January  24,  2018

We all know how important super users are. They’re the link between the end user and system, the eyes and ears on the front line, and they’re more effective help than Siri, Alexa, and Cortana combined. They’re a critical cog in the go-live machine. But you have to remember they have a day job.

Being a super user means taking on additional responsibilities and a constant stream of questions. It’s downright exhausting being a troubleshooting point-of-contact on top of normal responsibilities. Without the proper support network for your super user team, you might see a drop in productivity, an increase in errors, or even a build-up of resentment for the under-appreciated extra work. That’s why you need to foster and support your super users.

Support the Super User

The best thing you can do for them is protect their time. Super users can’t address troubleshooting calls and emails all day and keep up with their normal work, so help them establish office hours. Having a dedicated time for end users to contact super users greatly increases their efficiency. Two hours spread out over a full day is simply not as effective as 120 concentrated minutes. And remember, not everything is an emergency, so don’t treat all troubleshooting calls as such. Establish an issue log to group and prioritize requests.

While it makes sense to support your super users during a technology roll-out, it’s not the only time to help. In fact, your positive impact might be greater before and after a roll-out than during. Start by building super user responsibilities into your job descriptions. People don’t always respond well to unexpected work, but if you establish an expectation up front, you might find willing super users flocking to the opportunity. Better that than desperately searching for them at the time of need. You can take this a step further by baking in additional privileges or promotions for those who embrace the super user role. If you treat the role with value, you’ll have an easier time filling the position.

Support for your super users shouldn’t end at go-live. When the excitement of a roll-out fades, we’re all left with the realization there is still plenty of work to do. This is often when super users are taxed the most. To combat this, encourage super users to form informal support groups to share information and advice. That kind of collaboration and communication eases their burden when they feel stretched too thin. It will also boost morale and surface issues for project management and the business. Arguably the best way to help super users is to let them help each other. A little love goes a long way.

Over the course of a long and arduous technology implementation, the need for super users is unquestioned. Don’t turn it into a thankless job. Support your super users.