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McKesson talks Sustainment with IDC, SAP and GP Strategies

Learning doesn’t end at go live.  That was the hot topic discussed on SAP’s recent webinar entitled, Sustain the Value of your Technology Investment, featuring:

1.    Cushing Anderson, Vice President, IT Education and Certification Research, IDC

2.    Claudia Faerber, Senior Manager, User Sustainment, McKesson IT

3.    Mal Poulin, Director, Strategic Solutions, GP Strategies

4.    Kerry Brown, VP, Enablement, SAP Education

The topic seemed to resonate with those who attended the webinar.  When polled, 64% of the audience confirmed they are currently trying to build a sustaining organization.

Skills have the greatest impact on long term project success – but can degrade quickly

Setting the stage for our discussion, Cushing Anderson outlined the six characteristics of Organizational Capability:

  1. User Participation: 100% of impacted employees trained prior to go-live.Ÿ
  2. User Skill at “go-live”:  100% of impacted employees are fully skilled at go-live
  3. New-hire Skill: 100% of new employees and transfers are fully trained on the relevant business processes prior to beginning work on the system
  4. Complete documentation: All key processes are fully documented in the online help system, including purpose, triggers, dependencies and helpful hints.
  5. Reference-training: Is leveraged completely to ensure the material is consistently taught, and updates are immediately available in the training
  6. Self-service: Online help to allow point-of-need assistance for all processes.

Reinforcing this list of key capabilities, Cushing stressed that skill level has the greatest impact on project success.  Over time, Cushing cautioned, knowledge leakage creeps in.  By year three, only 41% of the original skill levels remain, and at year six, it is an alarming 24%!


McKesson’s winning formula for sustainment

Thankfully, McKesson was prepared to share with us their winning formula for overcoming the knowledge leakage challenge. 

Starting their SAP journey in 1998, McKesson has radically evolved how they manage user sustainment. Clearly on the leading edge, McKesson instituted a formal organization within their IT Shared Service team entitled SAP User Sustainment.  It’s from within that team the true user analytics story begins. 

McKesson SAP Journey.jpg

Originally, McKesson took the approach of “casting a wide net” for user sustainment.  Their basic motto was…“train everyone on everything!”  According to Claudia Faerber, this was a costly approach.

But after making an investment in Knoa software – a true end user experience monitoring solution – and enlisting analytical expertise from Neochange consulting, McKesson described a transformation of user sustainment leading to:

  • Accelerated time to competency
  • Support for user role changes
  • Rapid new process adoption
  • Streamlined new hire onboarding process

McKesson is now on their way from the “drag zone” to the “power zone” noting that an increase in user productivity of only 5% returns nearly $8M! 


The role of super users and communities of practice in sustaining user knowledge

Beyond analytics, super users also play a key role in user sustainment.  Kerry Brown reminded us that not all super users are created equal – some are just a lot more super than others!  Again leveraging analytical data, McKesson has been able to quantify that their super users tend to use 25% more SAP functionality than the average McKesson “citizen”, and are 9% more efficient. 

For those of us then wondering what makes a super user super, Kerry provided a comprehensive list noting that accessibility is absolutely key!

•       Accessible: Local and available

•       Subject Matter Expertise: Understand their functional area

•       Efficiency: Deliver results that impact the bottom line and company strategies

•       Credibility: Are able to garner project support throughout the business

•       Attitude: Network & knowledge share

•       Experience: Ability to translate SAP into real world terms and application

•       Support: Provide testing support and first line of end user support

•       Enablement: Lead end user training efforts

•       Continuous Improvement: Promote SAP system use & ongoing process improvement

Polling the audience, 80% indicated that they are using super users both during and post implementation – a definite best practice confirmed by all the panelists.

Extending beyond super users, Mal Poulin challenged us to consider Communities of Practice to address the eminent “knowledge leakage” within the user population. 

Though these communities are meant to bring users together to share knowledge and seek guidance, never forget that any community of practice is “all about me”.  Meaning, if it does not readily bring value to the users, it will not be successful. 

Adding a note of caution, Mal stressed that communities are not self-forming – they require strategy and a purposeful effort.  Only 27% of the webinar audience currently has formal communities of practice formed, but the poll suggested that most had an interest in moving in that direction.

Bringing it all together

To bring the webinar to a close, Cushing offered some final essential guidance on how to sustain organizational performance:

  • Be prepared to fully train users prior to system roll-out.
  • Monitor ongoing usage to identify process problems or skill gaps continuously.
  • Fully train new employees or replacement workers to assure continued value
  • Leverage Super Users to both promote high productivity and advocate for improved usage, but also as a resource to other employees.
  • Establish communities of practice to act as SME to improve processes, share skills and guide future roll-outs.

Evidenced in the final audience poll, most are still using surveys or help desk information to monitor and measure user experience. 

SAP Education North America wants to help fast-track our customers to greater sustainment.  We are offering a discount promotion on two key sustainment solutions – eAcademies to broaden the skills of your Center of Excellence team including certification, and SAP User Experience Management by Knoa software.  To learn more, call 1-888-777-1727 and give promotion code SUS2H12, or speak to your SAP Education enablement executive.  The promotion is available for the remainder of 2012.

To end where we began, it’s clear that learning doesn’t end at go-live; this is precisely when learning is just getting started!”

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