SAP Canada Inc. says its new service can cut training time from days to hours.

The e-business software maker has aligned itself with RWD Technologies Canada Co. to provide SAP customers with education and support services. The offering will include training material and document creation, strategic planning and online support system implementation.

According to Richard Elliott, vice-president of strategic initiatives for SAP Canada, his company will provide the brawn while RWD will provide the brains: SAP takes care of the implementation and maintenance while RWD provides the software.

Elliott says the benefit of the solution is one of simplicity.

“Effectively what we would do is define the process in SAP and the RWD tool is used to capture the actual screens in that process. We then take that screen capture and use that as the training mechanism for the end-user,” Elliott says.

“It bridges the gap between defining of the processes for the configuration and implementation side to the training of the end users. That’s the big benefit that it brings and there’s lots of cost-related benefits attached to that.”

Elliott says the solution can reduce training and documentation costs by 40 per cent, but that isn’t a one-time savings. He says new users are introduced on a regular basis as are upgrades re-configurations to systems. If a company can train employees faster and get them to use a new system, the return on employee performance is obvious, he says.

“If you don’t have the proper change agent to help employees to start to use something the result is they’re not going to use it. They’re going to continue in their manual or old process ways, and so the money spent on that overall big investment in the implementation and the IT architecture of the system gets lost,” Elliott says.

NB Power, New Brunswick’s electric utility, is one of eight users in Canada for training and support for an SAP upgrade project for more than 1,000 users.

“We’ve been struggling with how to sustain training and documentation, and we feel that these tools make it easier to produce this type of information,” says Jacquie Cleveland, chief information officer, business process solutions, business information systems division, NB Power.

Cleveland says it can now maintain documentation with far fewer resources, but adds, “At this point in time we’re not looking at cost savings. I think we’re looking for efficient use of the resources that we’re putting in place.”

While the service may be new to Canadians, it is not the first time the companies have teamed. Elliott says it is mirroring similar relationships with RWD in the Unites States and in Asia/Pacific.

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