Performance Support System: Maximize software adoption with just-in-time relevant information

Performance support systems provide just-in-time information and training to help users achieve optimum performance, adding up to the overall performance of the business.

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What is a Performance Support System?

Performance support is a form of task assistance that fills the gap that usually arises in the context of users performing a task on a particular software or application. It helps users get the right information at the right time, without having to spend hours searching for them online, to do their jobs efficiently.

What Are Performance Support Tools (PSTs)?

Performance support tools are extremely effective in providing concise and relevant information to the users right when they need it. These tools allow educators to capitalize on a humans’ nature to be problem-based learners. Essentially, a performance support tool provide personalized 24/7 support that provides answers within seconds, within the context of work. 

A performance support tool accelerates user productivity and performance, speeds up the acquisition and application of knowledge, and increases compliance.

What Does Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) Mean?

An Electronic Performance Support System is a digital adoption platform that leads to increased software adoption through interactive guidance. It caters to user needs by presenting just-in-time relevant information to complete a task at hand. 

Companies started to integrate performance support systems when their focus shifted towards user productivity and performance.

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EPSS in Corporate Training and Organizational Benefits

Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS) are designed to maximize software adoption, meaning that software users can learn to navigate any software application on their own with very little external support. The ability of an Electronic Performance Support System to provide information at the right time has found its use in a variety of organizational domains, for instance:

  • It is cost-effective as it replaces traditional training delivery methods like on-site formal training programs, training manuals, pdfs, etc.
  • It gives users the autonomy and freedom to learn a software application at their own pace.
  • It improves the ROI of software implementation as employees start effectively using new applications in less time. 
  • It caters to different formal learning styles as it can incorporate multiple media formats like text, audio, images, GIFs, etc.
  • It provides continuous support to the users that leads to a drop in the number of customer support queries.
  • With efficient onboarding, EPPS helps employees accept the new software and work effectively on it from day 1.

Performance Support System and Digital Adoption

Performance support systems can cater to three broad use cases and have a number of benefits to offer in each case.

Employee Training

A performance support system is capable of enhancing your formal training regime as it brings in a myriad of benefits like:

Making learning a continuous process

Because of the time lag between learning software and implementing it in real life, most of the learning is lost. 

However, with performance support systems, employees can quickly recall any process they want to complete on the software. While doing so, they learn practically and the content forgotten doesn’t affect their performance. This way, learning becomes a continuous process rather than a few day’s affair.

On-the-job learning

According to the 70:20:10 model for learning and development, an individual obtains 70% of the knowledge from on-the-job experiences, 20% from peer interactions, and 10% from formal educational events.

Performance support tools help in providing that 70% of ‘learn by experiencing’ kind of training. Users can experience and learn explicitly what they want to learn, whenever they want to learn it.

Contributes towards Performance Improvement(PI)

Performance Improvement means enhancing employee performance by identifying gaps between desired and actual performance and its root causes. When unable to recall things, an employee might spend a lot of their valuable time searching answers online or reaching out to their colleagues for help, or raising IT support tickets. All of these ways are time-consuming and deteriorates employee performance.

Performance support tools help spin up the employee performance by reducing the time spent in finding information and arriving at a conclusion as they provide continuous support to the users and instant answers to their queries.

Enhancing Customer Support

Users usually raise support tickets to get their queries resolved but they have to wait for a long time to get the answers. But if you let them solve queries on their own without any external help, the number of support tickets raised would decline which will save you the cost of hiring extra support agents. 

Performance support tools could be of great help in this case as they would contain all the potential queries and their answers which a user can refer to when needed. 

User Onboarding

When users visit a software/application for the first time, they are completely unfamiliar with the functionalities and features. In such a case, it is critical to get performance support tools up and running on your applications.

These tools help new users understand how to use an application, while they are working on it. Users can read the instructions and perform different tasks simultaneously. This is the best way to ensure that new users develop a high level of application proficiency, from the first day of work. 

EPSS Design & Development

Best Practices to Create an Electronic Performance Support System While creating an electronic performance support system or simply buying it from a third party, you will need to think of multiple touchpoints. 

So, to give you the right direction, here’s a framework of all the characteristics you need to incorporate in a system to make it a full-fledged EPSS.

1. Provide information in multiple formats.

Depending on the context in which it is used, the information provided by EPSS could be of three types.

  • Data: Data may be textual, or audio-visual. 
  • Instruction: It is best to provide step-by-step instructions in procedure-oriented tasks. 
  • Advice: It acts as an expert system and asks users what they want and then presents the most appropriate procedure to do so. 

Now an ideal electronic performance support system should have the ability to display information in all the above formats, both simultaneously, as well as individually.

2. Provide ONLY Relevant Information

Decide in advance on what information would be the most relevant to a user when they decide to seek help and allow the EPSS to display only that information. We need to prevent the user from wasting their time wading through loads of irrelevant information. 

3. Easily Retrieve Information to be Displayed

The Electronic Performance Support System should be able to access and retrieve the information easily and quickly for the user. You can distribute the information over a number of functional areas and then the EPSS would extract relevant information from the repositories and provide it to the user. 

4. Monitor User’s Control and Access to Information

An electronic performance support system should be able to present information to a user according to their job profiles and prerequisite knowledge. 

5. Easy to Update

When the software changes, the change in the Electronic Performance Support Systems should be in accordance with it. The computerized nature of EPSS helps to update the changes faster and easier thereby helping users adopt the new changes without any struggle.

6. User-Friendly

An Electronic Performance Support System is meant to reduce the need for any prior training to accomplish a task. But, if it itself would be difficult to use, then it would require the user to first learn how to operate the EPSS and start using it. And this would consume both time and effort.

7. Learning at Different Levels

Users have different learning needs. For instance, one user might just want to learn enough to complete the job at hand, while another might want to dig deeper into the concepts from scratch.

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