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The Art of Seduction: Selecting the Ideal Super-Users

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There are so many decisions that will make or break your SAP implementation, but super-user selection should be at the top of that list!

Cherry-picking those unique individuals that will serve as the conduit for the change that is SAP is no easy feat. After all, if they are that good at what they do, why would you want to remove them from the organization for an extended period of time to participate in an "IT project"? First of all, implementing SAP is not an IT project, but a business project that requires business participation and leadership, but that's a topic for another blog! Secondly, and most importantly, why wouldn't you want your best and brightest leading the project? SAP is a major change and this change is what your super-users must champion in true super-hero form.  The people you choose to represent your company on the project will clearly communicate your commitment to the success of SAP to the rest of the organization.

Why does the selection of super-users matter so much?  It matters because these users must function in a number of capacities from communicating as-is buisness processes to data migration to system testing, so you need individuals that can wear mutliple hats.  It matters because these users will be your first line of defense to the general end-user community during the critical post go-live transition period, so you need people that can react quickly when it comes to resolving issues.  In short, it matters because your super-users will be a deciding factor in the success or failure of your project.  

What does the ideal super-user look like? These are traits and skills I look for when choosing a super-user to work within my project, ranked in order of what is most important:

  • Computer savvy: I know, you are thinking "who isn't computer savvy these days?" You would be surprised at how many people struggle with the applications currently used by their organization! You may have the perfect person in mind for the super-user role, but if they aren't adept at navigating simple Windows-based applications then they will struggle as an SAP super-user.
  • Excel proficient: May sound silly, but so much of a project will happen in excel.b2ap3_thumbnail_SAP-superuser.png  Consider data mapping, data cleansing, status & task tracking...excel usually ends up being the "go-to" tool of choice.
  • Communication: I know, I know...this is a buzzword that we tried to kill off decades ago but being able to effectively communicate business requirements verbally and in written form is an essential role for your super-users.
  • Team player: This is a project, after all, so working closely and cooperatively with all levels of the project team is vital.
  • Deliverable & deadline diligent: Projects are all about deadlines so make sure you choose a super-user that can deliver quality results within the confines of a tight schedule.
  • Legacy system literate: Your super-users should be knowledgeable with current business applications, processes, data and integration points with various departments or functional groups. Believe it or not, but this is the least important quality for a super-user to have. Subject-matter experts (SMEs) should be identified in addition to your super-users for just this reason;  SMEs are those people within your organization that offer unquie or "tribal" knowledge around certain aspects of your business.  Your super-users should consult the SMEs within the organization to help drive clarity around legacy business processes and requirements, so don't worry too much about finding an expert for each and every functional area. Instead, choose a super-user who is resourceful enough to find answers when they have none.

Has super-user selection been the make or break for your project? In addition to super-users, what do you see as a make or break project decision?

Now that you've determined the ideal candidates for your super-user role, how do you seduce them into wanting to participate?  Look for a follow up blog that will outline ways to make being a super-user so attractive that it's impossible to decline!

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Married to the best SAP super-user I’ve ever had!



  • Graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of Texas at Dallas (go Comets!)

  • Loves to travel and plans to step foot on all 7 continents (4 so far, 3 to go)

  • Loves to read fiction, especially Stephen King

  • Loves photography via the iPhone

  • Recently became a runner with two 5Ks under my belt with a lifetime goal of 1 full marathon

  • Has 2 dogs currently but that could always change since my love of animals is second only to the love for my husband!

Comments

  • Guest
    Michael Burke Saturday, 08 February 2014

    Thanks

    I like the premise of your blog. SAP has always highlighted the need for the "super user " participation. I can tell you that in my experience I have seen allot of super users turn out to be super poopers. I am SAP Platinum and I have worked on SAP projects since 1992.
    I also agree with your point about SAP being the tool used on a Business Change Process. I look forward to your future thoughts.
    [*]

  • Nicole Land
    Nicole Land Tuesday, 11 February 2014

    Your comments are very much appreciated Michael! I love the term "super-poopers". I've definitely seen a few of those in my day. A strong super-user can really make all the difference in the world! :)

    Hopefully you have subscribed to our blog so you can receive alerts as new posts are featured. I am currently working on the follow up to this post so stay tuned!

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Guest Wednesday, 22 October 2014