As our solution brochures will tell you, SAP S/4HANA is the digital core ‒ the nerve center ‒ that connects all business processes, provides live information and insights, and seamlessly integrates the enterprise with the digital world at large. Organizations invest in SAP S/4HANA as an agent for digital transformation.
There’s a lot at stake when leaders forge ahead with digital transformation. So, it’s only natural to ask questions and seek out best practices. Typically we hear questions like:
- How can we realize the full power of SAP S/4HANA for our business?
- What can we do proactively to mitigate risk?
- And, how do we sustain our success, and equally important, stay nimble as our business environment evolves?
To a large degree, the answers lie with your people. Why? Because SAP S/4HANA touches everyone in your organization. From the person who takes customer orders, to the teams responsible for supply chain or spend management, to the Finance and Human Resources departments ‒ everyone is impacted.
As SAP S/4HANA permeates your business, you need to prepare your people by giving them the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. Just as important, you need to make sure each person understands the importance of your digital transformation for the future of the business, and the role they’ll play in making it a success.
Five steps every organization should take to prepare for digital transformation
Based on our experiences guiding customers through SAP S/4HANA implementations, we believe there are five critical things every organization must do to prepare their people.
- Prepare your functional team and key users. If you’ve been around ERP projects before, you know how important it is to arm the people who configure, manage, and support your systems with the knowledge they need to do their jobs. What’s often forgotten is that these same individuals ‒ along with a select group of super users and other key users ‒ should have a voice in decisions about system configuration and how your business will operate with SAP S/4HANA.This requires training early in the project. But there’s good news. Your team can start learning quickly with self-paced learning via the cloud, or they can attend class in virtual classrooms or traditional classroom settings.As the solution vendor, SAP knows it’s our responsibility to help you figure out an effective blended learning approach for your team, and to make sure the content you need is available when and where you need it. Our curriculum covers every SAP S/4HANA line-of-business solution, from Asset Management to Finance to Manufacturing, Human Resources to Sourcing and Procurement and Supply Chain. We also deliver comprehensive training in key SAP HANA subject areas including application development, advanced analytical processing, data integration and quality, and database management. And, to make sure your teams are up to date on the latest technology, we update these courses regularly.
- Mobilize your business for change. At its best, transformation can be disruptive. It requires people to think and work differently, and it forces them to adapt to new processes and technology. To be successful, organizations need to apply sound organizational change management (OCM) principles. Leaders need to communicate the changes that are coming, and gain buy-in and support from all corners of the organization.Beyond OCM, we recommend applying end user business analytics to examine how your team uses your current systems (especially if they’re SAP) to identify pain points and inefficiencies, and establish user-centric success criteria for your migration to SAP S/4HANA.Additionally, we encourage you to lay the groundwork for sustained learning and productivity by identifying your team of super users and developing a super user strategy. Super users need to be active well before go-live to assist with solution design, testing, and end user training. Also, by establishing the team now, you can streamline user support processes well in advance of go-live.
- Train users to perform at the highest levels. Our most successful SAP S/4HANA customers deliver role-based end user training that blends modes of learning for easy access and retention. For more advanced topics, many organizations offer traditional classroom training led by their own instructors. We recommend that you develop a variety of resources for your end users, including things like e-learning, on-demand user documentation, and context-sensitive help.Here are a couple tips for SAP S/4HANA user training they don’t always tell you about:
a) Remember to design your training content with sustainment and accessibility in mind. Make sure it’s easy to update and includes “byte-sized” micro-learning that is available to users in-application, as they work. Store this information in a central repository that will be your one-stop shop for all SAP learning materials.
b) When it comes to SAP S/4HANA training, you have to think differently. These days it isn’t just about using software and understanding processes. Of course that’s important. But you can develop all kinds of microlearning to accelerate that type of learning. What’s critical today is helping your team think strategically, giving them the know-how to make the most of the incredible data SAP HANA delivers. Bottom line:It goes without saying that SAP Education can help you in all these areas. But I had to say it anyway!
- Measure and optimize performance. When you implement a new suite of software like SAP S/4HANA, we always recommend collecting data to measure how the software is running, and how effectively employees are using it. This will guide you identify knowledge deficiencies in parts of your organization, and develop targeted training to address them. By measuring and optimizing performance, you’ll simplify adoption, reduce training and support costs, and ensure compliance with business processes.
- Sustain, adapt, innovate. As you approach go-live, there’s a tendency to set aside sustainment activities for another day. The good news is, if you’ve done the previous four steps, you’ve already started to create a culture of learning and performance that protects against knowledge leakage and future-proofs your organization in anticipation of changes in business processes and technology upgrades.With the learning resources you’ve put in place, you’re making your team more nimble, able to react quickly to technology changes, new business processes, or shifts in the demands of your customers.Make sure you execute on your super user strategy, deploying a team individuals who can help users with their day-to-day challenges. Encourage your people take advantage of the learning resources you’ve put in place, including existing content and tools to develop new learning content. And finally, continue to measure performance and optimize as needed.
For obvious reasons, SAP wants you to be thrilled with the success of your SAP S/4HANA investment. Our SAP Education team is in the business of making sure your people are well-equipped to make that success a reality.