May 16, 2019 | Larry Goldman | Senior Director, Product Marketing
When executives approach us to discuss switching from Oracle or SAP support to third-party software support, their primary objectives tend to be cost savings, better quality support, and a more flexible vendor. Professional development is never on that initial list but does arise later, when engineers and end users enter into the conversation.
IT Leaders will tell us that their teams are upset about the prospect of losing access to My Oracle Support or the SAP Support Portal. Employees ask questions like: “How will we address our product questions?” “How will we retain our value to the organization without the portal?” “How will we expand our knowledge and mastery of the products?”
The concern to learn is legitimate and speaks volumes to the level of motivation and culture of your organization. Is that the type of team you want supporting your organization?
Seeking out the Voice of Customer
In the past, we’ve addressed these types of questions in two ways:
- Explaining that they will have an internal, searchable library on their network that includes related product materials. Employees will have the ability to retain, access, implement, and use the archived material.
- Using a handful of anecdotes from customers that tell how employees find their answers through a variety of sources.
This year, we used the opportunity of our annual customer satisfaction survey to gain a clearer understanding of the issue. We asked a new question: “How do you keep current with your technical skillset?”
The results, when grouped for like answers, are shown in the figure below.
How Do Our Customers Continue to Learn?
The responses above fall into two general groups. By far, the first category consists of individuals who do not feel the need to search for answers themselves. Instead, they rely on the extensive knowledge of Spinnaker Support engineers or – if they are a large enough organization – their own in-house experts.
These individuals have successfully shifted from the more time-consuming self-service portal model of Oracle and SAP to a more hands-on teacher-student model. They’ve become active participants in the learning process and benefit from the long-term relationships they develop with the assigned Spinnaker Support teams or their colleagues. To a lesser extent, some try to teach themselves and experiment in their test environments through trial and error.
The second category of responses is defined by a desire to learn from external materials or groups. These responses referenced a wide variety of sources including local networking groups, online forums, industry or software conferences, online classes, general Google searches, existing manuals, or tools from the software publisher. These customers prefer to reach out for educational tools, events, and communities that align with their preferred style of learning.
Examples of External Sources for Learning
Inspired by the customers who seek out external materials and groups, we compiled the following short list to show the breadth and diversity of educational sources.
- Includes groups, forums, and learning events that all represent the Quest Oracle Community. They have groups specified and open to anyone who has JDE, Oracle Cloud, PeopleSoft, etc. https://forum.questoraclecommunity.org/groups
- JDE EnterpriseOne Tools manual: https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E24705_01/doc.91/e24251.pdf
- JDE World documentation for all releases up to A7.3: https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/documentation/jdedworld-364455.html
- List of free webinars for all Oracle products: https://blogs.oracle.com/certification/who-wants-awesome-free-webinars
- Resource specifically targeting independent Oracle user groups. Contains a lot or resource centers and publications on Oracle products and how to navigate through frequently had issues: http://www.ioug.org/page/oracle-webcasts-online-events
- Tips and tricks to operating Oracle software: https://viralpatel.net/blogs/category/database/oracle-database/
- Platform where experts post tips, tricks, and updates to Oracle products. Videos, publications, and blogs are available: https://smartdogservices.com/resources/
- Online resource for FAQ on all of what Oracle offers: https://www.orafaq.com/forum/
- The Oracle Applications & Technology User Group (OATUG): https://www.oatug.org/education-events/education-events2
- Oracle community forum: https://www.club-oracle.com/
- America’s SAP User Group holds a lot of information. You can sign up to receive updates or can browse their resources available online (webinars, blogs, events, news, etc.): https://www.asug.com/
- SAP training webinars that are available to attend live or on demand. Basic to intermediate help for SAP users: https://www.michaelmanagement.com/sap-training-webinars.asp
- SAP HANA user manual and list of resources/tutorials: https://sapbrainsonline.com/help/sap-hana-tutorial.html
- Information provided by SAP users and experts. Huge database with great insights and information: https://blogs.sap.com/
- Blog resources written mostly about SAP SE: https://www.sapexpert.co.uk/blog/
- SAPInsider is one of the world’s largest independent membership organizations for global SAP professionals. The site includes blogs, case studies, papers, articles, videos and more: https://sapinsider.wispubs.com/
What are your favorite resources?
These are just a few of the resources that individuals can find to broaden their knowledge and skillset and remove their reliance on the Oracle and SAP Support portals. If you have a favorite that is not included above, send a note to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.