WHITE PAPER: OVERCOMING ROADBLOCKS TO SOFTWARE TRAINING AND MIGRATION

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1 WHITE PAPER: OVERCOMING ROADBLOCKS TO SOFTWARE TRAINING AND MIGRATION

2 03 CONTENTS Introduction Roadblocks to Adoption Money Saved by Training Users Benefits of Training Users Pre-launch Information Campaign Day of Deployment Sustained Internal Support Conclusion BrainStorm Inc. 02

3 When even 93 percent of knowledge workers at some point have felt overwhelmed by information to the point of incapacity, there s obviously something wrong with the way many organizations are providing training. INTRODUCTION The state of the American worker can be summarized in one word: disengaged. In fact, 70 percent of U.S. employees reported in a Gallup poll they are not completely invested in their work. Why is this becoming the new normal? More importantly, what can be done to turn the tide? The answer is that too many businesses are not fully invested in training. With increasing frequency, technology is the driving force behind business. No matter how well software is programmed, it is rarely completely intuitive. When even 93 percent of knowledge workers at some point have felt overwhelmed by information to the point of incapacity, there s obviously something wrong with the way many organizations are providing training. The most important factor to keep in mind is that the purpose of any software deployment is to make your staff more productive. At the same time, upgrades and migrations can complicate the way employees perform their daily duties as a consequence of poorly developed training strategies. The truth is employees generally use only 13 percent of any software application and that limits the capabilities of your workforce. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that 66 percent of knowledge workers feel they don t have enough time to get all of their work done. Rather than being a consequence of the technology itself, an effective training program is the missing ingredient. When staff members don t have access to knowledge about their basic job functions, they re not empowered to be as productive as possible. ROADBLOCKS TO ADOPTION If you think your employees are working at the top of their game, you re likely in for a startling realization. The most recent research shows BrainStorm Inc. 03

4 that more than $350 billion is lost every year because of a lack of productivity. And that s in the U.S. alone. Without question, decreased productivity is an issue for many organizations, but it doesn t necessarily have to be. Inevitably, software updates and migration must allow a certain amount of time for users to adjust to a new interface, menu options, and level of accessibility, which could lead to frustration. In other words, they re not able to perform tasks as rapidly as before. When each disengaged worker costs a business $13,000 a year in lack of productivity, this is a situation that most employers want to avoid. Gartner estimates each call costs a company $24 every time an employee reaches out to find information they should have on hand. One of the most crucial goals of a well-developed training strategy is to reduce uncertainty over adoption. A new interface can be a challenging prospect for end-users who have become accustomed to a particular format. In fact, when Microsoft Office 2010 was released, 78 percent of respondents in a Dimensional Research study were concerned about migration because of compatibility and the Ribbon interface. In reality, the Ribbon user interface represented a continuation from Office 2007, yet 45 percent of respondents were worried about training employees to use the enhanced version. However, companies tend to migrate every few years or after several product launches or updates have occurred, which leads to inconsistent training practices. For example, many organizations transitioned from Office 2003 to 2010 when that update launched. Concern is a common response to new situations, and it can lead companies to make irrational decisions: doing nothing for their employees to prepare them for an upgrade or forego the migration entirely. However, this logic ignores the benefits updated technology can offer your workforce and will ultimately stagnate the growth of your organization. Many organizations also worry about an increased dependence on the company help desk. Without necessary training, it s likely your employees will begin to use the help desk as a crutch instead of a resource used only when issues arise that they can t resolve in a timely manner. Irrespective of the productivity of your workers, help desk calls are not cheap. Gartner estimates each call costs a company $24 every time an employee reaches BrainStorm Inc. 04

5 out to find information they should have on hand. Leaving your workforce unprepared for a software update or migration is costly both financially and in terms of productivity. MONEY SAVED BY TRAINING USERS When your employees are not well-trained concerning new or upgraded software, they ll likely turn to less effective and efficient resources to answer their questions. Initially, when employees lack training materials, they ll be forced to interrupt their co-workers. While many organizations foster a sense of collaboration among their workers to resolve problems, there tends to be unforeseen expenses associated with constantly deferring to colleagues when an employee can t fully utilize the software platform. In fact, companies lose $1,800 per employee annually due to reading and sometimes responding to unnecessary s. In fact, companies lose $1,800 per employee annually due to reading and sometimes responding to unnecessary s. Because most workplaces are digitally connected, it s very easy to get caught up in a never-ending thread when searching for answers about software features and functions. Productivity is not only negatively influenced by improper training, but also the quality of work being performed. Unfortunately, an interruption of 2.8 seconds such as that caused by an unnecessary face-to-face conversation with co-workers results in employees making twice as many mistakes as those who were able to work without disruption. When your employees have immediate access to training materials, you can significantly reduce the likelihood they ll be drawn to other staff or the Internet and then YouTube, Facebook, and other sites unrelated to their daily tasks looking for answers to frequently occurring issues, and away from the very software they re supposed to be using to work. The latest Microsoft technology, such as Office 365 or Office 2013, makes great strides in improving the usability of everyday software, helping users avoid many of these issues. New Office features, such as BrainStorm Inc. 05

