The following are excerpts from an article I wrote for the Oct/Nov/Dec 2009 issue of SAP Insider magazine. The full article can be found at http://sapinsider.wispubs.com/.
New Cost-Effective Delivery Options from SAP Education
Many organizations see employee training as a discretionary investment. When times are tough, it’s often the first thing to go. But as I firmly believe – and as research proves – a downturn is precisely the wrong time to cut your training budget. Instead, businesses must hunker down and invest only in activities that will pay off in the long run.
Education is one of those investments. Your company needs to be stronger and leaner in the upturn, and only with well-trained, flexible, and resourceful employees can you make this transition a successful one. That doesn’t mean, however, that your organization should think of education in only the traditional, classroom-based sense. Education and training programs from SAP are now offered in a wide variety of delivery options to meet the needs of today’s workforce.
Why Now Is the Ideal Time to Invest in Education
Companies need to invest in education for three important reasons:
- You need a flexible workforce. Companies are consolidating. They’re introducing new technology. They’re adjusting the size and scope of their workforce, and they’re shuffling talent across departments and job functions. With so much change, it’s harder than ever for organizations to ensure that employees have all the skills they need to optimize their effectiveness. Placing individuals in jobs for which they haven’t been trained equates to a significant loss in workforce productivity.
- With innovative training options, you can use your training dollars more cost effectively. Organizations need training now more than ever. But if that training is delivered only in a classroom environment, the number of individuals trained will be reduced dramatically – resulting in an unskilled workforce with lower productivity. Non-traditional training approaches, including virtual classrooms and e-Learning, become very important to boost training’s cost-effectiveness.
- Regulatory and compliance requirements haven’t gone away. Companies face all sorts of regulatory issues. Without continuing to invest in education – to learn how a business management application can help them meet regulatory requirements, or how they must change a solution in order to meet those requirements – they’re going to fall out of compliance. If employees implemented a solution three years ago, they did so based on the compliance requirements they knew at that particular time. Things have changed since then. And unless your employees understand how to change the solution in order to meet the most current compliance issues, they may encounter a problem with their regulatory body.
Innovative Delivery Methods Offer Flexibility and Reduced Total Costs
In response to our customers’ need for increased workforce flexibility, cost effectiveness, and continued compliance, SAP Education has developed a selection of enhanced, flexible learning opportunities:
- E-Learning courses: SAP’s e-Learning offerings are a catalog of highly interactive, Web-based courses that include both instructional elements and simulations based on real business situations. This on-demand, self-paced option lets the learner decide what training courses to take and when to take them – for a just-in-time learning need, for example. As employees’ roles change, they can immediately adapt their training plan to the requirements of the new role. With the e-Learning option, learners can take courses of interest to them and expand their overall knowledge, positioning themselves for challenging new roles in the future.
- Online knowledge products (OKPs): OKPs provide the earliest training available on new SAP software releases, as well as changes in functionality between software releases. OKPs are self-paced courses delivered online; learners can access them as often as needed for up to six months after purchase. OKPs are available early in the product life cycle – before the general release of the software solution – helping learners gain a competitive edge.
- Virtual live classroom training: This instructor led, virtual learning option brings the classroom experience to the student live over the Internet, eliminating the hassles and cost of travel. The instructor delivers courses in real time, allowing learners to meet their knowledge needs in an interactive environment without having to leave the office. With virtual live classrooms, students can ask questions (and get them answered) in real time. They also enjoy longer daily access to SAP training servers for hands-on activities than in traditional SAP classrooms, and access to printable electronic versions of course materials.
Content Coverage and Quality Is Still Paramount
Diminishing travel budgets make flexible, Web-based learning options particularly attractive. But there’s often a misconception that non-traditional training methods don’t deliver the same quality of content that comes with traditional “brick-and-mortar” classroom-style delivery options. Make no mistake: Whether you pursue e-Learning courses, OKPs, or virtual live classroom training, you’ll benefit from the same content you’d see in our standard SAP Education courses.
Of course, SAP Education’s traditional classroom training still serves as a quality baseline, as do our education products including the SAP Acrobat Connect Professional Learning application by Adobe or the SAP Productivity Pak application by RWD (also known as RWD uPerform).
SAP Education Provides Countless Advantages
At SAP Education, we have people, skills, knowledge, and corporate resources that are unmatched in the industry – and because we are SAP, we are the source of the information your employees need to know. Our education portfolio provides you with cost-effective, flexible training options to help your company thrive in today’s difficult economic environment.
We also offer dedicated education experts to help you sort through all of our learning options and determine which combination of solutions will best serve your organization. Based on your company’s size and learning needs, we’ll help you tailor a program that gets the most educational bang for your training buck. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to develop an ongoing relationship with the SAP Education team. To get started, contact our SAP Education North American Customer Interaction Center at +1 888 777-1727.