Investing in learning for its employees makes sense for Datatel, an organization dedicated to servicing institutions of higher education. The company provides colleges and universities fully-integrated administrative software systems and e-marketing solutions that effectively process transactions, conserve resources, improve constituent services and provide for sustainability.
With Datatel’s growing success — including a roster of more than 750 clients in North America—comes various challenges inmeeting learners’ needs, which vary greatly from initiative to initiative, division to division, and employee to employee.Additional complications include the fact that Datatel’s work force is geographically dispersed among three offices (Fairfax, Va.; Buffalo, N.Y.; San Francisco, Calif.), plus remote employees and employees working at client sites.
Previously, instructor-led, live training was delivered regularly in Fairfax throughout the year and offered at concentrated times of the year at “Corporate Training Weeks,” the Datatel user group client conference and division-specific training weeks. Datatel also offered select courses via Breeze, its virtual classroom tool.
Strategically, it was unrealistic for the company’s Learning and Development Department to develop and deliver the quantity of classroom and self paced training that are required to meet employees’ changing needs. To attempt to do so would have required additional headcount with expertise not only in instructional design and classroom delivery, but also in a variety of subject areas, including:
>> management/leadership skills for new and seasoned managers;
>> desktop application skills (MS Office and Lotus Notes);
>> business skills (project management, communication skills, HR);
>> job role specific skills (sales, marketing, consulting, customer care); and
>> technical training (Web development, databases, portal technology).
While classroom training at Datatel is still an important and necessary component to meet learning needs, the company recognized it was no longer enough to reach all audiences. It required a learning solution with a delivery method that was flexible, self paced and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A MEANS TO SUCCESS
When a member of Datatel’s Learning and Development department who had used SkillSoft courseware in the past — recommended SkillSoft due to its high-quality courseware, Datatel took notice. Datatel’s corporate training department reached out to Sprint Nextel, a current SkillSoft customer, for feedback and received a positive recommendation.
In addition to the positive recommendation from Sprint Nextel, after a rigorous evaluation, Datatel choose SkillSoft based on the courseware quality and breadth of coverage; the mentoring services for IT certifications, which allow users to connect with a SkillSoft mentor via live chat the simulations bundled into its solutions, and level of customer and implementation support. SkillSoft’s technical support is available 24X7/365 days a year at no extra charge.
INCREASED SKILLS AND ABILITIES
Today, Datatel offers about 1,200 courses covering IT skills, business skills, desktop skills and compliance. The courses are available via Datatel’s LMS for all of its 550 employees nationwide. In the first 60 days, Datatel averaged an employee completing one course per day. Employees are excited about the remote 24×7 access to the SkillSoft courseware, the variety of courseware to choose from, and the courseware’s high quality. IT and technical employees are thrilled to use courseware to keep current on emerging technologies and trends.
Datatel has learners from each of its divisions (sales, corporate resources, marketing, professional services and software development) taking a wide variety of courses. The most usage is in professional services —those remote employees who are not available to come in for in-person training.
“Employees have been able to increase their skills and abilities in a much wider variety of topics to support Datatel’s business strategy, give its leadership team and emerging leaders access to leadership and management courseware to develop their skills, and enable professional development opportunities for all employees,” says Jennifer Balcom, Learning and Development senior manager for Datatel.