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SAP Training – What to Train and How to Train?

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SAP Training - What to Train and How to Train?

SAP implementation in organizations is a huge change management initiative. If it is not handled well, it will result in huge capital investment, but very slow adaption. Training is the major component in implementing SAP successfully.

According to research conducted by Stein, M-K. and Galliers, R.D. (2013), ERP training can be categorized into different content area and knowledge type. The table shown below describes each category.

Content Area in ERP learning Identified Types ofKnowledge-in-Use Description
SAP System Conceptual Cognitive: knowledge of concepts and definitions within the ERP system (e.g., what MRP means)
Procedural(surface & deep) Cognitive: Knowledge of which actions are valid within the ERP systemSituated: Knowing which buttons to push and when, which fields to fill, etc.
Processual Cognitive: Knowledge of business processes within the ERP systemSituated: Knowing which activities follow/precede other activities in the system
Integrated Cognitive: Knowledge of how processes in the ERP system integrate in a specific organization
Business Processes Conceptual Cognitive: Knowledge of business processes in general, e.g., what is fulfillment, regardless of a specific system
Processual Cognitive: Knowledge of how data flows in business processes in general, regardless of a specific system
Integrated Cognitive: Knowledge of how different processes fit together, e.g., how procurement may precede production.
Organizational Contexts Conceptual Cognitive: Knowledge of concepts and definitions that apply within different industries, e.g., servicevs. manufacturing
Integrated Cognitive: Knowledge of how different processes look like and fit into different contexts

Source: Stein, M-K. andGalliers, R.D. (2013). Enterprise Systems Education: How “Not Learning” Happens.

Most organizations focus only on the procedural knowledge – How to fill in data, which tab to click etc., which is useful at an application level. This is basically done through online software simulation, where the learner can watch the software screen animation on how to use the tool and also gets an opportunity to try it himself in a simulated environment.

The main problem with this training is it addresses only “How To” but fails to tell the adult learners “Why they need to get trained? How will it help in his job? How will organization benefit from this initiative?

A blended approach is effective to impart such training.

  • A video from the CEO on organizational vision and business impact will create willingness to change.
  • Series of workshops on various aspects of business processes, roles and responsibilities.
  • 20 minutes online modules on various key concepts, definitions and business processes will help reinforce learning.
  • Finally software simulation tutorials as a ready to use job aids.

In order to successfully train the global workforce, we need to address why and how this SAP implementation will help the organization as a whole and the employee’s job in particular. Once your employees are convinced, then they can be trained on how to use the software.

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