When I turn on the dishwasher the display shows E-22. Instead of the duration of the program I have chosen. Two things cross my mind. The dishwasher isn’t even a half year old and broken already? Immediately followed by: I do not feel like having to do the dishes by hand. Because I have no clue what this code means, I try to remember where I have put the manual to find a solution in it.
No doubt that it ended up in the box with all other manuals. And that box most probably is on the attic somewhere – I guess. That’s why I first search the Internet. On the combination of the brand and the code I get 6.960 results. Saves me a trip to the attic. Someone has been kind enough to demonstrate in a YouTube video how to solve this malfunction. It turns out to be a filter that needs to be cleaned. And by playing the video I just learned how to solve this. Malfunction solved and saved from doing the dishes by hand.
Nowadays, every minute of the day about 500 hours (!) of video is added to YouTube. Each month about 15 million ‘creators’ are responsible for 80 million new videos (Tubular Labs – September 2019). If you have a (free) account and your content meets the community guidelines you are able to contribute. Your content is immediately placed and available for viewing. Enabling everybody to see how to prevent E-22.
These ‘how-to’-videos are ideal for helping users to perform their tasks. They also prevent these types of questions from being asked to the helpdesk, key users or administrators. Of course, I do not recommend putting your business logic and secrets openly on YouTube. After all, excellent solutions are available for creating, publishing and managing content.
Still, developing relevant new content and keeping existing content up to date is proving difficult in most organizations. If the project has been successfully brought live and the project team has been dissolved, no one seems to want to bother anymore.
I think organizations can learn a lot from YouTube’s business model. In which everyone can create and upload content. Why should we leave the development of support materials to a select group, while we can benefit from the knowledge of all employees? All you have to do is familiarize them with the necessary tools. And maybe coach them when developing content. How many potential creators are there in your organization?
Want to know more about this topic? I would be happy to answer your questions via a virtual meeting.
This blog also appeared in Dutch on blogs.sap.nl
YouTube is extremely useful, and its an interesting knowledge-sharing model, but the problem I have with it is that everyone can do it - which I know you see as a strength but.... If I search for "Replace air filter refrigerator" there are hundreds of videos. not all of which are necessarily applicable - or even correct: some show how to replace a water filter... I have a hard enough time getting my Authors to check for existing content before creating new content (which is why I have 43 simulations for VA01...) without opening it up to everyone and their uncle!
I do agree with the democratization of content creation as a way of capturing organizational knowledge, but there has to be some serious curation done - both in terms of editing content (the Technical Author in me still feels that not everyone can write effective instructions) and deleting duplicates. That's the bit that is usually missed, so you end up with too much information to wade through, to find what you are looking for.
But if you would have added the brand and model of your refrigerator, that would have limited the number of search results extremely, don't you think? Also, the number of likes a video gets could be an indicator for its useability and correctness.
Is it absolutely necessary that the support materials that are 'self-created' are of the same standard when a professional would have created them? As long as they are not in conflict with business rules and they actually help other employees to solve a problem or finish their task, we should be ok with them.
I agree that there is still a lot that needs to be done, but leaving the potential of organizational knowledge unused is not the best alternative.
Number of upvotes is helpful, although I'd question the willingness of the average corporate user to provide feedback - they don't on other content... Maybe some form of 'incentivization' (points/status)...
No, user-created content doesn't need to be the same quality as 'professionally-created' content - if it was, I'd be out of a job! I'd argue that it should be flagged as 'community-created' and maybe a disclaimer. But your second point is instrumental: "as long as they are not in conflict with business rules..." - although I'd extend this to say that the content must be correct and not 'not best practice' as well (i.e. not detrimental to system performance, etc.). Here's where I see a curator as being essential: someone needs to validate every posting. The problem I see is that no-one wants to fund/provide time for this, so it doesn't get done. And while you can argue that 'following incorrect advice' on YouTube is at the consumer's risk, I don't think that is acceptable in a corporate setting.
Agreed, simply leaving organizational knowledge untapped is not the answer. I'm just arguing that there needs to be much more (specific) control over it than there is over YouTube.
On a broader note, and expanding on the 'incentivization' angle - there needs to be recognition of people that create 'useful' videos (maybe reward for most upvotes'?) and support from Management (in at least recognizing that creating videos is a worthwhile use of their time).
On this years edition of the annual 'Top Tools for Learning' survey by Jane Hart, published on September 1st, guess which tool holds the number one position for personal learning and education? 😉
But let me share some of my thoughts...
I totally agree that for this to work properly, management support is key. I am pretty sure we can get them on board by showing them the benefits of an up-to-date skilled workforce and a more efficiently spent training budget.
Anyone else who would like to jump in? Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts with us!
This is so relevant and needs to be talked about more. I think we all can learn from each other and we should share as much as we can about tools or appliances we own.
I am hopeful as we continue to grow and change with Enable Now that we will continue to bring in these ideas as mainstream learning concepts.
I think sometimes we caught up in our old ways and have a hard time changing or finding people that can share accurate information. One issue with crowd sourcing is you can spread false information very quickly.
Keep the conversation going. I would love to see what other people think in the community.
This reminds me of a rather funny instance a few years back while having a workshop for Enable Now OP implementation. We were all locked up in the meeting room & I was tasked with explaining the concept of Workarea to the IT folks. Since it was a small IT organization catering to 100’s of SAP end-users, every IT consultant had their own opinion on their idea of how a workarea to be structured and designed. The conversation went like this;
Me: ….so that explains the concept of workarea and in short Enable Now is the knowledge repository for anything that SAP End users might find useful to perform better in their day-to-day tasks.
IT Security Manager: Thanks Vivek, I think, it is very critical to have different dedicated workarea for each module in SAP. We design our SAP roles and authorization like this way. Any other design would be a security breach.
Senior Manager: Wait, you mean to say, as an End User, If I am from MM Department, and I have been the consumer of MM training content, you mean to say, I should not see the FI module training content?
IT Security Manager: Yes, absolutely, MM End User should only know and learn “How to create Material Master in SAP” related learning content. He/She should not see the content for “How to post Billing Document in SAP System”
Senior Manager: Ohh, you mean to say, MM End User should be prevented from learning/seeing FI related topics? If they learn or see those contents, then it is a security breach according to you?
IT Security Manager: Yess Boss
Senior Manager: How do you stop someone from learning anything new, how can we say, don’t learn anything new, just stick to your tcodes? If not in Enable Now, MM End User can simply google and learn know-hows of other SAP transaction codes. They can simply watch youtube videos to learn about new tcodes in SAP system, there are 1000s of videos in the public domain. Just because they learnt something new, that should not be the basis for Security breach. Even if they learn about VF01 tcode, they would need to have the right access in SAP system to execute VF01 tcode. Then, why I am paying you and 2 other SAP Security Consultants, is it not your job to correctly design and assign End User roles/authorizations in the SAP system? How can anyone say, don’t learn/see anything new in SAP systems? That makes me wonder about current SAP security concept in our systems, I would like to have the updated User Authorization Matrix in our next meeting and run negative tests on SAP security with some random set of users.
IT Security Manager: Ohh………….. ! Ok Boss.
So the bottom line is, democratization of content is always good, from a consumption perspective.