The Power-User Approach to ensure sustainable knowledge transfer in SAP implementations
In a recent survey in the DACH Education Community regarding the topics of interest for the community most votings were in favour of sharing more best pratices & tips re SAP training & education. I would like to start up with a transcript of a presentation dealing with the poweruser approach as knowledge transfer method in SAP implementations. Look forward for comments and your best practices.
This is a summary of a presentation held by Amanda Maguire at the Professional Learning Conference in Cologne
1 Definition – what is a Poweruser
- End users with enhanced process and system knowledge who are available to educate and support their colleagues
2 Cost-neutral solution to various problems
- User acceptance testing
- User education both before and after go-live
- User support
- Problem solving
- Local ownership of knowledge
- Local maintenance of support documentation
- Manage the Key risk: Who will ‘hold the knowledge’ once a project is closed?
?? Is it the perfect solution to ensure enduser productivity?
3. What is a possible underlying definition?
A mechanism for shifting responsibility for education and support away from the project – ‘Devolve and forget’ approach, based on
- Limited programme budget for training
- Lack of programme resources to deliver initial training
- Lack of definition of post go-live education model
- Project is there to deliver the solution (the new processes and the system to drive them) – the shiny new car
- It doesn’t usually want to be responsible for how the customer drives it after delivery
- Training is not included in the project budget – power users will do the training
- Unclarity of ownership – who owns the power network? Who is responsible for establishing it and making it work
- Devolve and forget – project says “it’s not our problem” we’ll concentrate on the important part – delivering the solution
Certaintly this negative definition needs to be turned around in oevery argument- otherwise the poweruser approach will be not succesful.
4. What are Power Users?
Power Users are end users who should
- Have thorough process and systems knowledge
- Be good communicators
- Be good analytical problem solvers
- Champion the new solution
- Have the time available
- Want to be Power Users
Simply giving someone a “Power User” badge is not enough and actually makes the problem worse.
Important variables to consider are: selection process, incentives, ownership, time
5. What is usually missed
The initial set-up must be solid if the Power Users are to provide continuity in a fast-changing environment
- Sponsorship at senior level
- Sponsorship at local management level
- Selection process
- Incentives and opportunities
- Ongoing development and support for Power Users
A Power User network in a blue-collar site makes it possible to manage high-volumes of staff turnover
6. Power User Development – How to start
It is suggested to have three parts
Kick-off event Agenda:
- What’s involved
- Why they have been asked to be power users
- What development they will be given
- What will be expected of them
- What will not be expected of them
- What’s in it for them
- What support will they receive from their manager?
- How valuable power users are to organisation
- Kick off for managers too
6.2 . Technical Skills
Processes and end user system tasks
- The basic information that end users will be taught and should be the minimum process and SAP knowledge for any power user
- Training may be delivered to power users as a pilot of the end user training
- Includes how to use the training materials
Power user advanced knowledge
- Extra information that end users don’t get e.g. exceptions, what to do when things go wrong
- Includes problem diagnosis and problem solving
User Acceptance Tests
- How to perform tests
- How to use the testing software
6.3. Soft Skills
Support and coaching end-users
- Reactive support
- Proactive support
- Dealing with people who are stuck
- New starters
- Old hands
- Helping end users to become independent as quickly as possible
- Empowering end users
- Those who missed their training
This approach requires the organisation to be visibly committed to the Power Users – as it also requires comittments of time and money.
Project-driven training must be conducted within the context of a long-term education and knowledge-ownership strategy. A Power User network can be highly effective in a long term capacity.…but only if carefully constituted, visibly sponsored and maintained.