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How France Télévisions reduced its user support after 10 years of using the Oracle ERP application


During our “feedback” webinar on France Télévisions’ innovative digital adoption strategy, Eric Piaumier, Head of MOA / GIS at France Télévisions, discusses the context and challenges of their new ERP deployment project:


What was the context of your project?


To give you the context and the stakes of our project at the level of the financial department and the overhaul of the core of our system, we have been using Oracle E-Business Suite for more than 10 years now and we decided to migrate in 2019. We therefore launched the project in September 2019 with the aim of opening on the new version on 1 January 2021.


We are working on the classic finance modules:

  • supplier invoices and orders are on AP/PO,
  • on customer invoicing on AR,
  • and general accounting on GL.

On these 4 modules, we have about 2 000 users. A lot of users on purchase requisitions and orders, since it is the suppliers (1,000 users) and the buyers (600) who represent the majority of our users, although our biggest users in terms of clients are the financial employees (400), where we have accountants, management controllers, and financial employees from other business divisions who are at the level of the programmes, and who use all the data from the accounting and purchasing departments to analyse their production cost, their cost price and their supplies.

So for this user area we started with the idea of migrating to a totally SaaS solution and we moved to the new version of Oracle, the Cloud version, which is totally different in terms of ergonomics.

In other words, the new ergonomics are much more user-friendly, in any case more modern than the one we had and the one Oracle had been using for 10 years, which was already quite outdated (even then it was perhaps a little behind its competitors). The new version is much more web-based, or at least it is much more fluid in terms of navigation.

Given the short time we had on the project, we kept our processes, and only the ergonomics of the application changed, if I may summarise.


Why did you choose a digital assistant?


From the start of the project we wanted to have a digital assistant. We had also done a bit of monitoring, but our configuration had two historical processes/transactions, namely order entry and receipt entry, where, despite 10 years of using the same system, our functional support was receiving more than two thirds of its calls for assistance on these processes.

That is to say, despite the training, a system of ongoing training every month on these two processes that was put in place due to the fairly high turnover of suppliers, and despite the reminders, our support received a lot of calls on these problems.

We have two historical transactions, order entry and receipt entry, where, despite 10 years of use of the same system, despite training, despite reminders, our functional support received more than 2/3 of its assistance calls on these courses.

So this could be due to:

  • the application as such,
  • the way we set it up,
  • all the information that needs to be filled in to make an order or “clean” receipts, i.e. orders where the financiers ask for a lot of information to do the analyses, but where the business doesn’t necessarily want to fill in everything…

That was our observation, and so from the start of the project we said to ourselves: we have to reduce this number of tickets. This was our objective and we thought that a digital assistant would enable us to do this by providing instant help to the user when he is on his transaction.

As the group’s e-learning follow-up rate on application training does not exceed 15%, the Shortways Assistant was used as support training: after being trained, France Télévisions users could activate Shortways as a support to remind themselves of particular points/attention points in the course.

Conversely, the self-training approach was chosen for the Group’s new HRIS system, where the Shortways Assistant guides users through a step-by-step process from A to Z for entering leave, for example.

What impact did the health crisis have on your use of the Shortways Assistant?

Another thing that came up in the course of the project, as it did with all of them, was the health crisis.

When I say that I am responsible for a support, I always say that I am responsible for a craft support, I am not an industrial, professional Help Desk. At the beginning, we are professional people: accountants, management controllers, who are there to help their former colleagues with whom they shared the same profession with transactions.

However, as there are 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, the “super user” being someone close by in the physical sense of the term (someone who was on site, in the regions of France 3 or in the overseas stations), when we knew that we were going to deploy the application remotely (the recipe, the deployment, etc.), we told ourselves that this digital assistant was the right tool as the first element of contact, and therefore opened up the possibility for all end users to contact the support directly via this digital assistant.


What have been the benefits of Shortways’ integrated support request functionality?

People prefer to call support […]. We, as support, are a bit annoyed by this because it is a burden and, like everyone else, we have to save money and would like to have less of a burden.

For us, the email is quite educational because the user makes the effort to formalise his problem and generally […] the answer to the question is in the email he sends.


What have you learned from your experience with Shortways?

As we are moving more and more towards standard SaaS solutions that are not always adapted to the user’s common sense, having the digital assistant allows us to «wrap» the solution a little.

It was important to show the users the strategic places where to enter information, which are not always displayed simply depending on the solution we have acquired.

These solutions are not always in our hands. We are no longer in the days when we made very simple specific screens for our company’s needs: we are obliged to adapt to the screens of publishers which evolve according to the needs of the greatest numbers, and which are not necessarily the needs of our users. So the digital assistant is a real help for that. And that’s what I’ve learned from this experience, that it helps us to learn how to use the solution.

The second element where I am pleasantly surprised is the speed and simplicity of setting up courses, as well as the reactivity that we can have thanks to this simplicity on the messages.

Yesterday, we were totally stuck in production to pass accounting ODs for the quarterly close. We couldn’t take away users’ rights, but we were able to use the digital assistant to put up a page saying «In progress» or «Warning, you cannot enter DOs via this method», a feature I hadn’t necessarily thought of a year ago. We couldn’t do that on the application!

Thanks to Shortways, support has been able to be (pro)active in the face of numerous recurring questions by enriching/improving the step-by-step instructions and help following the analysis of tickets, and by adding contextual/pop-up help bubbles on hovering over the keyword on the page with a link to download a complete reference document explaining the purchasing categories.

So users now have access to the necessary documentation in 2 clicks, without having to contact support, or leave the application and get lost among the various company sources. And all these autonomous answers save tickets and relieve the support team.

«There was this agile aspect of analysing the tickets filled in to be able to better guide the user. […] It allows us to be quite reactive to requests», concludes Eric Piaumier.