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Developing Enablement Strategies that Make a Difference: Cloud Training

Susan Korbey
Director, Solution Consulting

Part 1: Understanding the Need for Cloud Training

As a sales consulting director for Oracle University with over 20 years of IT experience and over 15 years of focus on IT enablement, I am often consulted about enablement solutions. Two of the most frequently asked questions I get from our customers are:

  • “Do I really need to train for the cloud?”
  • “Isn’t the cloud intuitive?”

Every time my answer is a resounding “Yes!” to both. After some serious thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that there needs to be a broader discussion of the issue - and we need to start the conversation. 

In this 5 part blog series, we'll analyze the impact a good enablement plan makes on a cloud adoption process. You will also read stories about enterprise organizations and how their enablement decisions affected their entire course of operation.   

When we talk about cloud solutions for enterprise, we have to remember (at least in the case of Oracle Cloud Applications) that we are talking about applications that require skills and knowledge to implement, upgrade, or administer. When you are addressing end users, you cannot neglect the fact that when moving to the cloud, you are introducing a change to how people do their jobs on a daily basis.

The intuitive user interface is only a part of the equation. Often times there are changes in policies, procedures, or ways of working that must also be considered. Just as the cloud changes how we work, new and emerging technologies are quickly changing the way that we learn as well.

 

 

Why Do We Need Training for Cloud?

As I write this, I’m returning from a meeting with one of our customers who is currently undergoing a significant digital transformation as they move from their existing on premises HCM and ERP applications into the Oracle Cloud. During the visit, I met with several members of their senior leadership team, including members of the C-Suite. The topic of discussion was the need for training and enablement throughout their cloud implementation and beyond.

This customer, like many others, believes cloud training is important. The problem was they hadn’t yet fully considered the need to continuously enable a dynamic and modern workforce at go live and for years into the future. My time with this customer (and many others) has proven there is a definite need to create an approach for developing an effective enablement strategy that helps our customers achieve the ROI they expect from their cloud solutions.

With my 15+ years of experience in learning and enablement and the last 5 years focusing on enablement for the cloud, I’ve seen many approaches and plans, some more successful than others.

The most successful plans are those that consider not only training for the core team and subject matter experts, but also have a holistic understanding of their organization’s current learning culture, biases, and how those biases impact their overall enablement plan.  

Successful adoption also requires that our customers recognize how emerging trends and technologies impact how we think about training. Customers must also understand how the pace of implementation and change within the cloud requires a new approach to user adoption.

Learning in the Flow of Work

One of my favorite quotes is from Josh Bersin, Founder of Bersin by Deloitte and most recently Bersin Academy. In his article How to Build a High-Impact Learning Culture, he states that “The single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization’s learning culture.”

More recently, I’m equally excited by his latest research and analysis surrounding the changes taking place in the learning world. In his keynote speech at LinkedIn Talent Connect, he spoke about how we are moving through another disruption in the learning industry. We are moving from a world ruled by digital learning to one that is centered on “Learning in the Flow of Work.”

More importantly, he talks readily about the shift that is occurring where our employees are more successful when we provide opportunities to leverage both macro and micro learning modalities at the right times throughout their learning experience.

 

But it’s not just Josh Bersin’s research that makes the case for having an effective learning and enablement strategies. In 2017, IDC published a report on the impact of training on acceleration of cloud strategy (authored by Cushing Anderson). The report established clear advantages for companies that invest in training for the cloud vs. those that don’t.

Specifically, companies that train their core teams achieved 90% of their business and project milestones vs. 50% attainment for untrained teams.

When you look at user adoption, 82% of organizations with well-trained teams reported satisfaction with the adoption rate of their solution, vs. only 60% that are not well trained.3 At the end of the day, your teams have to possess the skills to help implement the solution and your people have to have the confidence and proficiency to use it.

The Impact of an Enablement Plan for Cloud Adoption

I remember a company that I worked with that failed to achieve their expected ROI solely because they hadn’t fully considered the impact that training and enablement played in the equation. This customer had implemented a CRM solution that, at the time, was considered one of the best in the industry. But there was no clear enablement plan to target the specific needs of each audience, nor did it integrate well with their current learning culture. As a result, no one adopted it.

Within weeks, a very expensive CRM system went by the wayside because the sales reps refused to use it. Within a month they went back to the spreadsheets they were comfortable using. Even a top-down mandate couldn’t get people using the system for more than minimal reporting.

But it doesn’t have to be as drastic as an entire sales force revolting against a new CRM system. Proficiency with a new system can have a big impact on a user’s confidence and ability to work within the system. These effects are also quantifiable and can be the difference between a solution that is quickly adopted and one that goes by the wayside.

 

With all of this in mind, I wanted to find a way to clearly define the key considerations our customers must make when developing an effective enablement program for cloud adoption. 

Within this 5 part blog series, we’ll spend time reviewing each of the key elements that need to be considered, as well as how they impact your overall approach to learning and enablement:

  • Part 2 will look at the modern workforce, new trends in the training industry and their impact on enablement programs
  • Parts 3 and 4 will cover the impacted audiences and the effect bias can have on even the most well-designed enablement programs
  • Part 5, the final post in the series, will bring it all together. I’ll show you a tangible approach we use here at Oracle University to help our customers create enablement programs that blend a variety of modalities to meet specific learning requirements and improve the learning experience for all audiences.

I hope you will continue to follow the series and join the discussion on effective enablement strategies by commenting below. As we continue to delve into the considerations that are essential to ensuring your teams are prepared, please email me or connect with me on LinkedIn to share your stories, successes, and lessons learned.

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