Training & Development: How sensible is it to outsource?

Why should businesses look at outsourcing training and development? Well, in this digital age, any scope to reduce costs and increase efficiency has to be carefully gauged. So, if a substantial cost saving is possible and the skill-sets of the people directly benefit the company, it is then prudent to evaluate such an option. In spite of the ever-worrisome cost factor, more and more organizations, with massive expansion and aggressive growth plans,have been taking a holistic view in their efforts to address the market challenge of the widening skill gaps and the lack of talent availability.

Training & Development How sensible is it to outsource A leading and fast-growing global provider of security and compliance management solutions chose Origin Learning Solutions as its e-learning partner to partially outsource its training and development activity in order to march ahead with its scaling-up operations.As you read, you will understand the rationale behind choosing an external learning partner.

For some time, the security and compliance company had been evaluating strategies that would support its expansion plans and strengthen its partner eco-system. It was keen to shift from a predominantly instructor-led training approach to an online and blended learning mode. Having to battle with a resource crunch resulting in only 6 instructors meant that the number of trained and certified learners would be proportionately low. These instructors had been providing extensive classroom training on security solution products to all employees, partners, and channel sales personnel. This was also a training program that was rolled-out globally,which meant delivering customized training for different learner segments was a challenge.

Faced with business situations and challenges periodically, learners in the organization were getting affected. How? Many were unable to attend training programs due to unpredictable circumstances, which in turn led to revised schedules. Restricted travel budgets, need for just in time (JIT) training and the reluctance of partners to keep resources in classroom training for 3-4 weeks were some of the other key challenges that led to the revamp of the training organization.

To keep pace with the growing demand for training, a university model of delivery was conceived. What was the idea behind such a concept? To overhaul the entire training delivery and certification mechanism as the end objective was to achieve some critical goals, such as dramatically increasing the reach and affordability of the training programs, building updated curricula by role and by product, and providing easy access to partner and employee certification curricula and exams. A Learning Portal was initiated to offer online, instructor-led, and virtual classroom training to employees, channel sales, and partners. The University offered role-based curricula to ensure that its employees and partners had the right skills and knowledge to maximize the company’s investment in the in-house solutions.It also had a training calendar to help employees and partners plan their development schedules.

To develop training quickly and keep training costs down, the company chose to work with external content development partners. Origin, the content development partner, had already developed several foundation and customer-facing courses. More technical, partner/internal-facing courses were built by the internal team. Going online had given the company access to users who previously would have been unable to attend the training.

Certification was another training domain that got totally revamped for the company had launched channel sales, partner, and internal certification programs just before it had engaged with the external vendor (Origin). The company also moved to the online forum for its partner/internal certification curriculum.

Therefore, key problems were addressed with the organization enabling access to those who had previously missed out on the training activities. Such an opportunity reflected the mindset of learning – a fact which could be traced to the over 60% registrations showing a clear preference for e-learning. At least 68% of the registrations were from the partners of the security and compliance company indicative of its ability to offer services apart from expanding its footprints.

The first notable benefit that led to a closer connection with the customer was the 20-25% cost savings arising out of outsourcing a part of the training development program. Over 450 hours of training have been developed concurrently by the internal team and Origin Learning Solutions. To keep the learners attentive and motivated, a wide variety of strategies to train their employees and partners were adopted. These included web-based training (WBT), instructor-led training (ILT), instructor-led virtual classroom training, blended learning, and rapid e-learning and video-based learning.

This innovative approach of partial outsourcing resulted in substantial savings as compared to typical training development costs. Also, time saving was possible given the significant reduction in delivery schedule: shortening the time-frame between kick-off and going-live to seven months.

Listed below are some of the revamped training initiatives:

  • Changed the training delivery paradigm to include online learning and virtual instructor-led sessions
  • Moved to online certification and launched channel sales, partner, and internal certification programs
  • Updated/developed 450 hours of training in little more than a year
  • Dramatically improved accessibility of training and certification – from a few hundred to several thousand learners
  • Built a well-trained sales and partner network
  • Rebuilt the team with solid subject matter experts and versatile instructors
  • Collaborated with service engineering, product management, marketing and support teams, who contributed immensely to the content

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