By Gus Lopes, Apex Tool Group
2015-2017 SAPinsight Leader Board Member.
I was on a SAP implementation project once and someone in the highest ranks of the company said this about setting up a Super User Network: “Come on! All you have to do is press a button!” Yes, they literally compared the intricate and sophisticated work of implementing a SUN to the simplicity of pressing a button. To them, hitting the send button on an email and assigning the title of “Super Users” to group of people was all that was needed to happen to magically setup a network.
If you are here reading this, I assume you know it takes more than just “pressing a button” to set up a Super User Network. So I would like to share five of my most hard-learned lessons when working to create the best SUN you can.
- Get everyone’s buy-in. I mean everyone. From the executive management to the casual end user all need to be aware of the network’s benefits and engaged in performing the activities within their responsibilities. End users need to actively follow the determined procedure when consulting with Super Users. It is counterproductive to try and bypass what the SUN has designed as their preferred steps. Another good example is having the leadership team sending communications and publicly announcing their support. It brings the much needed validity to the network.
- Years ago I once thought that after a SUN was established it could more or less run itself on its own. Oh boy, how naïve was I… A sustainable SUN will always need a leader, a coordinator, a manager or whatever title you give the person responsible for running the SUN. Without that central figure, Super Users lose the general sense of direction. Granted that the users who have always acted as super users by helping other users will continue to do so, but with no central governance, the multi-functional, multi-departmental and companywide benefits a SUN can provide are not achievable.
- Provide motivational benefits to each individual Super User. It is a tall order, but it must be done. The complications here start with the fact that each person is motivated by different things. For example, you will have Super Users who appreciate the recognition they get from upper management. Others are truly in it for the priority and advanced training they will get for being a SU. Others yet, and trust me on this one, really appreciate any kind of collateral rewards they get. Also known as swags! What is important is to emphasize that there is a vast range of benefits individuals will receive by participating on the network.
- Make Super Users’ tasks easy to accomplish. At least initially. It is important to spend some time on the front end, developing supporting tools for activities Super Users must perform. For example, let us say you want to keep track of all support SUs provide to end users. Ideally a Super User leader won’t be adding layers of paper work and bureaucracy to this essential activity. The process should be streamlined to make it as fluid and as organic as possible. That is to the benefit of the Super Users and to the end users! Who wants to fill out a 2-page form to have a straight system question answered?
- Record your performance indicators, save your analytics, keep track of all the metrics you can! If you can’t measure you can’t show progress, if you can’t show progress, why are you doing it in the first place? This can be a point of contention between some SUN experts, but I come from a business background where numbers are everything. So I like to keep track of everything I can attach a number to. How many users are being supported? How many “acts of support” are being provided by the SUN? How much time is an individual or a group saving every week/month/year now that they are applying what they learned? Furthermore, and I am well aware it is a daunting task, but do all you can to assign analytics even to things like motivation, knowledge, morale. It pays off when showing to your CFO what your accomplishments were!
Additional tip: Do not underestimate the experience of professionals who have done it before. They have been there, done that, and can save you a lot of headache down the road. One of the ways to be in contact with said professionals is participating in a community such as SAPinsight. I guarantee you will be glad you joined us!