An Interview with Kristin Colon

Kristin Colon is a Senior Training and Adoption Solution Engineer for SAP and helps SAP customers design the right mix of project team readiness for their upcoming transformation. I sat down with Kristin on a Thursday afternoon to pick her brain on all things Project Team Training.

CF: In your own words, when people think about Project Team Training or Core Team Training, what does that mean and why should our customers care?

KC: Project Team Training is really the means of enabling and upskilling those people who during your implementation are going to be sitting through design and build workshops. They’re going to be making decisions about what’s best for your organization, because they really need to understand the full functionality and capabilities of the SAP solutions that are being implemented. It’s important that these teams have training, so they’re empowered and armed with this information and be an active participant during these workshops.

CF: These discussions take place before the customer ever starts to implement SAP, correct?

KC: Correct. These same people are going to be responsible for supporting, maintaining, and configuring your systems after going live. Even though you go live, their roles are not done. They are continuing in a support and maintenance role. So having this knowledge is going to allow them to be able to respond to support issues. It’s going to allow them to troubleshoot.

Ultimately, it’s going to lead to overall adoption of your system, because these are technical users who will eventually assist training developers to understand the system and build training for your end users using the system.

CF: One of the things I’ve read about, and I think I’ve heard you discuss on webinars, is SAP’s blended approach to learning. What does that mean exactly?

KC: A blended learning approach really touches upon the ways that people learn best and in our SAP blended learning model that combines traditional instructor-led training with self-paced learning via the SAP Learning Hub. And this is really going to save an organization time and money because you’re going to want to look at core fundamental training to be delivered to a larger audience.

That’s really laying the framework and fundamentals for the core project team in a classroom-type environment. This means that the instructor is able to provide focus and attention in a personalized way. Students are walking away with the same level of understanding and that’s going to empower them to be able to do more detailed training in a self-paced fashion.

Also, this blended learning model saves time. When you think about training even ten years ago, people would spend upwards of 20 days sitting in training. In this blended model that time is greatly reduced because we understand that people have daily responsibilities that they need to do in addition to training.

CF: Do you have any tips for a customer that considering a move to SAP S4HANA? What would you recommend as their first step?

KC: I would recommend starting early. We know people are very busy.

Ahead of an implementation or at the very beginning of an implementation, get the training those functional and technical teams will need early wo they can actively make the right decisions in those workshops. The last thing we want to them to experience is sitting in a design and build workshop and not understanding the topics that are being discussed.

Additionally, if in an S4HANA transformation, we’re often looking at two separate audiences: people who are brand new to SAP or people who are upskilling from ECC.

Just because you have existing SAP knowledge in ECC and are moving to S4, this is not an IT upgrade. This is an actual transformation, so it’s important that your core or project team be enabled on the delta differences and the new functionality, and oftentimes that can be overlooked.

CF: How does a customer know what training they should take?

KC: We have various methods and assistance out there to help a customer define their training needs. They can always go to one of their SAP Account Executives who will put them in touch with the resource from our presales team within Training and Adoption and we can make those recommendations.

Additionally, the SAP Learning Hub Learning Journeys have visual curriculum maps broken out by role and SAP solution or SAP can do a skills assessment and build out prescribed training paths for customers.

CF: Thanks, Kristin. Do you have any specific advice for customers starting down the path of Project Team Training?

KC: I would say don’t get overwhelmed depending on what type of training you need.

There can be a dozen courses and just looking at it can be very overwhelming but think of it in terms of academia. As you get going, you may realize that you have more fundamental baseline knowledge than you think. Also, keep the finish line in your view in that by enabling and upskilling your team, you’re building an internal Community of Expertise (CoE). You’re going to have this internal proficiency that’s going to negate the fact or negate the reliance on outside support. By making an investment in your internal team, you are ultimately saving money in the long run.