Performance support – from office workplace to the supermarket

The REWE Group is one of the leading food and tourism corporations, with a workforce of more than 360,000 and sales of over 61 billion euros. REWE Systems, the Group’s IT subsidiary, takes care of the IT needs of around 200,000 users and, in line with the Group-wide digitalization strategy, introduced a performance support system for more than 800 applications.
April 09, 2020
5 min

Introducing a performance support system was the brainchild of the REWE Systems IT training department. During the courses they provided, the IT trainers repeatedly became aware of how much support their colleagues required – be it in transferring what they have learned to the workplace or in taking care of tasks that don’t come up very often. The reason for this was the lack of a standardized user support system. For each piece of software, the learning material was stored in a different place, and the quality and currency of the material also varied. The search for support generally led to asking a co-worker – or even several – who proved to be a reliable, if not exactly efficient, source of information.

In 2015, the comprehensive roll-out of SAP Retail in purchasing offered a way out of this situation. This quickly inspired the idea for a lighthouse project that could be efficiently implemented with the help of a blended learning concept. The management was also impressed by the suggestion of linking classroom seminars and online learning to performance support. Together, the vision was formulated of bringing together the combined expertise about every IT application in a single place rather than creating yet another isolated solution.

Over 6,500 documents in four years

Based on this strategy, REWE Systems developed a comprehensive performance support concept. At its core was the idea that experts who have systemic or departmental responsibility for an application should create help content for the staff members who work with that application operationally. “Not everyone is able to put themselves in the shoes of someone who is new to the application. We therefore both train the experts in using the author tool and provide them with advice about creating the content and selecting the correct formats,” explains Dany Rousseau, who has been looking after the tt performance suite with Mareike Heidemann-Jarosch since the project started. The two REWE Systems employees fulfill a kind of governance role, acting as expert contacts for everything relating to performance support. They support the internal authors, are responsible for the technical operation of the software and look after the system requirements of the various business units.

Thanks to a comprehensive internal marketing campaign and positive feedback from end users, the number of in-house experts has kept growing. In the four years since the project was launched in 2016, the number of approved documents has risen to more than 6,500.

Mareike Heidemann-Jarosch, IT Business Analyst at REWE Systems

Staff in the supermarkets don’t have time to undertake long searches for answers. They have to be able to access what they need to know quickly and straightforwardly.

Mareike Heidemann-Jarosch, IT Business Analyst at REWE Systems

Performance support in the supermarket

Making the jump to the supermarkets was always a firm part of the plans, but didn’t happen till the fall of 2018. “The IT infrastructure of our markets is very specific, so the implementation took a bit longer. Of course, the use case there is much larger than in our headquarters,” says Mareike Heidemann-Jarosch. “First and foremost, the content has to be right! Staff in the supermarkets don’t have time to undertake long searches for answers. They have to be able to access what they need to know quickly and straightforwardly.”

Complex needs in the “moment of need”

After the rollout on the supermarkets’ back-office PCs, anonymous analyses of the search terms entered quickly showed that, when they clicked on the “Orange” – as QuickAccess is commonly known in the REWE Group – staff were looking for lots of information that wasn’t actually available in the system.

The “moment of need”, which is where performance support usually comes into play, is about more than instructions for IT-based processes. In actual fact, users search for a wide range of information to take care of all the tasks that arise – from templates to the details of the correct contact person. These complex needs, which had already been identified with end users at headquarters, became even clearer in the supermarkets.

How performance support empowers brick and mortar for the 21st century

PDF, 1.6 MB

More information and mobile access

To design the communications landscape in the supermarkets with the highest possible level of user-friendliness, those responsible at REWE Markt GmbH and REWE Systems decided on a wide-ranging expansion of the “Orange communication channel.” The aim was for all information documents (legal guidelines, working procedures, forms, etc.), not just IT systems, to benefit from the fast search and user-friendly output formats. A project was therefore launched at the start of 2020 to migrate documents from the supermarket intranet to the “Orange.” In doing so, REWE is remaining true to the expert approach, as the respective specialist departments are responsible for the content and check to make sure the approximately 12,000 documents are up to date before migration.

Ahead of this, REWE Systems and tts therefore worked together to develop an app version of the “Orange” for Android-based MDE devices, and this was rolled out across Germany in March 2020. Since then, the devices are no longer simply used for ordering and stocktaking, but also as mobile sources of information. This ensures that, after migration, the knowledge can be used where it is needed – directly with the staff in the supermarket!

Facts & figures

  • 16,000 users at administrative locations use QuickAccess
  • Staff in 3,600 REWE supermarkets can use the “Market Orange” on the back-office PC and mobile Android devices
  • 2,180 Penny supermarkets and 330 toom DIY stores will also join the rollout in 2020
  • Approx. 380 internal authors (experts)
  • More than 6,500 documents published


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