Onsite Champions vs. Super Hero Consultants – Part 1

As you’d expect, a SYSPRO technical support position comes with heavy intellectual responsibilities. This morning, for example, I sat at my desk drinking coffee while pondering the question of superheroes. The exercise proved profitable – I have ascertained, after deep cogitation, that superheroes have a great deal to tell us about the appropriate modes and uses of SYSPRO support.

Let’s take a look at two iconic superheroes: Batman and Superman. Batman, in the language of SYSPRO, is an Onsite Champion – he lives in Gotham City, he works for the betterment of Gotham City, and his skill set includes an intimate knowledge of local conditions. He’s who you call if someone has robbed Gotham Bank or stolen a jeweled thingummybob from the Gotham Museum. Note that Batman’s problems rarely spread beyond the immediate area of his expertise, and that the villains are usually human.

Superman, on the other hand, is not anchored to any one place. His range covers the entire universe, including other dimensions. His abilities are universal, rather than local, and his powers are enormous. He can deal with just about any problem, and just about any size or species of villain. On the other hand, he may lack local knowledge, and will only be there when the situation is dire. In the language of SYSPRO support, Superman is a Super Hero Consultant.

SYSPRO promotes different levels of support for different companies. Onsite Champions are trained in-house, usually from the time of the ERP implementation. Ideally, they become ‘Seekers of Value’, driving change and bridging the gap between the business and the ERP provider. Super Hero Consultants, on the other hand, are brought in through support contracts, or on an ad hoc basis as needs arise. They are not necessarily experts in local conditions, but they know their way around all aspects of SYSPRO. Sometimes customers ask me which superhero is better – should they take the time to train an in-house champion, or is it more cost- and time-effective to shell out the consultancy fees?

My opinion, after years of manning the technical support desk, is that any business with an ERP system ought to have access to both kinds of superhero. Each, at different times, can be essential for fixing problems, implementing new features, upgrading to new solutions, and guiding users who take on new tasks and roles.

To a large degree, the hero you choose for any particular problem should be determined by the nature of the task at hand, but there are other important considerations in a company’s support strategy. These include size, industry type and the resources of the company. Knowing what different superheroes are capable of – and what they’re not capable of – allows companies to choose the appropriate level of support.

In Part 2 of this blog I will discuss the pros and cons of each type of superhero.

I would like to hear from you as to which you think is more efficient and, or cost-effective – to train an in-house champion, or to pay for consultancy fees as and when the need arises?


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