Success Drivers in an Electronic Performance Support Project

Giovanni Giacometti CERONI

Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS) were born in the United States in 1991 to address the problems that raising software complexity was creating to employees. It is now a well-established software niche in the US, with many case histories and success stories and a very active research community working on it. In Europe there have been only a few implementations of EPSS in the last years, and still the acronym EPSS and the approach, methodologies and technologies it implies are almost unknown. Nevertheless the European approach to performance support deserves some insights, as it is not only a late copy of American experiences, but also a new innovative way to develop highly flexible software tools to introduce, support and manage best practices inside corporations. The Back Office Performance Support (BOPS) European project is one of the most recent initiatives to investigate this field and develop methodologies and products. Carried out by a consortium of eight European firms and partially funded by the European Commission, the BOPS project goes beyond the traditional EPSS boundaries and combines net coaching with knowledge management, training management and decision support. BOPS has developed a fully integrated web-based solution for performance support in medium and large companies. The final product of the project, an intranet system, has been installed and extensively tested in 4 pilot organizations. The Centre for Advanced Learning Technologies (CALT) of the INSEAD Business School has monitored these four pilot tests, collecting data through questionnaires, interviews and analysis of the log files. These data have been used to assess the impact of the adoption of an IT system like BOPS in the target organizations. This impact analysis focuses on the following points: Benefits (improvements in efficiency, training and quality of work); Barriers to the adoption, both external (social and legislative) and internal (company culture); Potential organizational changes due to new processes and practices introduced by BOPS; Resistances to change and effectiveness of change management plans.

KEYWORDS: Electronic performance support, learning technologies, on-line training, intranet, balanced scorecard, change management, learning organization.