At the tail end of March 2015, SAP Education Australia & New Zealand (ANZ) completed a series of breakfast events. I presented alongside Anette Karlsson and Mathew Sleaford. It was great to see so many familiar faces in the audience as well as have the chance to meet new ones. Many different types of people attended each of the events, from directors to analysts and students to project managers from a variety of verticals. It was the largest attendance of SAP Education events to date and the questions and participation was excellent.
We are all end users. We all use systems to achieve our daily working goals, so consider your own personal experiences as you read on. End users have a personal way of working through business process, unique to them. A concoction of various experiences passed down by those before them and those around them. You might describe it as a coping mechanism, a means to getting the job done, perhaps even the path of least resistance. “It’s the way it’s always been done”.
It’s quite rare for a business to define best practice across their whole IT landscape because the cost in time and money is prohibitive. If processes are documented, it’s typically by the project team during implementation, but even then, this if often foregone as time and budget pressures surmount and the unmovable go live date looms ever closer.
If the project team does manage to document process, once they dissipate, it is highly unlikely that any process documentation is ever touched or updated again and if you consider that things change so often, particularly in the teething months after go live, and that each change would need reflecting in the documentation, end users will end up with dated process documentation very quickly, if they ever use the documentation at all. Just take a look into your own organization.
Therefore it’s not that end users are doing anything wrong, per se, but perhaps there is a better way of doing something than that which they know, something undocumented, perhaps even undiscovered.
Take the Noise out of the Equation
Truly understanding end users use and experience of systems is a daunting challenge which is typically done by a series of interviews and workshops conducted against a sub set of end users. This has three problems to my mind 1) not every voice is heard, 2) it’s time consuming and 3) it is subject to perception that is, even if two people were to have exactly the same user experiences, their perceptions may be different.
Knoa gives businesses the ability to address these three areas by monitoring end users in SAP systems and gathering information such as the top most error prone transactions or modules, which users would benefit the most from training, which systems or processes are the slowest
The important thing to note here is that this information is continually drawn from every user and is data driven which enables the business and IT to come together and focus on areas that need the most attention by making data informed decisions. Ever been involved in a business vs. IT conversation about whose fault or responsibility something is? That needn’t happen ever again.
Finding the Solution
So you’ve found the end users that need support or the processes that are inefficient and should be retired, what now?
You’ll need to determine what the best practice is. This often involves calling in an expert or a contractor who knows ‘the system’ best. Although, it’s highly likely that you have someone inside your very walls who already knows the process inside out, somebody on your payroll, somebody who knows your business, somebody it won’t cost you to leverage.
If the monitored material enables you to see the inefficiencies, it necessarily follows that you can see the efficiencies. The delta is your gain, which can be measured once you’ve rolled out your communications of new, best practices.
Take for example one business who identified a single user capable of doing a Customer Service Order Entry in four minutes where other users of the ECC instance were taking between ten to fifteen minutes to do the same thing. Capturing the identified best practice from that user and communicating that process to the other users resulted in productivity gains of between 60% and 73%. Productivity gains as large as 75% have been achieved.
Communicating it All
Of course, none of this will matter if you don’t communicate findings to the end users who need to know the improved process to realize the benefits. The good news is you don’t need to bring together a project team to document anything. You simply leverage that subject matter expert who knows the most effective process. Have the user record the transaction in a single source, multiple output engine that will output test documentation (should you want to go through a user acceptance test stage) and a training document, cheat sheet, job aid as well as a plethora of others.
This can then be presented to other end users from within the application so they don’t even need to leave their application, let alone their desks to go to a ‘training session’ to realize the benefits.
Understanding the Results
Through following the steps mentioned above, you can now passively monitor end users in SAP systems and by leveraging the Knoa dashboards, you can see if the well communicated changes you’ve made have been adopted. If they have been, you can quantify the productivity gains you’ve achieved and if they haven’t been, you have the data to help you make an informed decision, not one based on speculation or perception.
To make decisions based on speculation or perception doesn’t guarantee precious budget and resources being spent on high value areas which will yield high value results. But by making decisions based on actual data, provided by Knoa, you have an exponentially higher rate of success in that area.
The interesting thing about this is how simple it is. Monitoring end users is passive and constant which means you can take a snapshot at any point in time and benchmark that against your historic state. Capturing the best practice process is done by simply leveraging your subject matter expert as identified by the monitoring process and pushing the information to other end users. End users are now equipped with tools to support knowledge retention and adoption.
All end user information, all the time, data driven, without project teams or training sessions required = low risk productivity gains and confidence that budget and resources are being allocated to high value areas.
Contact Jesse Bernal to learn more about low risk productivity gains using Knoa UEM or follow him on Twitter at @jesseBernal79