rapidLD has studied these questions and has developed a series of solutions around helping customers answer these very important issues. Our solutions include:
Business Plan and Strategy Development – assessing, developing, and validating a solid business case for the use of learning technology; ‘calculating’ revenue gains and cost savings; developing a multi-year strategy for the deployment of these technologies;
Vendor Analysis and Selection – developing business criteria for specific learning technology, surveying the field of providers, and getting the best match for the business (RFI process); developing specific demonstration scenarios, tendering an RFP response, and developing a decision matrix for getting to the contract stage with a vendor (RFP process).
Deployment – using our collection of best practices (rapidLD Framework) as a roadmap for the deployment of learning technology in the organization; using this to guide third party vendors in deployment or using our team to manage the deployment process.
Optimization – auditing the use of existing technologies to gain lessons learned and identify how to best leverage the existing experience across the organization.
A Changing World
"It is impossible to know if you have arrived if you didn’t know where you were going." This adage could not have better predicted the current state of the corporate training business today. Many organizations continue to build annual business plans predicated on how they did business last year. This is an old approach for a new, radically changing world – faster production cycle times, deeper technical skill set requirements, and cross product selling strategies. It is imperative that organizations examine their business and find opportunities to optimize or innovate or they will perish. One area ripe for opportunity is in the area of employee development and performance management. Corporations have discovered that these opportunities are best realized through the development of a Learning Strategy.
A Learning Strategy is a roadmap for the introduction and deployment of learning technology. The key to a successful eLearning plan is that the strategy should be predicated on a solid business case. This business case will articulate revenue opportunities and cost savings associated with the deployment of learning technology. Examining this move towards learning in business terms will engender the support of company executives – critical to the success of any enterprise initiative. As the business case is developed, a strategy can be devised that reflects the various priorities uncovered during the business analysis process.
Five Steps to a Solid Strategy
Development of an Learning Business Plan and Strategy involves five key steps: Visioning, Business Unit Interviews, Translation, Validation, and finally Strategy Development.
- The Visioning process is designed to create enthusiasm for a learning culture within an organization. A cross-functional steering group is formed to represent the various constituents within the organization – including business units and skill areas. An overview of the learning industry is provided to this team that begins the visioning process. This group is also encouraged to identify quick wins in the organization for the use of learning technology.
- The Business Unit Interview process is designed to understand and document current and desired business process around training and development. In this phase, specific measures of business unit performance are examined for the opportunity to enhance and create efficiencies.
- In the Translation phase, the interview data is analyzed with process calculators which assist in the identification of opportunities to introduce learning technology. All processes that could be affected by these new opportunities are optimized based upon our industry expertise and current market benchmarks. Finally, the translation process looks for the proverbial ‘needle in the haystack’ – that innovation which will push your company beyond the competition in terms of human capital management.
- Once an initial translation is complete, the findings are then Validated. The first validation step is with the business units themselves – ‘Is this optimization (or innovation) realistic? What will it take to make this work in the organization?’ A second validation step is then taken with a financial officer in the organization to validate revenue and cost metrics used in translation. This financial validation creates further buy in with the executive team.
- Once a solid business case has been developed, the opportunities presented in the business case define the Strategy. This strategy is typically stated in the form of a three year plan with phases of selection and deployment for different technologies and content. This becomes the roadmap for the organization as you begin to deploy learning technology and begin realizing your training, business unit and organizational goals.