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Microsoft Dynamics 365 user training – settle for Task Recorder or go bespoke?

Whitepaper by:Nicky Cortes
Director of Training and Development

Enhancements to the Task Recorder tool in the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) ERP system are being heralded as ‘very exciting’, with claims ‘it doesn’t get easier than that when it comes to training’.

But here at Optimum we’d recommend you draw a careful comparison between the quality of staff training that comes from users independently following a series of automated task guides or a suite of bespoke materials created to support a training programme tailored to your business, your processes and your system build.

The latest release of Microsoft Dynamics ERP (Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations) includes a revamp to Task Recorder so that it now generates both on-screen visual pointers, on how to complete a process, and on-screen step by step instructions. These instructions can also be exported to a Microsoft Word document.

This ‘in-system’ assistance via the Task Recorder’s task guide provides interactive steps leading users through the steps they need to take. For example, creating a new customer or supplier, or following onscreen instructions to populate each field in accordance with a defined set of business rules.

This may sound like a simple and cost-effective solution to end-user training on your new Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations system but, as with everything, there are both pros and cons.

Task Recorder can be a useful tool but further developing the outputs isn’t quite as easy as you might have been led to believe. The amount of time and human input that is required to create the right outputs for your organisation will probably be a lot more than you are expecting. This is mainly due to the fact that Task Recorder initially captures functional instruction only. Therefore, if you want to make your supporting materials completely business aligned, you would need to edit this content and introduce your business process explanations and key messages.

“The enhancements to Task Recorder are a valuable addition to the tool but it is still only capturing functionality.” Nicky Cortes

There are other limitations. As user’s playback the onscreen recordings, they can skip steps, which means that best practice isn’t necessarily being followed or enforced. It can also be time-consuming to edit the content using the task guide pane and care needs to be taken that when the task recording is made the instructions reflect what is actually showing on the screen.

Equally, the onscreen functional instructions don’t contain any business context, so there is no indication as to why the user following the guide is actually taking that action and the consequences of doing so. It also takes time to add the business specific content and example values.

In addition, it is only the instructions that can be exported to a Microsoft Word document. Recording and exporting screen shots can be done but only after installing a Google Chrome extension. Also, the initial export addresses just the functional steps and has to be edited to make the document specific to your build and business processes.

In Optimum’s near 20 years’ experience of designing and delivering tailored, job-specific end-user training on a wide range of business systems, bespoke is best. That said, Task Recorder can be a useful tool for businesses who choose to use it. In this instance, Optimum can still support with the development of these documents by editing these generic materials to incorporate business process and brand-specific detail. However, while this is a viable option, be sure not to underestimate how time-consuming the customisation of these documents can become.

Director of training, Nicky Cortes, says: “The enhancements to Task Recorder are a valuable addition to the tool but it is still capturing functionality only. The results can’t compare with the return in user competency you will get from using experts to carefully design and create your own user-friendly, organisation specific suite of materials from the outset.”

Optimum believes that any ERP system, however powerful, is just a tool; it’s the way it’s used that will deliver the business benefits you’ve invested for. That’s why organisations should be very careful when choosing how to train their users.

Optimum can provide bespoke SAP S/4HANA ERP training programmes to any business, in any location.
Click here to find out more about our services.

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