Meet Shaun MacAdam: uPerform Super User

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In this series, we will provide you with firsthand accounts from ANCILE’s Super Users. What is a Super User, you ask? Picture the individual in your organization who everyone can contact with a uPerform question. This person has been using the solution for a long time and knows it almost as well as our Customer Success team members. Super Users have been known to inform and delight other uPerform users with their knowledge and expertise in the ANCILE Community and when attending various APUG and ASUG events.

Read on to meet Shaun MacAdam, uPerform guru and administrator, based out of Ottawa, Ontario.

What is your job title/role within your organization and what are your responsibilities?

My job title is Consultant and uPerform Administrator for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The RCMP is similar to the United States’ FBI, and is largely responsible for law enforcement throughout the entire country of Canada. We have about 30,000 employees all over the country, in every province.

As a consultant in this type of role, I go into a government agency like the RCMP and have an employee shadow me for the duration I am on the project. They eventually take my place as the uPerform Administrator when my contract ends. I have worked with 14 Canadian federal government agencies in similar roles over the course of 12 years.

How long have you been using uPerform and what uPerform-related roles (Administrator/Author/End User) have you held?

I was an SAP technical writer before becoming a consultant.  When working for IBM, I realized my capabilities as a consultant and went on to sign an independent contract with the Canadian Department of Health. In 2004, I was introduced to Info Pak there. Later, in 2010-2011, I was introduced to uPerform at PWGSC (Public Works and Government Services). I have since held Author and Administrator roles with uPerform.

While still relatively new to uPerform, I attended UPUG (the uPerform Users Group) in Baltimore, MD. This conference was extremely useful and well put-together, and I met with uPerform users from all over the world. (Ed. note: this event is now known as APUG/ANCILE Products User Group)

Does your position require travel?  When traveling, how do you easily manage your uPerform projects and tasks?

No, I’ve been fortunate because the Federal Government is located here in Ottawa, so many of the divisions I’ve worked with have required no travel. However, we support RCMP officers nationwide who are accessing the courses and documents through the uPerform website 24/7. Many are connecting online in their squad cars during down time and able to utilize training resources quickly and easily.

Approximately how many published uPerform documents and courses has your organization created?

We support both English and French, so nothing is published unless it has been created in both of Canada’s official languages. Creating courses with embedded simulations is now our core focus.

Approximately 1500 total Info Pak documents existed when I arrived on this project. The idea was to convert them all to uPerform files over time. We imported them all, and planned on re-recording or converting on an as-needed basis. To date, approximately 600 Info Pak documents have been converted (300 per language) and 80 new courses produced (40 in each language)

What is your favorite feature in uPerform?

The first is version control in the document library through the check-in/check-out process. We retain the 5 most recent versions and that’s been a real savior when authors have made a mistake. We can easily roll back to the version containing the correct content.

Embedded simulations in courses are another favorite. We really like that the course enables you to update simulations on the fly by automatically “knowing” or detecting that the sim has been updated on the server.

Describe one “outside of the box” way you’ve used uPerform that may be unique to your organization.

We have done quite a bit of customizations to uPerform, which create features that the RCMP likes.

I’ve done a lot of modifications to the xsl pages, particularly in the xsl folder; for instance, it will embed custom images in specific page types. It goes through a list of about 40 images and displays them on the appropriate page types, such as a compass image on the basic navigation pages.

Can you share a scenario when the ANCILE Customer Success team was able to guide you through a challenging situation?

Last summer, we were doing an upgrade to the RCMP’s production system over the weekend and ran into a snag during the Run Once. The uPerform upgrade stalled at that page on Saturday at around 4 pm. I posted a message on LinkedIn and logged into the ANCILE support site to open a support ticket. When I checked about an hour later, Antwoine Cureton had responded and offered a solution.* I attempted his solution on Sunday morning and lo and behold, it worked! Before Monday morning, the system was upgraded and running as expected.

What are your thoughts on the ANCILE Intelligence Hub and how it has evolved over time? Do you frequently refer to the Knowledgebase?

I use the Knowledgebase and Community on a daily basis to learn from issues other uPerform users around the world are experiencing and I also regularly check out the Larry Blog. I consider the Intelligence Hub a first line of defense in troubleshooting issues.

Much of what I know in uPerform, I learn by viewing our organization’s ticket history. I often am able to assist colleagues in other departments by providing insight from my own experiences.

What makes uPerform a valuable training resource for your organization?

We have about 30,000 users all over the country, a large number of police officers, using the resource. SAP is not an easy system, and if we can keep things simple for our users by providing quality training and help, it is hopefully making their jobs and their lives easier.

Like any application, uPerform is not perfect, but it has definitely added a lot of value. The fact that the RCMP has kept me on for 4 years, after an initial 6 month contract, shows that they are finding high value in the courses and materials we produce using uPerform.

*Ed note: While many ANCILE Customer Success Team members have a tendency to provide ‘above and beyond’ support, please note our regular hours for support in North America are 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern,  Monday – Friday.