Working with Personas in a Learning Organization
If you’ve read the last blog post “Why SAP Enable Now is a Critical Component of all Modern SAP-related Business Transformations” by Shane you know that SAP Enable Now is more than an awesome product which offers in-application help – it’s a solution that helps you transform your business. Let me continue this story by explaining about another transformation tool: Personas.
What are they, anyway? And how are personas connected to SAP Enable Now and learning organizations?
Personas are defined by usability.gov as a “reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments for reference”. So, they are a way to put names and stories behind a fictional person which represents groups of people, ideally your target audience. Each persona stands for a segment of the overall population which is condensed into one relatable personality.
Personas have been discussed heavily in the last years, there are entire books about this topic and loads of blog articles. Why? Because they are an efficient tool, not only for learning developers and user interface designers, to build content with the consumer in mind. And they work, as any marketing specialist will tell you.
In the following paragraphs I will explain how you can use personas in a learning organization and why they are useful when working with SAP Enable Now.
Roles in a Digital Adoption environment
The SAP Services team has worked with countless customers for decades and has collected manifold experiences and best practices around organizational models. I would like to focus on organizations working with a digital adoption tool like SAP Enable Now. The image below shows the standard roles that we see for a digital adoption organization, i.e. an organization that excels at the implementation and adoption of new technical solutions and organizational changes:
Each of the roles is briefly explained below:
Performance Detective (Digital Adoption Team)
- Carries out an analysis of critical organizational issues.
- Identifies the (quantified) performance gaps, the root causes of the gap, and the functionalities in question.
- Lists critical tasks required to address the gaps (the opportunity for improvement).
Digital Learning Architect (Digital Adoption Team)
- Acts as business partner and project designer for the learning solutions to be deployed.
- Works closely with business stakeholders to co-create solutions to the problems to support performance support strategies.
- Designs the didactical framework per project.
Master Author (Digital Adoption Team)
- Executes tasks identified by the Architect and Detective to best address the organizational issues and performance gaps.
- Owns content concepts for concrete projects.
Performance Evangelist (Digital Adoption Team)
- Inspires and manages the implementation plan for the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) program and solution.
- Manages the change processes to ensure implementation is fully embedded and sustainable.
- Internal marketing and communications.
- Coordinates with business teams, technology teams, performance architects, master authors and content teams to ensure alignment and the right level of collaboration and progress.
Digital Learning Analyst (Digital Adoption Team)
- Works closely with the Performance Detective.
- Determines how success will be measured and identify the opportunity for improvement.
- Defines a clear set of metrics.
- Obtains meaningful measures of success by building a plan with the stakeholders based on clearly identified outputs, right from the start.
Business Author (Business / Project)
- Edits and develops training content.
- Coordinates with the Subject Matter Expert (SME) team and qualifies SME input.
- Acts as project single point of contact (SPOC) for the DAP team.
Subject Matter Expert (Business / Project)
- Records best practices.
- Provides the actual knowledge.
- Supports knowledge transfer from business to project.
We do recommend working together with an implementation consultant to find out more about these roles and for setting up your SAP Enable Now project. If you would like to know more about SAP Training and Adoption Services you can reach out to Michael Fritz.
Now we know about the different roles in a digital adoption organization, but of course we need to distinguish between roles and personas. Let’s build a sample persona for two of the roles that we see above.
Building Personas out of Roles
I’m picking out two of the roles from the graphic above and will show how to build personas out of these roles.
- First, we should gather information about the future persona. This includes quantitative data (from surveys) and qualitative data (from interviews).
- Next, the data is analyzed and we pick out common topics and rare traits.
- Finally, the persona is built up and enhanced with a fictional personality and maybe a picture.
Let’s imagine we have gone through the 3 steps above and have gathered data to build our personas. Here are the outcomes:
Daniel has been working for the XY company for 6 years, first as an intern and later as a digital learning architect. His daily tasks include working with the business stakeholders, so he has a large network into the business. When Daniel designs the didactical framework for implementation projects, he draws from his experience but is also influenced by the business requirements. He struggles with the need of the business to fit all the requirements into a logical didactical framework. Daniel likes to work with new digital tools and as a millennial, he is a technical native.
Anna has 20 years of experience working in the FI/CO area. She knows the business processes of the XY company like the back of her hand. Her insights and patience are valued in her team, so she is the person designated to take care of documentation and knowledge sharing within the FI/CO business unit of XY company. Anna likes to teach others but is often exasperated at the effort it takes to document new processes and would like to find a way of teaching that scales better than the 1:1 interaction she usually does. She is interested in business advances and would rather spend her time streamlining processes and not answering questions from team members.
Now that we have our sample personas based on the roles, let’s see how we can use them to improve the way an implementation project would typically be handled, and which roles SAP Enable Now can play in that project.
Connecting SAP Enable Now with Personas
Let’s imagine the XY company is planning an implementation of S/4 HANA Finance. This new solution will affect many employees and touch on core business processes. So, the implementation is well planned, and many different departments are involved – including the learning organization. They have bought SAP Enable Now to support the implementation team and are now thinking about how to best utilize the features.
As you can see below, different pieces of the puzzle (=types of content) are used at different stages of the implementation project. SAP Enable Now can provide those pieces of the puzzle, but the question is how you, as a customer, can utilize them most effectively.
Focusing only on the features, however, will limit the effectiveness of the tool. Instead, if you use personas to look at the processes that can be handled more efficiently you will get more out of SAP Enable Now. That is, try to see the implementation through the eyes of the personas.
For example, Daniel knows he can create book pages and books to didactically lead the users through a process. But, knowing he is keen to work with new tools, why not ask him to use the Web Assistant? The quick creation of context help is intuitive and even fun, plus he can pull in content from other sources like SAP Qualtrics or Signavio.
And Anna, who is already using the Instant Producer to record simulations showing the S/4 HANA Finance processes, may like to also generate documentation, instantaneously, which she can then share with coworkers asking questions.
Creating and using personas broadens the scope of software implementations and lets you see users as people. Imagine doing a survey before rolling out new software and finding out that most of the future end users actually prefer in-app help over classroom training. Or that they like videos more than documents. This makes a huge difference in how the learning organization works and how it can really help the project team. In the end, it’s all about people.
We’ve discussed the nature of personas and why they are important. Also, looking at a learning organization, where personas can be of use and how they can be an integral part of planning an implementation project. Finally, the article explains how SAP Enable Now and personas work together as a strong combination to provide end users with valuable learning experiences to drive a sustainable learning culture in an organization.
You’re ready to go? Great, then watch out for the next blog post covering the “First Steps with SAP Enable Now”! Follow our SAP Enable Now experts Jesse Bernal, Shane Lipke, John Malone, Michael Szmrtits or myself on the SAP Community to get notified about new blogs coming up.