In 2014 SAP CEO, Bill McDermott launched the new SAP with its new mantra; “Run Simple”. This message of simplification has permeated every external message emanating from SAP ever since, and I can tell you firsthand that internally, this same message is filtering through the organisational strata. It is an intelligent message, capturing the zeitgeist of simplicity led by top B2C brands such as Apple, Uber, AirBnB, whilst also integrating the rebirth of a B2B corporation, shedding the old skin of complexity.
However, software is not simple, it is complex, often extremely so. The trick is masking the backend complexity with a simple UI that gives the illusion of simplicity; something the new cloud native companies such as Uber and Netflix do so well. As the entire economy transitions to a modern digital approach, all organisations are trying to keep up with the Jones’, and I would say the aforementioned darlings of the Tech world represent the Jones’.
Whilst the Holy Grail would be to completely rewrite software to be as simple as Uber, or redesign business processes as two-clicks-and-done, this is not always possible and so businesses need other methods to achieve simplicity. One such method is to deploy Electronic Performance Support Software (EPSS) to help users on the job, and it just so happens that SAP has one of the best tools around to do just that. SAP Workforce Performance Builder.
But what is SAP Workforce Performance Builder (WPB)?
In a nutshell it is software that enables you to quickly create and deploy training materials throughout a project life-cycle. Those training materials can be simulations, documentation, test scripts or even (the best part) in-application context sensitive help. To expand on this WPB, if implemented correctly, enables the creation of a fully-functional knowledge content factory providing ongoing performance support for the workforce. The goal of EPSS and therefore SAP WPB, is to make help quicker to access than walking over to the Subject Matter Expert’s desk to ask her.
There are a myriad of use cases that could best be implemented by WPB, but these are for subsequent blog posts. For this introductory post I will expound on three; an in-context help menu , real-time access to performance support materials in the field, and electronic change management support.
In-context application help menu
Barry the tele-sales operative is sweating through his first day on the job. He is confronted with a task that he has not been trained to accomplish. Thanks to his organisation’s SAP WPB implementation he has access to a context-sensitive help menu within the CRM application he is using i.e. the help menu knows which page he is on and provides the required information that he needs for that specific page.
Real-time access to performance support materials in the field
Matilda the field service engineer has just come across a device that she has not seen before. She does not need to call in her conundrum because fortunately there is a QR code on the side of the machine, which she duly scans with her mobile device. She rapidly gains schematics, workflow simulations and documentation enabling her to carry out her repair job quickly with no external support required. This type of field performance support plays well into IoT scenarios.
Electronic change management support
Managing change is a huge concern for businesses today, especially as they digitally transform themselves to cope with the modern economy. As software applications are updated, users must be informed and retrained which can be costly in terms of time and lost productivity. SAP WPB enables an in-application HTML overlay that highlights changes and gives prompts about new work processes. Chuck is aware that the business has just made the CRM system HIPAA compliant, however he has no idea what this means. Thanks to the electronic change management support implemented by SAP WPB, he is reminded of each new field that needs to be completed in the CRM system, and why.
In subsequent blog posts, I will drill into the many ways SAP Workforce Performance Builder can be utilised by OEM Partners as they progress through the various stages of digital transformation, and we will look at new technologies in the field of EPSS such as the SAPUI5 Web Assistant tool.
Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog post. Please feel free to add comments below.
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