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The First Annual Empower User's Group (EUG) Does Not Disappoint

Posted by Lia Briggs, PMP on Thursday, September 13, 2018

Tool. Check. Training. Check. After an organization has invested in technology and trained its users it is often assumed the job is done.  But that is just the beginning. 

Regular attendance and representation at a vendor sponsored user group can often be the next step to get the most out of your investment.  It can provide the following:

  • Best practices across multiple industries to tap into additional features of the tool
  • Additional training to increase the competency of existing users
  • Communion with peers to discuss experiences
  • An opportunity to be part of making the tool better by submitting ideas for application changes critical to getting the most out of the application

The Empower User's Group met all the criteria above in spades.  It is easy to see that it will be an annual must attend for organizations committed to using this tool as part of their integrated program management reporting strategy.

Best Practices

Once a tool is installed and users get comfortable with performing the essential tasks, it is natural to develop best practices that further integrate the technological capabilities with company procedures and business rhythm.  During this integration inefficiencies will be uncovered that may require additional training, process changes, outside mentoring or assistance from the application vendor with tool clarifications or modifications.  The EUG provided a wealth of knowledge of how customers are using Empower ranging from a large shipyard with weekly reporting requirements to a smaller nonprofit, research organization with the traditional monthly battle rhythm.  Government agencies also shared how they are using the tool to meet their goals in a more efficient manner. 

Encore Analytics

Training

Continued training is a given with any software application and Empower is not immune.  Advanced training beyond the introductory sessions will be required and you will also have new features and capabilities that are discovered or added after purchase.  New users will also be brought into the organization and require training.  It is important to have a plan for how training will be handled after the original implementation.  In some cases, organizations will bring in outside trainers to train all users, and in other cases organizations will use a “train the trainer” approach to bring one or more super users up to a level of competency to teach other employees.  The EUG offered a great opportunity to support both strategies for addressing training needs and an in-depth basic training over a period of two days followed by the following sessions:

  • Creating Charts and Reports in Empower Using External Data
  • Variance Analysis Report (VAR) Collection and Workflow
  • Enterprise User Authentication and Provisioning
  • Configuring Empower for DCMA's EVAS Data-Driven Audits

It’s all about the Users

The EUG was well attended by experienced Empower users that had a lot to offer.  I was reminded yet again at the first break during an animated discussion that the real value for any users’ group is the informal interactions with other users, and the opportunity to hear directly from the vendor how they will address user concerns. 

Whether it is tips shared during a break or deep discussions over lunch and dinner I always walk away with new information that solves an existing problem or a push that gets the wheels turning for a new way to use the tool or improve use of the tool.  The Q&A from the audience following presentations and the panel sessions were yet another opportunity to gather information about the use of Empower.  It is important to be part of that vision if you are investing in an application. Gary Troop, Jim Price and the Encore Analytics team made themselves available to answer user concerns and lay out a plan forward for future enhancements to the tools to support the needs of the customers.

I strongly advocate attendance at the next Empower Users’ Group, and hopefully I will see you at the next one.

Visit this link for topics that were discussed at the event.  

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Topics: Earned Value Management (EVM), Integrated Program Management (IPM), Training, Encore Analytics Empower

Lia Briggs, PMP

By Lia Briggs, PMP

Lia is a senior consultant from our IPM Solutions team. As a certified Project Management Professional and Six Sigma Black Belt Lia has over 20 years of experience consulting and implementing IPM related solutions for A&D companies, federal contractors and government agencies.

More articles by Lia Briggs, PMP

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