Introduction to Oracle User Productivity Kit (UPK)

June 16, 2014

Oracle-User-Productivity-KitOracle’s User Productivity Kit is perhaps one of the less well known of the Software Products on the price list, however just a brief consideration of its name indicates that it may be of considerable value to organizations. We invest significant money and resources in the purchase and implementation of software applications but do we realize, in practice, the levels of productivity that we would like to have and that will bring the full return on our investment?

Information from the industry analysts tells us that most of the problems relating to application implementations are, in fact, user related.

A leading analyst, quotes: “You can design the best process in the world, and back it with the latest and greatest technology, but if your people don’t buy into the project, it won’t work.”

User acceptance isn’t the only problem affecting project success; there is also the very basic problem of user competence to use and get the best out of the system. According to Meta Group, 76% of Users have a failing or substandard understanding of new systems software.

Well, here is UPK, something that claims to be a productivity kit for our users. Does it do what it says on the tin? Will it help us address these user productivity issues? If so, it is something that we should give attention to? Let’s open the kit and see what is inside and how it can help us.

What is UPK?

UPK is a software tool that can capture all the steps in a system process. It records every keystroke, every click of the mouse, each menu option chosen, and each button pressed. All this is done in the UPK Recorder by going through the transaction and pressing “print screen” after every user action. From this, without any further effort from the developer, UPK builds a number of valuable outputs.

The most significant of these is the UPK Player Package. This is an HTML based simulation of the application process that operates in 5 modes.

5 modes - UPK Player Package

See-It Mode (Demonstration): Is an automated simulation of the process that can act as a demonstration of the system. In this mode UPK player automatically displays the screenshots and carried out the required interactions. This looks like the playback of a video and can be completely hands-free. This mode is best considered as a demonstration mode. when used in a classroom environment, the instructor would set this mode running and then provide additional commentary during the playback. Although this requires fairly close coordination between the instructor’s speech and the playback. It does have the advantage (over the other modes) that the instructor does not need to interact with the simulation themselves and can therefore better focus on the needs of the trainees.

Try-It Mode (Exercises): is also a simulation of the application, but this time the user must interact with the simulation, completing all the actions required rather than watching it run unattended. This mode is most valuable in training, in the classroom or in a self-service learning context. Try-It Mode guides the users through the process, telling them what action to take and highlighting the area on-screen where the action is to be performed, at every step through the transaction.

Using Try-It Mode is of great benefit for training, as the same exercise can be trained over and over without the risk of altering the data in the system and causing subsequent operations to fail. It can make the classroom training much more efficient, as when the users are doing the exercises the system is helping them with guidance, freeing the instructor and making the whole exercise more efficient. In addition, it is not necessary to cover every transaction that the user will need during the classroom course, as once users have become familiar with the concept of using UPK for learning, they will be happy to learn further transactions on their own.

One of the difficulties with large training rollouts is that there may be a time gap between the classroom training session and the users’ first time to use the processes after go-live. When UPK is readily available on the system, this ceases to be a problem because they can refresh their knowledge using Try-It mode in UPK.

Know-It Mode (Test/Assessment): But how do we know if our users are really learning the system? This is where the third mode of the UPK Player Package comes in. Know-It mode (Test/Assessment) allows the user to go through the process without the on-screen guidance. Instead, the system tracks their actions, warning when they stray off course (the system is smart enough to allow alternative ways of navigating the system, such as using the mouse to negotiate the menus or the keyboard shortcut). If the user makes further incorrect attempts, Know-It mode will give more remediation, eventually completing the step for the user. The rub for the user is that at every incorrect action their score is reduced, potentially causing them to fail the test.
The system has usage tracking as standard, so it is possible to see which users are making use of the system, in which modes, and if they are using Know-it mode, what their scores were.

Do-It Mode (Performance Support):  The fourth mode of the UPK Player Package is Do-It Mode (Performance Support). This is for Performance Support rather than training. In this mode the user is working on the live application and UPK is hovering in the lower right of their screen, providing visual instruction, in the form of a small video simulation, and written instructions guiding them step by step as they perform their work on the live system.

Print-It Mode (Documentation): The fifth mode available through the player is Print It Mode. This allows the trainee to print a hardcopy version of a simulation. This hardcopy is actually one of the eight standard documents format given below. During publication the developer can use these eight different deliverable formats.
1.System Process.
2.Job Aid.
3.Training Guide.
4.Instructor Manual
5.Test Document
6.Test Result
7.Test Case

Oracle User Productivity Kit

Features and Benefits of UPK

Oracle User Productivity Kit (Standard & Professional Editions) is an easy-to-use and comprehensive content development, deployment and maintenance platform for increasing project, program, and user productivity. With Oracle User Productivity Kit, project teams can mitigate risk through all phases of any project life cycle, dramatically reduce the time to deployment, and ensure end user adoption. By rapidly producing materials tailored for all phases of the software life cycle – from test scripts, system process documents, and interactive simulations, to job aids, instructor manuals, presentations, and in-application performance support, Oracle User Productivity Kit can reduce overall software implementation and maintenance costs.

1. Mitigate Risk throughout Software and project Life Cycle

The success of an enterprise application depends on employees effectively using the software as efficiently as possible. With Oracle UPK, project teams can mitigate risk through all phases of any project life cycle, dramatically reduce the time to deployment, and ensure end user adoption.

Project lifecycle

2. Reduce Content Development Costs and Time to Deployment

For multi-language implementations, powerful localization and translation capabilities compress time to deployment by exporting custom text for translations and then importing it back to simultaneously propagate multiple outputs. And a guided re-record process allows developers to create content in multiple languages and eliminates the time and cost associated with local language experts.

UPK works within a Single Authoring Session

3. Accelerate QA, Regression, and User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
Ease the burden of UAT by creating and deploying test plans and real-time performance support specifically designed for testing. Test It! simulations guide testers through a test plan and facilitate the tasks of documenting any issues. Also, any user can easily capture the steps to recreate an issue using Record It! in an enterprise system accelerating the testing cycle.

These test scripts, along with system process and test documents, decrease the testing time and costs during conference room pilots, and shorten the project timeline.

4. Centralized Deployment, Tracking and Reporting
With a collaborative, multi-user development environment, developers can easily control content workflow and document management—including check in, check out, versioning, and status. In a single authoring session, they can create multiple outputs of documentation, simulations and performance support materials that are deployed, tracked and measured through the Knowledge Center.

Usage of UPK in CRMIT

Introducing the tools of CRMIT Solutions to the new joinees through UPK.
By using UPK, Generating Test Scripts for all enterprise applications.
Developing content for new projects, Migrating and deploying the existing content through UPK.
Recording all the activities of new applications to generate Help Guide using UPK. Delivering training using UPK simulations, to reduce the training cost and time. Capturing organizational knowledge and ensuring workforce effectiveness.


UPK captures a user’s interaction with a software application. It can then generate a number of deliverable’s based on this recording. Some of these deliverable’s are more useful than others.

Before creating training deliverable’s using UPK, you should decide which of these deliverable formats you want to use. Although you can choose the required deliverables at the time of final publication, knowing which deliverable formats you want to use, and in what modes, will allow you to better focus your editing of the simulations.

Inputs from
Ravi Joldapke
Training Team, CRMIT Solution

Tags: Oracle UAT, Oracle UPK, Oracle User Productivity Kit, UPK

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