research showing that a mere 1.5% of incremental spend on project team training moved the project success rate from 50% to 80% – no doubt a significant impact!

Of course, that begs this question:  How many hours are needed to promote the highest degree of capability?  Among the more than 80 webcast attendees, the majority indicated that they typically offer 10-20 hours of training to their project team members.  However, IDC’s research shows that the sweet spot is more like 35-40 hours, which they say can move the project success to nearly 80%.

“Knowledge leakage” was the term of the day!  Admittedly a new term for me, the explanation made perfect sense.  Over time, skills degrade.  In fact, based on the research, 10-30% of capability can be lost each year without a strategy for continuous learning.  This engaging discussion quickly brought us to the importance of a super user strategy.  Mal Poulin from GP Strategies mentioned that super users are part of a “distributed adoption team” (another new term for me).  Based on the audience poll, 72% use super users both during a project as well as after go-live.

The topic of sustainment seemed to weave its way throughout the conversation.  Mal commented that SAP customers are finding they’re always in rollout mode (upgrades, adding new functionality, adopting new technology platforms)… so it’s an ongoing cycle of learning.  As a result, they need to look at what they have in place to support this continuous process – super users, a way to measure productivity and capability, online performance support, etc.  It seems very timely that SAP’s September 19 webinar will focus on sustainment!

In conclusion, Cushing left us with this essential guidance:

  • IT organizations must align capability with the changing requirements of business.
  • The skill of team members, the IT organization, and the enterprise must align with requirements and strategic objectives.
  • The enterprise should establish and maintain a robust training program to ensure:

          –    All teams/members have appropriate capability

          –    Teams function appropriately to maximize technology value

          –    Business can meet ongoing challenges of a complex environment

  • Leverage existing training alternatives.

Good advice from a sage advisor! 

If you would like to get in on the conversation, join us for the next Lifecycle of Education webinar on September 19th – to register, click here.

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