Systems transformation

Time for yet another software change?

Every day brings a new app or platform promising to transform your business. And that’s great. But repeated systems upgrades can be disruptive (to say the least).

FACT: The average company will transform its systems four times in the next decade.
FACT: Global spending on enterprise software is projected to grow 9.5% in 2018, and another 8.4% next year, bringing total spending up to $421 billion.
FACT: North America and Europe are early adopters of enterprise software, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are a leading area of investment.

Good systems need confident users

That may seem blindingly obvious. But all too often, organisations neglect to ask: how will our people learn to get the most out of our shiny new tech?

New software (or hardware) often costs hundreds of thousands, but that money will be wasted unless some of it is used to make sure that people use it effectively. Plus, investing just a fraction of your overall budget on learning and support will massively increase those systems’ ROI.

Then there’s onboarding. How easy is it to get your new starters up and running? How are you making sure your tech induction stays up to date?

Systems learning isn’t a one-off or an optional extra. Now that systems underpin and influence every element of our work, we have to ensure we stay systems-fluent for life.

Start with why, not how

Yes, it’s important for people to understand how new systems work. But first they must be rock-solid on the why.

Why are we going through another disruption? How does it connect up to our organisational mission? Will it really be worth the effort?

Purpose, vision, trust, motivation – these are grand words, but you absolutely need to plug them in if you want your systems learning to stick.

It’s a bit like building a cathedral. Before teaching people how to lay new bricks, you need to get them excited about what the final (glorious) edifice will look like.

Make it personal

Okay, so this new system can do a hundred fantastic things. But what I really want to know is: what do I need to know, now?

In the past, you might have tried to train your people in ‘how your system works’. A better approach is to train your people in how your system works for them, right away.

This is all about context. In the context of someone’s job, what is the minimum they need to know? How can they apply this new tech to improve their results, as quickly and efficiently as possible? What learning can they, as an individual, drop or defer?

Of course, it’s also important for them to understand how they fit into the whole. But leave the exhaustive detail to manuals and online help repositories. Focus on what will move the dial.

The power of simulation

If they’re plunged into real scenarios without the chance to practise their learning, people often get frustrated and demotivated – and their performance hits the floor.

Immersive simulations, on the other hand, allow people to test their new knowledge, hone their skills and build their confidence. But they have to be designed in a smart way.

If your people are going to be using systems while on the phone to customers, you’d better make sure your simulations contain lifelike audio (and why not use them to embed first-rate customer service skills at the same time?)

If you want your simulations to stick in the mind, you’d better use memorable, emotive stories and characters (and how about the odd dash of humour?)

If you want your simulations to tackle the really critical pain points in your systems (not just the obvious interactions and distracting detail), you’d better build them bespoke.

Just-in-time support

Knowledge is one thing – applying it is another. When it comes to putting their learning into practice, your people will need on-the-spot support.

Comfortable training courses and exhaustive information packs are all very well. But when your people are applying their learning in real scenarios, with all the complexities and pressures of a regular working day, they don’t have time to flounder.

That’s why we’re fans of just-in-time support. From a sophisticated context-sensitive online help tool to a simple library of job aid PDFs, we help your people find the answer – and find it quickly – exactly when it matters.

That way, people feel continually supported – but also empowered to continue their own development. In turn, their learning gets enhanced, rather than diluted, on the job.

So how do we do it?

Over years of running award-winning projects, we’ve refined our tried and tested process for successful systems learning. Here’s how it works.

Design and planning: we start by defining the scenarios which will best help your learners carry out their roles (not by making a big list of everything you can do in the system!) If the learning is part of a blend, we design the full programme.
Scripting and screen capture: working closely with your SMEs, we work through each step in the scenario to write the detailed scripts – including the why, what, who, when and what ifs – not just the how. Then we screen grab each step.
Development: we build the simulations and create any other assets and digital elements of the blend, such as surrounding process, product knowledge or soft skills. We review it with your stakeholders to ensure it’s hitting the mark.
Testing and deployment: our QA experts fully test the solution, including any tracking, reporting and deployment requirements for your LMS.

Brace yourselves: it’s all going to go wrong…

…But that’s part of the process. Anyone who tells you otherwise is naïve – or lying.

Systems transformation and training is a bit like building a plane in the air. You can never know quite what’s going to happen, but you can be sure there will be turbulence.

Systems will go down. People will mess up. Unforeseen issues will arise. But with the right approach, you can keep adapting until it all comes together and whoosh! You’re flying.

Nothing fazes us. We’ve seen it all before. We can help you get through it (we’ve got proof). And you know what? You might even enjoy the ride.

And finally: what good looks like

With something as complex and unpredictable as systems learning, it can be hard to know what you’re aiming for.

So here are five deliverables we build into our service – and they’re sure-fire signs you’re getting it right.

Your people feel supported.
They’re empowered and enthused, not stressed.
They get up-to-speed quickly. Great systems learning is a fast, agile, solutions-focused intervention – not an endless, exhausting, slow-to-bear-fruit process.
You have buy-in for change. From the very bottom to the very top.
System changes do not negatively impact productivity or customer service. In fact, they help you embed better service skills and boost performance from the get-go.
Training is costeffective and re-usable. From induction to leadership, it works.

We’re really good at what we do.

Together. With our clients.

We call it high-impact excellence. In other words – partnering, creating, supporting, delivering, increasing, solving, training, reducing, transforming, leading, award-winning.

Take a look…

Objectives: Communicate benefits of the new WARMs system and achieve competence in core functionality.

Impact: If UNISON had adopted their old classroom approach using a commercial costing model it would have cost £1,037,000 to train the 1,194 users who have completed the e-Learning to date. Instead it cost just £135,000 to design, develop and roll-out this unique e-Learning solution.

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