6 SkyDrive, a cloud-based storage system, allow your employees to save, open, and edit files in a location accessible to multiple kinds of devices desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. What s more, with Office 365, employees PCs don t even need to have Office installed for others to access Word files, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. At the same time, the most frequently used files appear first, meaning your employees won t be left scouring their computers looking for the correct one. Having all this functionality in your organization can easily increase user productivity and efficiency. That being said, having this operability is very different from actually using it, which means training is necessary to get users to reach a level of productivity beyond their current one. BENEFITS OF TRAINING USERS Underlying any effective training strategy is the idea that instruction should be applicable, accessible, and consumable. If any of these criteria isn t met, the transition to new software or an upgrade won t go as smoothly as it should. In support of this philosophy is empowering employees throughout deployment. Underlying any effective training strategy is the idea that instruction should be applicable, accessible, and consumable. Pre-launch information campaign Conceptually, think about migrating to upgraded software in the same perspective of a product launch. Before anything even hits the shelves, buzz should be generated among customers and company members. You need to build anticipation for the software beyond telling your staff that it s going to happen. Your employees are stakeholders in the success of the migration and will want to see it flourish if they have a crystal clear understanding of the expanded features and ease of use the upgrade will bring. Before your workforce even has a chance to use the software, it s important to generate excitement about the coming changes. This is done by keeping in consistent contact with your employees about improved functionality, instead of unrolling the new software without warning. You BrainStorm Inc. 06

7 have the opportunity to change their perspective regarding an upgrade or migration; as opposed to being an added burden, the technology will enable them to be more productive and have access to exciting new features. Implementing a wellorganized training strategy is vital to ensuring your employees are confident in their role. It s ideal to show your employees tips and tricks associated with using the new software so they ll be able to identify the reasons why the upgrade will be beneficial. What s more, this crucial step will likely affect your employee retention rate. Employees who don t see a clear path of how they ll do their job won t see a future with the enterprise; 90 percent of new hires decide whether they ll stay with the company within six months. Consequently, implementing a well-organized training strategy is vital to ensuring your employees are confident in their role within the company and their career path. Day of Deployment As the upgrade or migration occurs, make sure your employees have access to a quick reference guide, which provides users with helpful tips and shortcuts, allowing your workers to find their way around the software features. Equip your employees with the technical knowledge they ll need to overcome any issues they ll face in using new platforms with accessible reference guides. When employees have the information they need to perform their most critical tasks, they are able to utilize the software as it was designed to be used. Moreover, instructor-led training more fully develops users knowledge base. On one hand, on-site training gives your workforce experience charismatic instructors who provides users the motivation and applicable knowledge by allowing them to work hands-on with the tools they ll be using during their regular work duties. On the other hand, Web-based training builds off the successful strategies of instructor-led training but gives your employees greater independence in the learning process. This resource is ideal for companies with employees in multiple locations, or those that support employees working remotely. BrainStorm Inc. 07

8 Sustained Internal Support Your employees need consistent reinforcement to ensure they re getting the most out of the upgrade or new software. To achieve this, quick and targeted training videos are clear and concise, providing users with materials that are directly accessible through the Ribbon in Office and within other applications they use most. Employees stay within the software platform to learn the information that will apply directly to their daily work. Without distractions, employees are empowered to take the initiative to learn the skills they need to make better use of the software and increase their productivity. While on-site and Web-based training addresses most questions end users will have using new software, live phone support experts give employees the security of knowing they can find the answer to any issue they face post-training. That last thing you want to do is to leave your users outside of the communication loop. The ultimate purpose of software upgrades and migration is to make your employees more capable. CONCLUSION With improved training, handling upgrades and migrations to new software platforms can become a more seamless process. The ultimate purpose of software upgrades and migration is to make your employees more capable. All of the roadblocks to bringing your workers up to speed with your business s software can be overcome with the resources that BrainStorm offers. Beyond increasing employee productivity, the benefits of improving software training and education boost your company s bottom line and future sustainability. BrainStorm Inc. 08

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