Five ways to train a workforce more effectively

Five ways to train a workforce more effectively
Microsoft Dynamics is a great tool, but only if users have been properly trained

Elly Yates-Roberts |

There are a number of mistakes that organisations often make when implementing a new Microsoft Dynamics solution, or upgrading an existing deployment. In increasingly digitally transformed industries around the world, the insights afforded by a customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system are often the difference between business success and failure in the market. Yet, depending on the study, as many as half of ERP and CRM projects are considered less than successful in terms of cost, disruption or project duration.

One key reason for this alarming rate of failure is inadequate user adoption and training initiatives. Without extensive and interactive training, users won’t be able to use a Dynamics solution effectively and may continue with older manual processes or underuse the software’s potential. In the most concerning examples, underprepared users can cause a disruption in operations, driving up costs or even damaging the accuracy of enterprise data.

Even in the age of software-as-a-service, too many companies subscribe to misconceptions or outright myths about implementing a CRM or ERP system. One of the most common and damaging is that user’s training can be cobbled together after the deployment with old-fashioned software training methods. Whatever the company’s size, the traditional model simply isn’t practical or effective.

By understanding common training pitfalls and more innovative approaches now available, organisations can adapt in ways that improve user adoption and allow for just-in-time delivery. With a scalable software-based training system and the right approach, both single site and global multi-language implementations can succeed, ensuring full use of Dynamics and boosting your business outcome.

Lesson 1: Project management
As a system implementation wraps up, time and budget have often nearly run out, leaving little opportunity for a full traditional training package. Many training providers simply don’t have enough staff to offer materials and courses on demand. For companies spanning diverse geographies, training firms may lack distributed personnel or sufficient ability to offer multilingual course material.

Faced with this situation, project managers feel that they have few directions to turn for a solution, contending with project failure or massive cost overruns and a delayed launch.

Lesson 2: Manage your training content
Poor management of business application documentation, especially training materials, is a common mistake that can slow user adoption and hurt overall return on investment. Failure to disseminate the right content to the right users can leave some in the dark, with departments potentially out of sync.

Dense text documents or long videos put the onus on end users to carve out time from their regular tasks to make sense of new processes.

Poor content management can also result in documentation that quickly goes out of date with each upgrade.

Lesson 3: Complete international deployments quickly
The modern revolution in international commerce means that many organisations have teams across the globe, working and communicating in different languages. Finding an efficient approach to train users across locales means avoiding the costs of traditional translation projects and the associated risk of mistranslation of documentation by non-technical linguists.

Language translation is sometimes thought of as a non-standard process. Although translations may not all be perfectly aligned, having access to standard pre-translated content specific to your applications can make the process of international user training highly repeatable, with little room for misunderstanding.

Lesson 4: Make training fast, lightweight, repeatable and targeted
Reams of documentation, long videos, or classroom-style in-person training do not transmit information as effectively as fast and engaging digital material. Maintaining consistent messages for users around the world saves time and makes training repeatable for new hires or veteran-employees. But consistency is difficult in a traditional model, and digital material is only efficient if it is developed and delivered through a repeatable platform. 

Not all users need the same training. A field service employee has an entirely different role and usage pattern than a salesperson. Offering training targeted to their role and responsibilities will ensure maximum effectiveness.

Lesson 5: Redefine help desk productivity
Besides the project managers tasked with a Dynamics implementation, no part of the organization feels the pressure of making a solution work more than the IT help desk.

Giving help desks a better way to both capture and manage support information can offer opportunities to separate common issues of understanding from underlying software problems. These insights should be applied to creating easily accessible help documentation or setting up areas for additional focus in training materials.

Companies can also adopt self-service options in the form of in-app virtual assistants to answer end user questions, sort incoming requests and reduce the help desk burden.

Michael Randrup is the managing director of ClickLearn, a Microsoft partner which provides e-learning and training solutions

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