I am an ardent believer that your user community should be self-sufficient with the task of training and supporting employees on business application software and related operational processes. While IT is typically responsible for providing training services on the initial rollout of enterprise systems, it is best to equip your end user community with eLearning and instructor-led learning aids to help them be self-sufficient. This practice allows you to keep your IT staffing and travel costs low while ensuring end users are educated on business software and processes. That being said, I am not suggesting that you don’t offer a Help Desk to support end users. Although, you should try and limit the reasons users contact the Help Desk to real technical issues and reduce the number of tickets relating to questions on system use and business processes.
Establishing a Super User Program is one of the best ways to reduce IT costs, improve user satisfaction, improve IT employee morale and provide superior support services. Learn how to build an effective program. The program includes the following components:
- Definition of a Super User
- Characteristics of a Successful Super User
- Definition and Measurement of Program Objectives
- Recognition and Reward System
- Program Maintenance
Let’s walk through each of the components so you can get a sense of how to put a Super User Program together for your company.
Definition of a Super User A Super User (SU) is an individual in an organization that is the resident expect for a system or business process. The key responsibilities of a SU include:
- Provides the first line of support for users
- Conducts training for employees on systems and processes
- Assists local management on system job role that should be provisioned to a new employee by IT
- Contributes to System User Groups and Process Leadership Committees to request and decide on system and process changes
- Actively participates in performing User Acceptance Testing (UAT) for new system functionality
- Helps to communicate the availability of new process and system features
Characteristics of a Successful Super User
- Strong communicator
- Advocate of continuous improvement
- High performer
- Respected by local business unit
- Patient with others
- Cares about the success of the company
- Detailed oriented
- Proven ability to troubleshoot and resolve technical and process issues
It is a difficult and demanding role, but offers great challenge and satisfaction to those that pursue this opportunity. In many cases, SUs will gain job security, recognition and even promotional opportunities by participating in the program.
Definition and Measurement of Program Objectives As with any program, you will need to outline objectives of a SU program and determine how those objectives will be measured. Having this in writing will help you articulate the reasons for instituting the program, gain sponsorship from local business units and describe how you will measure the success of the program.
Recognition and Reward System There are many ways to recognize and reward the contributions of SUs. Failure to recognize and reward SUs will spell failure for the program. Here are a few common methods:
- Name plate signifying that employee is a Super User
- Shirt with SU logo
- SUs can be recognized at staff meetings and in company newsletters
- Monetary award
Program Maintenance One of the challenges companies face with SU programs is they often fade out shortly after the implementation of an enterprise system. In order to be successful, you need to come up with methods to maintain the program. Here are some tactics:
- Gain sponsorship from business peers
- Make it official
- Don’t spread out super users too thin
- Train your Help Desk to redirect calls to local super users
- Have backup super users
- Measure and report results
A little planning upfront can go a long way at ensuring success with your super user program. Super users can augment IT resources and help you superior support services to your end user community.