The digital transformation that comes with the introduction of new software solutions has a big impact on the way we learn. This has prompted the Learning Services team at SAP to review the future viability of our services with our customers. What you have told us was enlightening.

What has been most interesting to hear is that 95% of customers we spoke to create their own customized, in-house content. They are recognizing the importance of creating more microlearnings in the form of video tutorials and in-application help. Seventy-nine percent of our customers create online content that learners can self-serve at when they need it. As one customer shared, “We are looking for the sweet spot of not overwhelming users with content, to provide the right content at time of need.”

This helps to fully realize the established trend towards learning in the flow of work.

Here are some common pitfalls we have heard from our customers and some tips to consider on how to avoid them:

Not clearly documenting your learning and enablement strategy

While there is a clear focus on creating learning content, the holistic view of the learning ecosystem is not necessarily given the attention it deserves. You wouldn’t build a house without a solid foundation underneath it.

Consider your enablement strategy to be the foundation for your enablement journey. Clearly document every learning and enablement activity you need to undertake, with detailed timelines, milestones, and roles and responsibilities through the project lifecycle and beyond into business as usual. The enablement strategy should be a document that is communicated widely to all stakeholders in your organization. Your learning approach should be clearly understood by all early in the project.

Diving straight into content creation without a learning needs analysis

Learn more about the impact of learning and enablement on user adoption

All too often, the focus is on creating content as quickly as possible, without the due diligence of carrying out a thorough learning needs analysis beforehand. Consider what happens if you do the “big shop” at the supermarket without a shopping list. You buy things that you don’t necessarily need and you forget some important things you do need. How much more efficient can that shop be with a clear, itemized list?

If you don’t base your content creation plan on a learning needs analysis, you risk wasting energy on content that never gets consumed or you miss content that users need, which in turn decreases adoption. Planning and preparation are key. Take the time to conduct a thorough learning needs analysis.

Focusing on content creation pre-go-live, but having no clear plan on keeping that content current

In a fast-paced project environment, the onus is on getting the learning content created to beat the go-live clock. But what happens then? You’ve finished the big shop and now need to fill up your car’s tank. You’ve been so focused on driving your car to the destination that you don’t notice that you have run out of gas. The subject-matter experts and key users you so heavily relied on during the content creation phase go back to their day job or move on. Only 42% of the customers we interviewed have a key user network. Quickly, the content is out-of-date and no one is referencing it anymore. Who is tracking whether it is being consumed? Who is measuring learning effectiveness? Only 17% of our customers create knowledge checks. The content you worked so hard on is quickly dead, forgotten.

Don’t underestimate the key user network for delivering training and keeping enablement content up-to-date beyond go-live. A key user network is invaluable in a digital learning enterprise. Nurture and invest in that network where you can. Plus, all too often, there is no clear hand-off from the project to business as usual. Plans for this should be in place early, back at the enablement strategy stage. As the old saying goes, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”


If you really want to drive adoption, clearly document your enablement strategy, understand the learning needs of your people, and provide the right learning at the right time. To work efficiently, learning content must be continually kept up-to-date, especially in a dynamic cloud world where agility, innovation, and flexibility are key. Have a plan, at the outset, on how you want to get the most out of your learning content and ensure key stakeholders understand the value of tracking content usage and keeping it current.

To understand the learning and enablement activities in more detail, check out the free SAP Learning Journey: Getting Started with Learning and Enablement in SAP Projects.

Sarah Gretton is global digital portfolio manager for Learning Services at SAP.

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