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interview of Céline Ropartz, Engie

The 2 approaches to using Shortways to train and support France Télévisions users

Eric Molins, Deputy Director of Engineering and Support Functions, and Eric Piaumier, Head of MOA / SIG, talk about France Télévisions‘ innovative digital adoption strategy, and the two approaches to using the Shortways Assistant for their projects. 

What were the contexts and challenges of your application deployment projects? 

Eric Molins: In 2019, 2 fundamental projects were launched: 

Firstly, the migration of our Oracle on premise ERP E-Business Suite to Oracle Cloud. 

Secondly, the upgrade of our HRIS on the Payroll & Business Management part, which gave us a more modern employee portal. 

The challenge was to have a single product for all France Télévisions applications covering all our users, with a fixed price for implementation in order to comply with public procurement regulations. 

Eric Piaumier: In the Finance Department, we had been using Oracle E-Business Suite for more than 10 years and decided to migrate to the new Cloud version in 2019, which is totally different in terms of ergonomics. It is much more user-friendly and modern. 

However, despite 10 years of use, our functional support was receiving more than 2/3 of its assistance calls on our 2 historical paths/transactions, i.e. order entry and receipt entry. 

This is despite a system of monthly training sessions on these two paths (due to the high turnover of suppliers), and reminders. E-learning does not work for us. Our completion rates on application training do not exceed 15%

We therefore thought that a digital assistant would allow us to reduce this number of tickets by providing instant help to our 2,000 users divided into 3 main profiles (1,000 supplier profiles, 600 buyer profiles and 400 financial profiles) when they are working on their transactions. And we launched the project in September 2019 with the aim of opening the new version on 1 January 2021. 

What impact did the health crisis have on your ERP project? 

Eric Piaumier: In the support department, we are already professional people: accountants and management controllers, who are there to help their colleagues with the transactions. As there were not many of us, we had a first filter: for years at France Télévisions, the only people who could call the support team were those identified as “super users“. 

With the health crisis, as the “super user” was someone who is close by in the physical sense of the term, when we knew that we were going to deploy the application remotely, we thought that this digital assistant was the right tool as a first point of contact, and made it possible for all end users to contact the support directly. 

We also provided a communication system relating to the tool and training videos to help people get started.

We observed that all this generated substantial work that was too much for some of the business units, and some felt that they lacked the feeling necessary for this task. So the level of support was not uniform across the group. On the other hand, we saw some very interesting local initiatives.

Another observation is that most staff do not use our tool every day; some processes are used only once a year. In the first year, when such a process comes to an end, the users understand more or less how the system works. But ten or eleven months later when they need it again, they have forgotten, and to make matters worse the system may have evolved. Therefore to reassure users and local support teams, little inclined to make the same learning effort as in the first year, we decided to integrated a Digital Assistant in the tool (we chose Shortways). We were convinced that a help system providing tooltip reminders would be most efficient if it were accessed directly by users just when they need them – in other words, when using the system.

What methodology was used to set up Shortways?

Eric Molins: We set up a multidisciplinary working group to be as broad as possible, presented the products and then put them out to tender. As they are not used in quite the same way, each project treated Shortways in its own manner.  

What was new for the HR project was that the scope of the portal affected all employees. Together with the integrator, a study was first carried out in order to define which functionalities would be used for the use cases. Then the installation was carried out. 

Eric Piaumier: Our colleagues from the HRD have opted for a detailed step-by-step approach. We did not have to undergo any training to enter our holiday periods into the new system: a Shortways course guides us from A to Z. 

For the ERP project, after having done some research, we wanted to have a digital assistant from the start of the project, with a view to consolidating the training. That is, to train users and then activate the Assistant to provide a refresher on particular points in the process. 

Communication on the digital assistant was introduced 3 weeks before the start date. 

We started the distance learning courses in December, with a start date of 19 January. When we returned from the holidays, we communicated about Shortways in a light-hearted manner by saying: “Have you forgotten all about training? This is quite normal, but don’t worry, there is a digital assistant! This is how it works: …”. 

We also issued 3 newsletters of this type before 19 January. 

What are the results and KPIs concerning your project?

Eric Molins: Implementation of the new HR portal started in February and we have since passed the 3,000 step-by-step guides mark. We can say that overall it is a solution that provides good service and is used. 

Eric Piaumier: As we are moving more and more towards standard SaaS solutions that are not always to our liking or intuitive for the user, having the digital assistant lets us enhance the solution. We are no longer in the era when we made very simple specific screens for our company’s requirements: we are obliged to adapt to the software publishers’ screens which evolve according to the needs of the largest number of users, which are not necessarily the needs of our users. 

The digital assistant was a real help in getting users started with the solution. It was important to show the users the strategic places where information has to be entered. 

The second element is the speed and simplicity with which the paths are established, as well as the responsiveness and agility that can be achieved with requests for assistance. Thanks to the analysis of the tickets filled in directly via the Assistant, we realised that certain questions were recurring, and this let us enhance the windows or the help. 

Thank you Eric Molins and Eric Piaumier for sharing this interesting experience.