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Translating Application Usage into User Training

February 11, 2013 No Comments

Featured article by Michael Zuckerman, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President, Knoa Software

Across the largest organizations in the world, it is not uncommon to find hundreds to thousands of different software applications. Some are used every day for hours by thousands of employees while others are used infrequently by one or two people in a single department. And many sit idle, not used at all. In large organizations, these applications are essential to the backbone operation of the enterprise and often include business core applications such as ERP, CRM, financials, HR systems and manufacturing and distribution systems. The transactions and activity that process orders, deliver products, manage customer expectations and ultimately deliver revenue are part of these important and critical enterprise applications.

Given the criticality to the operation of the business, training and efficiency should be at the utmost importance to the company. The ability to precisely measure capabilities and performance of the user during and after training should be available to convey how the applications are being used. We should be able to measure the performance of each application and see the correlation to the business performance and then understand exactly where and how to improve. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. As we know, the training curriculum design for major enterprise software applications hasn’t changed in 20 years.

It remains very hard to know where each user fits in terms of skills or needs, making it difficult to define and optimize the training that is the best fit for them. In today’s world, training is very much “one size fits all”. Everything and everyone is held to the basic generic training designed to handle custom transactions. There is no room for specialized training or effective training for each user.

To add to the scenario, even with all of the existing tools for measurement, there is just not enough visibility into the end user. User error is one of the keys to understanding how to target training. If you cannot measure it you cannot improve it – it is really that simple. So the question becomes what can we do? How can we get visibility to the key metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that define training success and measure effectiveness over time? How can we wrap new best practice around them, implement remediation and then measure results?

There has been virtually no best practice or tool set to support a methodological approach to targeting training and accurately and efficiently measuring the effectiveness. Targeted training requires a view to each user’s performance. You need to see every view to user performance by location, group, function and by software component type. They should be using the technology – but how can you tell? Can you see by user, by transaction, module, screen and button exactly what they are using? And most important, can you see the user errors?

Using an end-user experience and performance management solution can provide visibility to user performance, business process errors and user errors and enable you to understand your gap to better performance. The incentive to adopt new best practices to better target training is rewarded with a significant return on investment (ROI). Further, you may have visibility at a very high level to reports that detail numbers of transactions. Key managers can now see everything. You can see the specific workflow that was associated with the problem and in fact you can see the exact user error messages experienced by the user. You can see by user, exactly how they are using the software, what modules they are using, how efficiently they are using it, and, most important, perhaps what they are not using.

Strategic capability is also enabled. You can now observe and measure baseline performance metrics that objectively represent the state of user adoption and performance. Targeted training is the beginning of a process that will bring strong benefits to the enterprise’s business.  IT managers and business executives can benefit substantially from this technology. They now have considerable visibility and this changes everything as it enables organizations to define new best practices to leverage the technology to measure and drive targeted training.

Michael Zuckerman, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President, Knoa Software

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