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Elevate Your ERP Training With Oracle UPK

Posted by Grant McIver | 5/25/17 9:53 AM

So you’ve recently licensed the Oracle UPK (User Productivity Kit) for your on-premise or cloud ERP solution? A very wise investment. End users will now have a tool that illustrates exactly, step-by-step, what they need to do in your ERP system. “No end user left behind” and no more excuses to not follow business process.

The UPK tool itself isn’t hard to learn but there can be some hesitation in how to best approach it. You may generally know what you need to do (e.g. generate and publish content) but you may be unsure where to start and where to cap yourself. Anytime you have an opportunity to lead and deploy a new tool, you want to show that you’re “captain of the ship.” Furthermore, at the end of your project you don’t want to say to yourself, “Oh, I probably should have known that” or “Knowing that would have made things much easier.”

To help you get off to the best start with this invaluable tool, I’ve pulled together some best practices on getting the most out of your UPK.

Get Started on the Right Foot

Besides installing the UPK software, here are some things that you need to do as part of your approach:

  1. Establish Governance. Sounds fancy but really you just need to know how decisions will be made in managing the tool and content. Governance should identify the participants and roles (e.g. requestor, approver, developer, content owner, and reviewer) required to support UPK.
  2. Establish Development Standards and Conventions. Consistency is key, all content should feel as if it was recorded by the same person. This includes best practices, language and use of features (such as Explanation Frames, Roles, and Assessments). Furthermore, your chosen Default Options and Configuration (which includes any modifications you've done to system files like publishing templates) should be documented.
  3. Establish QA (quality assurance) & Publishing Process. It seems no matter how hard I try to get my UPK recordings free of errors or inconsistencies, there’s always something to find when it’s reviewed by another person. A defined QA and publishing process helps ensure that the content you’re publishing is up to your 110% standards of quality.
  4. Determine Scope. How much content do you want to initially publish? Typically you’ll have some sort of Basics & Navigation content that applies to all end users as well as content for your latest project. For example, if you’ve recently rolled out a new functional area or module like HR/Payroll then most likely you’ll want to generate content for that area. You can define a roadmap to capture content for the rest of your system areas.

With the above steps, you should be able to produce a document that encapsulates “everything you need to know about UPK.” Armed, ready to go, configure your default options, build your outlines, and generate the content.

Go the Extra Mile with Customization

We’re always looking for ways to go the extra mile and the easiest way to do that with UPK is to customize the Player and the Training Guide (which represent the main outputs from UPK). For the Player, you can embed your company logo and adjust the fonts/colors to align to your corporate publishing standards. The sky's the limit if you’re good at editing CSS, however, very little work is required to get the basics updated. The training guide template that comes with UPK is a bit bland. Putting in the logo, adjusting the borders and alignment, and changing the font is a simple way of jazzing up your training guide.

See below for a before/after comparison between the standard Oracle publishing and our own customized publishing of the player.

Player Before:


Player After:


Make ERP Solution Training Materials Accessible

The question that clients will most likely (excessively) deliberate over is “where will users access the UPK content?” Most of the initial answers I receive are something like: our Intranet/Portal page, SharePoint, W Drive (or whatever network drive is most popular). Assuming JD Edwards is your main ERP, you could embed the links to UPK material within a JD Edwards E1 Page. Doesn’t it make sense to have training content readily available from with your application? If you don’t have E1 Pages then perhaps a training page for your “Basics & Navigation” material could be your first E1 Page that you publish.

Sample of Fixed Assets E1 Page with Training links:


Keep Content Fresh for Long-term Success

In order to get the most out of your UPK investment, you must not stop after publishing your initial content. A process is required to ensure that content is always up-to-date and error free. If your users start recognizing that the content is stale and inaccurate, they’ll begin to disregard it. Trust with the training material will be broken and the effort you put into generating the content can be lost. Elect a UPK leader (as part of your Governance initiative) and have that person perform a review of the UPK both on an ad hoc basis (when someone reports an issue) and on a quarterly basis.

Don’t Forget: UPK Testing Capabilities

UPK is seen mostly as a training tool but don’t forget that it can be used to facilitate testing. Both Test Documents (in MS Word) and Test Cases (in MS Excel) can be published from the UPK content. Utilize your content as part of your upcoming initiatives (e.g. upgrades, ESU regression testing, or development changes).

Overall, the approach you take with implementing UPK can have a major impact on your ability to deliver UPK within a small project budget as well as your ability to sustain the life of your UPK content over the long term. Using this approach helps you develop a plan, execute with confidence, and then enjoy the benefits you get from your UPK investment.

We know that just like your organization your ERP training and management is unique. Whether it's Oracle JD Edwards ERP or other critical apps ManageForce can help you cover your business’ technology training and management gaps to help you optimize all of your enterprise applications. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation today and let us get started finding the right solution for you.

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Topics: Oracle, JD Edwards

Written by Grant McIver


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