Oh, The Good Old Days…

Who among us has not heard about the “good old” days?  My grandmother regularly peppered my Sunday dinner with stories, sometimes lectures, on how life was a little simpler way back when. However, if you apply some logic, it may be apparent that the premise might not hold water. 

Technology is our revolution which has freed us from monotonous tasks, as well as provided new opportunities for insight and growth. Surprisingly, we need to learn how to free ourselves from our old ways.

So do you still have this on top of your television?

So do you still have this on top of your television?

Take the “Betamax” player.  Aside from taking the space of a small loveseat, it was pretty simple to use.  Press the “on” button, insert the tape and press play. Soon consumers demanded a few more features and we were all graced with the latest and greatest invention of all time, the programmable VCR.

What more could I want in life?  I now had the opportunity to record the debut of the “Thriller” music video while in detention room 101.  However, we all know life is not that simple.  I had to first learn to program the clock, channel and record time.  Those benefits came with a small price to pay.

As a veteran Oracle / Hyperion Instructor, I could train our Oracle / Hyperion Enterprise clients how to press the “on” button, insert the tape and press play in about a week. Following the incredible success of Oracle / Hyperion Enterprise, Pillar and Essbase, clients wanted more features and functionality. 

Oracle / Hyperion Solution’s met the challenges presented by their customers.  With the acquisition of Hyperion by Oracle, the Oracle / Hyperion suite of Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) products merges a host of financial, reporting and analysis, and data integrations tools.  These tools have refined how people work and interact with business information.  It has also changed how we must provide training in order to prepare project teams, administrators and end users.

The System 9 and Fusion generation of products touch a much more diverse population of users.  The products range from Executive Dashboards, to administrative budget collection forms and into the Information Technology (IT) back-office environment. 

A one-size fits all training solution is no-longer as effective as it once was, like in the “old days” of desktop reporting.  Now, we need to think about tailored training to meet the needs of each group of users and instruct them on how to most effectively incorporate the technology into their user-specific work day tasks. 

The stepchild of training is managing change. Everyone is “fired-up” during the implementation phase.  Each person striving to learn and understand all there is to know about the new system.  But what happens when some people move on and others move in?   Again, the scope of the latest products demands tailored training to meet the needs of the users, but also a plan to cover the entire cycle of ownership.

The challenge of providing training to an incredibly diverse user base, preparing users for multiple phases of projects, and how to live with and maximize their investment in technology has been exciting.  Training solutions now weave together, printed materials, customized courses; web-based training seminars and re-usable recorded instruction.  Training has become a separate and distinct project unto itself.

The products are not difficult to use, the challenge is ensuring people know how to thoroughly utilize all of the features and functions. Second, to make sure they understand how the technology fits into their daily tasks.

An Oracle / Hyperion competitor used to boast that one of their products was more user-friendly than HFM, and therefore required little training.  That should throw a warning flag to the consumer.  As the Oracle / Hyperion suite is an EPM set of applications, there must be an “enterprise” plan how to manage the needs of the users that the system will touch throughout the cycle of ownership. 

A well-defined training plan must address educational needs across all phases of an implementation.  It cannot be overemphasized that effective preparation can truly play a key role in keeping a project on schedule and budget.  The results are that project leaders can more effectively communicate and understand design decisions.  The members of the project team are able to test, validate and troubleshoot tasks more efficiently.  Lastly, users understand the purpose of the project and how it fits into their daily tasks.

You will find that having a comprehensive training plan will be invaluable when you need to prepare new employees, manage employee movement, and preparing everyone for software upgrades and enhancements.

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