Posted on August 2017 By Speller International
At Speller International we regularly place SAP Training and Documentation Specialists with our Clients to train internal staff on how to use a new system. Likewise, we also place SAP Users who are responsible for using the actual system. Late last year Speller implemented a new payroll system which had its standard “teething” phase for any new system, however when it came time to run our EOFY reconciliation/ PAYG Summaries, we got a very real glimpse into the importance of thorough and comprehensive training of how to use a new system and the challenges when there is not ample or thorough system support for the use of the product.
As the Project Manager of the payroll implementation and the main go-between from our company to the software providers, I personally experienced challenges on both sides of the coin; as a Change/ Training Specialists working with Users who are frustrated by the changes and the limitations of the new system, and as a frustrated User navigating through the new system.
Here we examine the 4 main challenges Users experience when faced with a new system.
“But the old system could do it!” – Changing your Mindset
One of the most frustrating challenges when using a newly implemented system is the differences between the old and the new. Sometimes it is the limitations of the actual system and sometimes it is the limitations of our own mindset. More often than not it is actually a combination of the two, which is what we found when processing our own EOFY reconciliation. Keeping an open mind to change is part of the process as is the ability think outside the box on revamping old processes and procedures. Understanding the reason why the new system has been implemented and looking at it from the “bigger picture” can help reconcile the new processes in your own mind. It’s very easy to think only about how the new system impacts your own work flow and not how it benefits the department/ company as a whole.
System Support – Getting the most out of those in the ‘know’
Not only are you dealing with a new system, but you’re also now working with a new set of people who are providing that Support to that system. Because Support Teams assist a variety of departments/ clients their procedures are quite rigid (ie log a ticket with Support to get assistance) which does not suit all types of issues or people. Sometimes you just need to speak with an actual person to completely explain an issue (rather than writing the next version of War and Peace in an email!). A phone call also gives Support the opportunity to ask questions at the time rather than making assumptions when they respond, resulting in a rather long exchange of information before everyone is on the same page, which also flows into the next point of inconsistent information.
Support Teams often prefer an email log so there are notes to refer back to (which can also greatly assist a User if it is an issues that occurs again) so sometimes following the Support process of logging the ticket, then following up with a phone call to discuss further will keep both sides happy and get you a resolution faster.
Inconsistent Information – how do you know what’s right?
As a User, inconsistency in information is a difficult challenge to work around as it can be completely out of your control and the impact on your work can be massive. Inconsistent information can come from the System Support, from Management and from your colleagues. The internal ones are a bit easier to work around as you can ask questions directly or hold a meeting so the information can be discussed in a group. Inconsistent information from your System Support is far more difficult to resolve – as a new User you tend to rely greatly on the information provided by the System Support, even following their instructions somewhat “blindly” because you know no different. What you do know however is your job and if things don’t appear to add up in a logical way, ask questions! There are lots of reasons you may have been provided incorrect or inconsistent information but the best way to find out the correct process is by trusting your gut and asking for clarification. Compare the information against a similar issue you’d experienced before or ask a colleague their thoughts. And don’t be afraid to escalate it with your System Support if things are not adding up correctly – better to have clarified and got it correct than gone along with instructions that did not make sense and have to spend additional time rectifying the error.
Team Communication – say it with a smile!
We’ve written previously on the importance of effective communication, and this couldn’t have been more relevant than when learning to use a new system. When frustrations are high and time is pressured, it can be difficult to keep your tone of voice in check or to wait for the other person to finish before you try and get your own point across. It is important to remember that you’re all working on the same side and that the frustrations you’re feeling will be similar, if not the same as those of your colleagues. Keeping each other across changes in the system, a better way to navigate something or purely just an update on an issue you’ve both been working on can make the process a lot smoother for all involved.
Using a new system can be challenging but it doesn’t have to be all negative! A new system gives you the opportunity to review your processes and to improve your workflow. It opens up the potential for restructuring how you currently do things, allowing you to get the most out of both the system and your own strengths.