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Enhanced on-the-job performance thanks to Performance Support

Over 12,000 employees use ”the Orange“ and more are joining them every day – the success story at REWE Systems

REWE Systems is the IT subsidiary of the REWE Group. Three years ago, the business set itself a bold challenge: It wanted to consolidate the many knowledge assets held across the workforce  into one, simple to access knowledge base. Today, an important milestone has been reached:  225 authors and over 12,000 users now enjoy access to the ”Orange“, and over 400 IT simulations are available.

The REWE Group is a retail and tourism enterprise based in Cologne, Germany. It employs 330,000 people and has a total turnover of 54 billion euro. REWE Systems supports the IT needs of approximately 200,000 REWE employees working across the group’s numerous world-class retail and tourism brands. As part of the digital transformation strategy underway across the group, REWE Systems introduced a Performance Support system equipped to manage a veritable “jungle“ of over 500 different applications.

Visionary: all the IT Systems knowledge you need in one place

Originally, each IT application came with its own help and support resources, but these resources varied dramatically. Help and resources were not delivered in uniform formats and quality varied dramatically. Frequently users would have access to specialist helplines, but employees often resorted to informal help, asking colleagues across the desk for hints and tips. This far-from-ideal situation was complicated further with the introduction of SAP Retail in the purchasing department. Mindful of the need to control implementation costs, REWE ultimately decided that a blend of face-to-face seminars, online learning and performance support presented the best way forward.

Support is king

During the proof of concept phase, when various solution providers were involved, priorities focused on usability and technical compatibility. Both end users and authors needed a system that was easy to use and a comprehensive range of deployment scenarios also had to be tested. As REWE Systems came to recognise the need for a learning partner with the ability to support distinctive needs tts became a natural frontrunner. “There’s a huge difference between using a helpline staffed from the other end of the world and having tts experts available to suggest quick, competent, high quality solutions”, explains IT Training Instructor Mareike Heidemann-Jarosch. Support was a decisive factor in opting for tts, “and we have absolutely no regrets”.

The pilot phase kicked off with three in-house pilot ‘customers’ – namely SAP Retail, Business Administration Organization and HR-IT/HR Process Management. To make sure the new system supported employees in their “moment of need”, Quick Access and its guides needed to be populated with relevant content quickly. This prompted an immediate need for Subject Matter Experts and authors. A one hour roadshow proved to be the best advertisement for authoring talent, generating widespread enthusiasm. Aimed at various departments, such as Purchasing, the roadshow highlighted the importance of delivering help for end users within context, and showcased the potential of a role-based authoring concept for content creation. The fact that REWE’s own departmental experts could be incorporated into the content creation and release process, without necessarily being e-learning experts, was what really convinced stakeholders.

Rapid increase to 225 authors

The success of the roadshow and other in-house promotions for tts ‘Orange’ (REWE System’s name for QuickAccess), including posters, postcards, flyers and explanatory videos, is impressive: REWE Systems’ pool of authors has already grown from 25 to 225 and these authors are supported with custom workflows specifically designed for REWE, best practice training models and technical advice on demand. Any special requests/ features are coordinated with tts directly. Over the course of the pilot phase quality assurance was increasingly identified as a priority requirement for REWE Systems. For example, if files are displayed upside down or inconsistent terminology is present using the tts ‘Orange’ is unlikely to deliver a satisfactory experience. After two years, the results speak for themselves: Authors have uploaded almost 3,500 external documents (manuals etc.), 420 IT simulations and 255 guides involving REWE- specific applications. In addition, tts has supplied 1,200 office guides and web based training resources to replace the former first level support system for all Microsoft Office applications.

Lessons learned and the mobile  Android world as the next goal

Just one year after its launch, Performance Support via „the Orange“ was available to 12,000 users throughout Germany. Other forms of assistance, such as automatic software installation, are expected to boost acceptance even further. Meanwhile, there is an entire community of authors that regularly receives training, and also enjoys access to workshops and webinars, along with first and second level support. Large in-house customers are kept up-to-date with developments during regular meetings. A virtual roundtable of all 225 authoring experts is expected to be launch shortly. It’s full steam ahead for Performance Support at the REWE Group, but REWE Systems has even more ambitious plans: “Performance Support doesn’t stop at at office workplaces: It’ll be rolled out to the stores; provide on-site support to back-office employees running Linux; and become accessible on Android-based MDC devices and Android touch tablets”, says IT Instructor Dany Rousseau. This involves modifying the „Orange“ from Windows to Linux, a process already completed hand-in-hand with tts. The evolution continues.