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Self-Inflicted Opportunity Costs

Enterprise systems, like Seal and your ERPs, CRMs, ECMs and others, are part of the critical knowledge repositories of your organization. These systems provide the data and analytical insights that enable you to make high-value strategic decisions, while simultaneously providing the day-to-day tactical data and analysis that flows as the lifeblood of your organization. Countless organizations can, and will attest that investing in Seal Contract Discovery and Analytics is a smart business decision with a typically high ROI.

And yet, there is an all too common occurrence when implementing any enterprise system, Seal included. It is when an organization decides the budget is too tight for proper training on a new enterprise system, with some forgoing training altogether. Such decisions often inflict higher opportunity costs, driving down or even eliminating return. So why do organizations make such decisions?

In many cases, the justifications for this are well-founded based on past results. They may have based a decision to forgo training on the following experiences:

  1. They have experienced training with a dictated, fixed curriculum in classrooms, physical or virtual, as single events. Problem—ever tried to learn something by just doing it once?
  2. They have experienced training that was only delivered in a class. Problem—inside every bloated class is one or more job aids and performance supports waiting to get out!
  3. They have experienced training that did not adapt, forcing them into a one-size-fits-all solution. Problem—we clearly do not all have the same size anything.
  4. They have experienced internal training functions, if they exist, that are unable to respond promptly or properly. Problem—they might be resource constrained, organizationally limited, or simply lack the wide range of skills needed by modern learning professionals.

While these are not uncommon experiences for many of us, it does not mean that you must, or should experience it in the future. In fact, it has been posited that doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

Seal Software is your partner in helping you achieve real business value from your Seal system. Learning, training, knowledge management, and change management are not confined to single silos. Whether or not you select Seal’s Global Learning Services to work with you towards a high-value implementation, there are six (6) critical learning points you should consider in every enterprise system project.

  1. Learners do not learn as an event—they learn as a process. If you only put them into a classroom once, you should not be surprised if they do not learn. Ask yourself how you remember a phone number? Most of us remember it by repeating it over and over again in our heads. This is retrieval practice and spaced practice.
  2. Learning should not be just one thing or just another thing. Any singular approach is likely to miss opportunities. Not everyone can take the time to attend a class, and not everyone can succeed with self-directed learning. There are coaching solutions, job aids, online e-learning, downloadable videos, instructor-led classes, certifications, testing, and a multitude of other approaches. This is blended learning.
  3. Your learners are adults. They come into class with their own biases, their own expertise, their own faults, and their own end goals. Your learning approach must respect your learners as adults. This is andragogy.
  4. Your learning must be customized to your business. Even relatively simple processes can have profound changes from organization to organization. For example, just imagine a common scenario of company names. If you are entering a company name, like Seal, into a system, do you enter Seal? Seal Software? Seal Software Group? What happens in your processes if the name does not match? Can the data just be entered? Are there approval flows? Are there supporting processes? No generic training, from any vendor or any internal training function, can ever address these kinds of unique business requirements. If your learning materials do not support your unique processes, what value do you think your learners place in those materials?
  5. Your learning must account for change. Your systems change frequently, even just keeping up with security patches. Your learning, even if it is on a portal, is not going to reach 100% of the people 100% of the time. You have people coming and going, and have new business processes that can and will impact how your system is used. Your learning needs to adapt to this rapidly changing environment. This is change management and communication planning.
  6. Learning experts should not be confused with subject-matter experts (SMEs). Learning experts rely on SMEs to help them develop, evaluate, and review content. But, learning experts are SMEs in adult learning. You should not evaluate them on their knowledge of a specific system. You should evaluate them on their abilities to help people learn in workplace environments. This is expertise.

These are tactical considerations. But, there is a strategic consideration that many, perhaps even most training groups, inside or outside your company, do not take into account.

All learning, not just for Seal, but across the organization, must be aligned with the business goals of the organization. When an organization decides to implement an enterprise system, like Seal, they are committing to a strategic investment. Do not allow the limited vision of a learning function to pull you away from the goal of the people in the organization being able to perform their job successfully. Simple!

While it is simple, it is not easy. If we can help, Seal’s Global Learning Services is there to assist with any learning challenge, and we are happy to share our expertise.