I recently spent a day with a data manager at an Oil and Gas industry company. Observing this data manager provided an ah-ha moment, that I hadn’t thought of before. What skills are necessary for the perfect SAP end-user?
The focus of the day was to design and simplify their automation of their vendor creation process. This data manager was getting his hands dirty, attempting to record and map the data object into Excel spreadsheets. Observing and interacting with him provided an epiphany of which skills work well when applying design thinking. I started to wonder if the modern end-user could benefit from acquiring and refining some of these skills.
Over a number of sessions throughout the day we designed a basic vendor creation, and updated bank accounts, contact and tax values. We then moved on to look at their vendor extension process. I watched the data manager switch hats all day long. He moved from end user to analyst, project manager to governance owner, business to IT, and lastly from student to teacher. At the end of the day he walked away with a deeper understanding of how and why certain automation components are used. I walked away with a refreshed sense of respect for my counterparts navigating the ERP project gauntlet on a daily basis!
I know a data manager is much more likely to have a diverse experience than the typical end user but that merely means that the masses have an opportunity to learn and adopt new skills. For example, identifying gaps in a solution and assessing the risks those gaps pose on the project could significantly improve the value-add that end users bring to an organization. This would include using a mass upload spreadsheet, as well as a troubleshoot data quality error message.
My fellow designer navigated his workspace with ease, demonstrating a good blend of technical competence, risk awareness, and an understanding of intra- and inter-project dependency. This blend of skills work extremely well and I believe the modern SAP end user should strive for, and what their employer should be investing in.
Here’s a few questions to ask yourself:
Could you benefit from being more connected to what’s going on behind the scenes?
Is the solution you identified too risky or too expensive to implement?
Would IT fear a lack of control if implemented, or is it an excess of ideas and feedback that is feared?
Is there even a place for the perfect end user?
Does perfection exist?
From what I observed and have personally experienced, using a balance of technical and analytical skills, with a touch of common sense, is the most powerful combination! What are your top SAP tips?
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