User Adoption for Software Implementation Programs
I am Angad Jadhav, and I have been working in the Learning Industry for almost 15 years. During these years, I have led End-User Adoption activities for various Technology Transformation programs, including SAP ECC, SAP S/4 Hana, Oracle, etc.
Why Companies Undertake Technology Transformations
I have observed that companies decide to transform their technology landscape for various reasons. For example, a global leader in manufacturing and supplying of household electronics aims to:
- Integrate its business processes including Sourcing, Manufacturing, Sales, and Finance into a common platform
- Reduce/eliminate low-value, time-intensive, and duplicative manual tasks
- Produce standardized, simple, and automated processes
- Generate real-time visibility of enterprise processes and operations
- Establish a single source of truth for all business functions for effective corporate steering & reporting
- Provide best-in-class experience to Suppliers, Partners, and Customers
- Set the foundation for future growth opportunities
…and so on.
Importance of User Adoption in Technology Transformations Programs
While the company makes a heavy investment in the new technology (for example, SAP ERP), the real gains of this technology investment will be realized when the company’s employees adopt the new system. To help the employees adopt a new software solution, a Structured User Training coupled with Simplified Learning Experience is critical.
My experience of working as a Training Consultant suggests that 60 to 70% User Enablement needs to happen even before the new system becomes live in the client’s organization. This 60 to 70% User Enablement before go-live can be achieved by designing and rolling out a comprehensive Formal Training to the impacted employees. The remaining User Enablement can happen on the job when employees start using the live system.
With 60 to 70% User Enablement completed before go-live, employees will be able to display moderate productivity and proficiency in the new system from day one of the system’s go-live. This productivity and proficiency will sharpen and sustain further with an effective on-the-job performance support solution.
In some technology transformation programs, I have also observed that to keep the transformation journey simple, leaders may decide to go for maximum out-of-the-box processes/functionalities offered by SAP. In such situations, Leaders may underestimate the role of structured training, assuming that the standard out-of-the-box functionalities do not require a comprehensive training. However, remember that from a System Implementer’s standpoint, out-of-the-box functionalities may mean less complexities in the implementation. However, from End Users/Employees’ standpoint, it does not matter whether out-of-the-box functionalities or custom functionalities are implemented. For them, it is going to be a big shift from a legacy system to a new system. It is explained further in the following paragraphs.
Areas of Learning User Adoption – Process Learning
Although the Client implements out-of-the box SAP functionalities, we need to remember that in order to fit the company’s business processes into SAP’s out-of-the-box functionalities, the business processes get standardized, optimized, and streamlined to a considerable extent. We cannot deny this. This is because there cannot be one-to-one match between SAP’s standard functionalities and the client’s legacy processes, in all scenarios.
This is why the System Implementer drafts various Workflows and Swimlane diagrams to illustrate how the Client’s business operations are going to fit into the standard SAP functionalities. It clearly indicates the need of Process Learning to educate employees on the changing business processes.
To educate employees on the changing processes, we cannot simply use the Workflows and Swimlane diagrams created by a Technical Team.
For End Users, to form a simplified Process Learning, these workflows and diagrams:
- Should be simplified to adjust focus areas in the process walkthroughs from End-User standpoint
- Should be simplified to remove the technical info related to integrations and interfaces, as it will not be relevant to End Users
- Should split into sub flows, happy flows, and alternate flows to simplify the acquisition of processes
Next, the Process Learning needs to:
- Reflect the necessary business context in process descriptions
- Highlight the key UI elements from the new system involved in process executions
- Highlight the key business rules linked to process executions
The Process Learning should be stapled with the Concept Learning, which covers the simplified explanation of various new terms and concepts coming the users’ way. For End Users, an Instructional Designer needs to carefully extract the conceptual info from the new system UI elements, functional configurations in the new system, and how the new system behaves during process executions.
With Process Learning and Concept Learning, we build a strong learning base and now can move to the final critical part of the User Enablement. It is System Familiarization, which includes demonstrating how to perform business transactions in the new system and get system hands-on.
User Adoption Tool
SAP offers a powerful tool called SAP Enable Now, which helps to create and roll out User Enablement content (E-learnings, Simulations, Job Aids) and the In-application Help assistance. With SAP Enable Now, End Users get the requisite knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a new software application.
Also, SAP offers standard education content (system tutorials) for various End Users transactions. With this standard education content, End Users can get a good kick-start to the learning at the beginning of the implementation program, and later get the comprehensive customer-specific Process Learning, Concept Learning, and System Familiarization before go-live.
After completing the Formal Training (Process Learning, Concept Learning, and System Familiarization), it is safe to make the new system live, as End Users are already equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to start using the new system. The End Users will be able to display moderate productivity and proficiency in the system from day one. This productivity and proficiency will sharpen and sustain further by providing the just-in-time In-Application Help, which will appear as overlay on the live system itself.