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Most frequent SAP change control technology topics at SAPPHIRE NOW - Concern No 1: Ease of use

by Rick Porter

July 13, 2011

Last issue I introduced the five most frequent SAP change control technology topics of discussion brought up with the team at RSC's 'Simplifying SAP Change Control' booth at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando. That is, ease of use, degree of automation, enforceability, ease of configuration and costs to implement.

In this issue I drill down into the 'ease of use' topic discussing its importance in SAP change control technology selection and use.

Concern No 1: Ease of use

Ease of use of was the foremost question raised to our booth staff by those interested in or considering an SAP change control technology. When asked why, the answers pointed to two main areas. The first being user acceptance and the second being the ongoing overhead of user training.

Given the SAP change team will find itself being asked to interact with the change control technology on a daily basis, a technology that is easy to use is important. Ease of use will result in rapid user acceptance and, quite possibly, a lower ongoing training overhead, both critical to ensuring a quick and effective ROI on any technology investment.

User acceptance

Firstly, technology that is easy to use is far more likely to be accepted and embraced by users than those that are not. A technology that is not accepted by users will result in user invented workarounds and a reluctance to enter accurate data and / or complete required fields. For a technology centered on change control process and governance, consistent and accurate use is critical to success. Any user ef fort to work around the process or to avoid using the technology altogether would be counterproductive and result in a lower ROI than expected or calculated.

Therefore how intuitive a technology is and how familiar users may be with the GUI, set up and or data entry screens certainly goes a very long way to ensuring user acceptance. The amount of actual automation, effectiveness of workflow and the degree of daily activity invasion also has the capacity impact user acceptance.

Training overhead

Secondly, a technology that is easy to use is going to result in a much lower user training overhead than one that is not. A technology that is difficult to use, has multiple steps to complete tasks or activities and is not particularly intuitive in its usability may require extensive user training. Not just for the initial group of users, but for every new team member coming on board.

Because change control process often requires various team member roles and different levels interaction with the technology, complex technologies with a large range of variables for users to consider and remember may well require extensive training programs. The more extensive a user training requirement the longer an induction session for new team members will be, the greater the number of user errors when things are forgotten or done incorrectly and the more time will be lost by new users taking time to become confident in the use of the technology.

Things to consider

A change control technology that is easy to use will eliminate significant user acceptance issues. This will ensure effective use of the technology including fewer usage errors and reduce training overhead — all of which improve ROI and provide expected benefits sooner.

Therefore, to better assure SAP change control technology usability and ease of use for users consider things like the following:

  • How intuitive is the techno logy?
  • How familiar is the GUI?
  • How many steps to complete average tasks?
  • How many team members involved in completing tasks?
  • How invasive is the technology?


Next issue

In the next issue I'll take a close look at the 'degree of automation' question.?

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