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Author's profile photo Claudia Faerber

Stories from the Field:  Taking a Look at Your SAP Training Program


/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/273022_l_srgb_s_gl_1035084.jpgA few weeks ago, I was sitting in a conference room at a customer site with a group of training professionals when someone brought up the topic of training repositories.

Now, this group had collectively designed every conceivable kind of training within their business. They had invited me to talk about tools we use to create training, how to measure if it is any good, and SAP best practices for storing training.

One of the participants, a gentleman I’ll call Todd, was frustrated. He talked about SAP training and told me the story of his company’s SAP journey. “We train on every possible scenario. We give them instructors who travel to offices all over the globe. We provide hours of training per role, but still the calls to the help desk are through the roof with people calling to figure out how to use SAP.”

Todd’s exasperation was apparent. It was also very familiar. Having once been a customer myself I have witnessed firsthand the situation Todd described.  I started by asking three questions:

  1. How do you create training collateral?
  2. Where do you keep it after you develop it?
  3. How do you measure the success of the training program you rolled out?

To this Todd rolled his eyes. I had asked very big questions for which I sort of knew the answers. The group chimed in, and just as I expected, the answers were varied. Training lived on hard drives, user manuals on a shelf by the printer, on a server under the training coordinator’s desk, in the collaboration site from the project that no one really maintained, and on the company’s learning management system (LMS). To create content, they used freeware that allowed them to cut and paste content to PowerPoint. The only real way to measure the success of training was to count the calls to the help desk. That didn’t paint a very compelling picture.

It was a clear cry for help. When I asked about their super users, Todd spoke up again. “We used to have them, but after the projects went live we only kept them around for about three months.” Clearly, this was a company screaming for a dedicated User Sustainment Program.

Over the last decade I’ve heard similar stories time and again. The story is not a unique one, and it’s also one that SAP Education is, in my opinion, the most qualified to solve. Our industry has been implementing SAP for decades and we have scores of customers who did amazing organizational change management and training programs for their implementations. Unfortunately they never thought to keep looking at the users beyond hypercare.

Many people believe we just need to develop more training. But what I’ve learned from our customers is we have to be smarter than that. We need to step back and really understand what is going on with end users.

To measure what’s going on with users and help improve their performance, SAP Education uses a software suite geared to help manage user adoption. We have tools that provide data on how users are doing in the system. Other tools help us develop content in a way that is short and to the point, targeting users where they live—right inside SAP. We also take a holistic approach to increasing user adoption by helping our customers design programs for super users who become the backbone of the support model.

At the end of the meeting, Todd wandered over to where I stood gathering my things. He wanted to talk more about all those hours of training end users were taking. He just couldn’t understand why they still need to call the help desk to do their jobs. I explained a concept I have used for many years, “Design your sustainment learning programs for probability, not possibility.”

To this Todd paused. “You mean target our training?” I replied, “Yes, when you’re in sustainment, design training that is focused on the areas where your users struggle. Design micro-learning that addresses where the problems are.”

Todd got it. Better yet, he invited me back to help them design their User Sustainment Program.

About Claudia.  I am an SAP Education Delivery Executive and subject matter expert on organizational change management, and of course, user adoption and sustainment. Before I joined SAP I led the McKesson program that won the 2012 SAP Education Best Practice Award.  We started “Stories from the Field” because we enjoy helping user adoption professionals work through the challenges they face every day.  If you have comments or questions, please leave a comment below. And don’t forget to follow me and other “Stories from the Field” contributors to read the latest stories!

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