How do you avoid the corporate knowledge gap on your process and procedures?
For a number of years there has been an ongoing discussion in many industries about the difficulty of passing on the ‘knowledge’. In factories, workshops and trades the decrease in the number of apprenticeships has been a continuing cause for concern. Where do the long-time employees hand over their knowledge baton to?
We most likely have all heard a personal story about the problem. My neighbour retired a few years ago from a long involvement in the brick industry. The first few years of his retirement were spent documenting his and other colleagues’ knowledge. They had stopped a large apprenticeship program many years before and were now paying the price. No young lads had paid their dues over the years to replace the old timers.
Getting and keeping the skills can be a challenge. This organisation has a specialist piece of software that controls asset leases, royalty agreements, contracts and permits; pretty sophisticated stuff that you do not just suddenly understand on your first day. A few years ago they put in place an application that replaced spreadsheet lists and calendar entries with a holistic system that addressed their business needs. Governance, audit, financial and legal all satisfied. However the effectiveness of the system deteriorated over time because of staff turnover. Not all information and skills were passed on. New staff had to guess the appropriate processes and procedures.
Another client had a procurement problem. The footprint of users was large and it was the frequency of use and staff turnover that became the issue. Obviously when the users are not able to easily comply with company procedures, problems quickly escalate.
Recently our company hosted a national user day for iPOS for Infor SunSystems. It was a great day. It was about people connecting with other companies and learning their lessons; it was about seeing how improvements can be made; it was about seeing what was possible and it was about taking away a nugget of knowledge. The day was remarkable in that no sales people were present; it was clients and our consulting, development and support people only. I trust it was as great a day for our clients as it was for me.
On the day, what I saw presented was a software solution that addressed this need to ensure company procedures are kept intact and not diluted over time. It was a product called Infor EPAK – Infor Enterprise Performance Accelerator Kit. Bullseye. This simply addressed the business need. It is unfortunately only available for Infor-based products, but luckily we have many clients using Infor applications so it can make an immediate impact.
So what is it? It records all the steps you want users to take when using the software. The recording can then be interlaced with instructions, tips, notes and videos.
So imagine you get a new procurement user. They just login and can watch a video of how to properly raise a requisition; they can see how a contract should be set up. The process takes the user through an e-learning ‘see it’, ‘try it’ and ‘do it’ experience. With this assistance, the new user will be up and running quickly and effectively, and the occasional user doesn’t have to ask someone for help every time.It solves the problem for the client in regional Australia plus addresses the others client’s need for procurement.
You can read more about EPAK here.
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