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Author's profile photo Thomas Jenewein

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

   Shifting responsibility 

  • 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

  Leads to 

  • 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

It requires

  • Sponsorship at senior level
  • Sponsorship at local management level
  • Selection process
  • Incentives and opportunities
  • Time
  • 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

6.1: Preperation

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 

SAP Navigation

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.

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