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Organizations across the globe spend billions of dollars on software deployments.  A new ERP system can increase efficiency across back-end business processes such as order management, HR and finance.  A new CRM system can increase the ability to track and convert new prospects to customers and provide upper management with the ability to accurately forecast.  However, a company will never truly realize the benefits of such a software solution if their end users are not properly armed with the tools to utilize this new system.  I have outlined 3 simple strategies to help your customers avoid an end-user fail.

Set training timelines and goals

Your customer must be objective and realistic in setting their training goals and deadlines.  They must understand the complexity of the software change event to truly grasp how long people will need to adapt to this change.  A brand new ERP system will most likely take longer than a version upgrade of an existing system.  However, do not underestimate the process changes associated with UI changes in a version upgrade.  These are typically overlooked and it becomes assumed that users will just “figure it out.” If there are significant UI changes which will require the existing BPP’s (Business Process Procedures) to be recreated, make sure your customers take that into account.  Understanding the complexity of the software and the different learning abilities of the staff will help companies set realistic goals.

Be prepared to deliver content in various methods

Not all end users are created equal…don’t forget it!  Have your customers survey their employees to understand how they prefer to consume training.  Some require ILT (instructor led training), some like rich media, some like Word or PPT content, while others might need to consume the training on a CD or via html delivery because they are out in an oil field.  For most large organizations the answer is a mix of all of these.  Nonetheless, whichever delivery methods your customer chooses, be sure to have them first QA the methods against a small pilot group of users that best represent their overall user base.  This will help them identify problems and issues with various training methods before committing to them.  This will also allow them to test the content itself to make sure it is worthy of consumption of it needs further editing and modification.

Be prepared to scale the training

A scalable training program is flexible enough to accommodate both small numbers of users (for example, when new employees join the company and need to be trained on the software) and large numbers (as is necessary in an enterprise-wide rollout of a new solution).  This is often overlooked because of the blinders that are put on when in the midst of an application deployment.  Therefore, make sure your customers plan for future growth and scalability to ensure maximum end-user sustainment.  Make sure they standardize on one training creation and delivery tool to provide users with a centralized hub to edit existing training material and consume new material.  My recommendation would be the newly acquired datango technology, which is now branded Workforce Performance Builder (WPB).  WPB allows companies to proactively attack these three methods and become a more efficient project team.

My two pennies….

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