Interviewee: Emma Fisher, Systems & Procurement Officer at Atlas Professionals
Interviewer: Tiiu Tiisaar, General Manager, OPMS
Atlas Professionals (formerly Offshore Marine Services and then Skilled Offshore) has a soft spot in my heart. I started my own career there in 2010 as an OPMS Super User and Project Manager for the software implementation. Additionally, their subsequent (super) users have been particularly active in providing feedback to our team here at OPMS with regards to the improvements and new features they require. It would be fair to say we’ve spoken to them almost daily for the past 8 years. With their help, OPMS has become the leading software for the maritime labour hire companies in Australia.
Atlas has always had a nominated in-house Super User. This role currently sits with Emma Fisher. Super Users become part of OPMS team bringing fresh perspectives and focus. It’s been important for her that documents and reports produced from OPMS look professional and can be customized for each business unit or even a project. As such, she’s had a major influence on these functions within OPMS.
I’ve asked Emma a few questions about her role and relationship with OPMS.
Q: What does it mean to be an OPMS Super User? What sort of tasks does the role include?
A: Haha, ummm everything?
A lot of basic training, report running, systems implementations, creating worktypes, companies, sites, positions, agreements, templates – pretty much if we need it, I do it. If users have questions I answer them and show them techniques.
It is fun but also very demanding, keeps me on my toes.
Q: Do you think it’s important for a company like Atlas to have an in-house Super User?
A: I think they have gotten very used to the support. We utilise a lot of the OPMS functions and a lot of them were requested by us so there is always questions and requests but I do think it is helpful for users to be constantly challenging themselves and the system.
Q: You also offer support to your New Zealand office, is it difficult to support users remotely?
A: The time difference is hard (mainly for them) but it’s great that I can remote into their sessions or talk them through it over the phone. I have worked with the system for a while now so I can diagnose and talk through issues without seeing them… most of the time!
Q: When you started with Atlas, you didn’t have experience in this industry. Was it overwhelming to learn the new industry and new software? Now that you’ve trained many users, how quickly do they start feeling confident in using OPMS?
A: It was very overwhelming yes … I was like how am I ever going to understand these people they are speaking another language!
Nothing like being thrown in the deep end and teaching yourself to swim though, I wouldn’t change it! I have learned an incredible amount both about the Marine industry and the OPMS system – I definitely benefit from being able to know both sides and how they can work together.
It is surprising how quickly users pick it up. I love when they start exploring and challenging things and asking questions and they quickly become competent… we do live and breathe OPMS after all!
Q: Your users are across various departments. What departments have an interest in OPMS and why?
A: Yes, they obviously all use the system differently so some departments wouldn’t take notice of functions another department may use regularly.
I would say 95% of our office use OPMS obviously our crewing departments religiously! But also everyone from payroll, HSEQ to Finance and ER/IR.
Q: I’ve recently done demos to a few companies in the same industry who still use Excel spreadsheets to manage their operations. What would you say are some of the key reasons why Excel spreadsheets can’t compare with OPMS for managing personnel?
A: Get OPMS! And speak to the OPMS team about areas of weakness or concerns with your current processes/systems – chances are there is already a solution. And – User experience!! It may look like from the 80s/90s but this system truly does make life easier. The system is highly visual and moulded around our industry making it easy to teach and learn… unlike understanding a spreadsheet that each person may manage differently – with OPMS you can jump into a site and see a live representation of where the project is at or manage multiple sites at once.
Thank you for the work you’re doing. We’re very fortunate to have this close relationship with users like you and look forward to the next improvements and features that we’ll be developing with your guidance.