Applied Industrial Technologies

SAP training and implementation for 3,500 users

Challenges

  • Build and test training content in 12 weeks
  • Minimize training delivery costs
  • Conduct training simultaneously in multiple locations

Solutions

  • Assima Cloning and Digital Assistant Suite
  • Interactive simulations
  • Transactions used multiple times

Results

  • Sustainable training solution for 3,500 users
  • Reduced costs
  • Over 160 training simulations available

The simulations we created pretty much ran themselves. The training delivery went very smoothly.

Applied Industrial Technologies

Challenges

Applied undertook a large scale Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) SAP implementation. Within the company, regional clusters have a primary distribution center to source the majority of their product. Due to the number of system transactions that occur between locations and distribution centers, the solution was rolled out in waves (by distribution center). A total of eleven deployments across the US and Mexico were scheduled, with one occurring every two months.

A number of significant challenges faced Applied when it came to developing and delivering end-user SAP training to support this effort:

- The realization (or build) phase of the project was very short. The training team would only have 12 weeks to build, test and prepare for delivery.

- The rollout of the solution would occur over a long period of time (a total of three releases and eleven deployments over a two-year span).

- Applied wanted to have as much of the training hosted at its own locations as possible to reduce delivery costs. However, Internet connectivity and bandwidth were poor at many of these locations.

- Given the number of users and the duration of the delivery window, overlapping training sessions would need to be conducted simultaneously across multiple locations.

Solutions

Given Applied’s specific situation and requirements, Assima was identified as a viable system practice solution for training. Furthermore, Accenture had successfully implemented large SAP ERP projects utilizing Assima for training in the past.

Assima simulations are more than screen captures. They are clones of the actual system, allowing users to interact with the screens much like they would in the real SAP environment. For instance, users can enter data into fields, click on buttons, activate pull-down menus and scroll horizontally and vertically to see an entire screen. Simulations can be built in a “straight line” to allow just one path to complete the transaction or they can be built with branch-offs, allowing users to take alternative paths through the transaction.

The Accenture team was also able to leverage its relationship with Assima through its procurement arm in order to obtain the software. With this reduced investment, Applied was able to realize potential cost benefits in comparison to building a dedicated training environment and staffing offshore resources to maintain the environment over the lifecycle of the project. Assima also helped Applied address the issues of rapid development/deployment and Internet connectivity in the field during instructor-led training (ILT).

The architecture of the Assima development software allows training developers to capture transactions in the live application once and to then produce multiple outputs from that single capture. This allowed the Accenture training development team to capture a transaction once and then use separate outputs for eLearning versus instructor-led training. This reduced the overall development time compared to other tools.

Assima simulations do not require any connectivity to the Internet. The published simulations are hypertext markup language (HTML) files that can be loaded directly onto participants’ laptops and played through a standard Web browser. As a result, Applied could host online training almost anywhere, including its own facilities. This helped reduce the overall cost of training delivery and, more importantly, avoiding the risk of an interruption in the end-user training experience due to unpredictable internet connectivity issues.

Our Organizational Development group has done a lot of training over the years but never at this volume and speed. I'm amazed at how much we have developed and delivered and how quickly we have been able to do it. I don't know of another tool that would allow us to develop systems training this quickly.

Applied Industrial Technologies

Results and Benefits

By collaborating with Applied’s developers and utilizing the Assima software, Accenture was able to successfully develop and deliver a sustainable, repeatable online training solution to the end-user population at a reduced cost. Moreover, the Assima simulations eliminated the need for Applied to maintain a live training environment and allowed it to use its own facilities to deliver training, further reducing delivery costs. Due to Assima’s single-capture, multioutput capability, training could be developed more efficiently. Given the abbreviated realization phase for the solution, this was a crucial benefit of using Assima. Some 3,500 end-users are benefiting from the 64 hours of training and 160 plus simulations developed. Ultimately, it was Accenture’s experience in using the Assima software and its relationship with Assima in the marketplace that helped secure the delivery of a successful SAP online training solution for Applied—on time and on budget. Accenture could also easily transition the Assima simulation development to Applied. The tool requires an initial period of training and repetitive use before a user becomes truly comfortable. By balancing the development effort across both Accenture and client resources during the initial training build, the Accenture team was able to build Applied’s competence and put them in a good position to develop additional Assima simulations in the future.

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