The Communication Challenge Between the IT Staff and the SAP Super User

At SAPinsight, we provide the SAP Super Users the ability to connect, learn, influence, and contribute as a community. We recognize that only a Super User really understands the needs and challenges of another Super User. As a result, we are often discussing topics from the view of the Super User.

ASUG 2008 Super User 101

ASUG 2008 Super User 101 – Christine Merritt Insite Objects

However, there is no better way to learn about yourself than to see yourself through the eyes of others.

The Super User communicates with many parts of the organization in their roles as a trainer, a tester, a first responder, resident expert, etc. These roles have different levels of emphasis as the SAP environment rolls through the Testing, Go Live, and Stabilization phases.

Let’s just look at the way IT may view the Super User to better understand the challenges and the solutions. To further drill down, let’s use the testing phase of a new SAP implementation as the example.

In the SAP testing phase, the IT project team will rely on the SAP Super User to report errors and discrepancies in the implementation of the application and the documentation, among other things.

The first challenge that comes to mind in this scenario is the communication barriers caused by the different language that is spoken by each party. Do not underestimate the importance of a language. There are aboriginal tribes that have 25 words for “carry“. We find this odd in our culture. But, these tribes may not use a wheel because there are no good roads. So, they carry their goods through their supply chain. The method a product was transported (carried) is extremely important to understand in any supply chain.

The difference in language between a user and their IT partners does not cause just a failure to communicate, as if that would not be bad enough. It can also cause a misunderstanding in details, like the priority of a problem. The two parties can have a difference of opinion as to the importance of a reported problem just through language. In the statement “it is working”, the technical staff may be considering a technical result. Whereas a user will look at unacceptable business results and say that “it is not working.” Having a difference in understanding of the word “working” in the testing reports can cause excessive delays in the acceptance process. This is a simple example for a complex problem.

The IT staff wants nothing more than to have a great relationship with the Super User. Although communication can be a challenge, the two parties have the same mutual goal. That goal is a successful implementation of the SAP application. In the post written by , Director of Product Management at Panaya, called Three Ways to Make Your Super Users Love You, Mr. Shafir acknowledges that the path between test managers and super users doesn’t always run smoothly. He goes on to list his top three tips for the IT project team to improve the efficiency and quality of the testing process.

  1. Adapt Instructions for Your User
  2. Create Easy to Digest Templates for Defect Reporting
  3. Provide a Clear Definition of Defect Severity

There are simple steps that can be taken to bridge any communication gap that may exist between the IT staff and the Super User for the benefit of all. What steps are being taken by your organization?

SAPinsight provides community through a forum, webinars, regional huddles and face-to-face conferences to exchange ideas on this issue of communicating with the IT project team and more. Share your experiences and suggestions on this Blog and through our social media channels. .



One thought on “The Communication Challenge Between the IT Staff and the SAP Super User

  1. Pingback: Post on the Curse of Knowledge | SAPinsight Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.