In recession, many activities take priority over innovation. Selling, Accounts Receivable and in the worst cases Human Resources can all seem more important than diverting scarce funds into developing new routes to market, creating killer marketing plans or developing staff by reskilling them. This is understandable, but may be a false economy when business picks up and rivals are in better shape to take advantage of the eventual upturn.

Deploying the latest Social Collaboration technology can both help employee productivity turn employees and even turn employees and their social networks into potential brand advocates. Investing in new systems like this though will not yield business value with the correct training plans.

These days, thanks to technology, this need not be formal classroom training, does not have to involve lengthy courses and need not even be done during core work hours. A great method of skills transfer for many introducing new cloud-based systems is to ‘Learn by Doing’ in partnership with the team leading the introduction almost simultaneously.

Training Vs Shelfware

Training is often the crucial difference between software helping a business run smoothly and wasting hard-earned IT profits on failed projects which deliver value to the business late, or even never.

However, given its crucial role in the success of any system implementation, especially one as far-reaching as Customer Relationship Management roll-outs, which involves training a large and diverse set of users, puzzling as to why so little pre-planning and budget is allocated to IT training.

The Different Ways People Learn

Although commonplace, CRM systems are increasingly complex beasts with easily as much functionality as most IT applications. Due to their ease of installation many enterprises assume the latest tranche of cloud-based applications are also easier to use.

However, although CRM apps are typically cloud-based these days, their interfaces pre-date tablet computers and often have more in common with terminal-based ERP systems. This can be daunting for many users, increasing the need for end-user training and making this training mission-critical for CRM success.

Good training not only increases use adoption rates, it also reduces costs in terms of support calls. There are however many different learning styles recognised now by academics, from rote learning (literally remembering the order of symbols), to ‘Learning by Doing’. Finding the right style for different job roles and individuals is often best achieved by external experts.

The Way Forward: ‘Just In Time’ Expert Training

With the speed at which businesses evolve, it takes a very flexible platform to meet all an organisations current and future needs in one. One consequence of such broad functionality is that scheduling training for an entire workforce can be impossible.

Luckily the advent of computer based self-paced learning means tailored courses can be developed as and when needed, rather than all at once. Even with such aids expert advice, from independent IT professionals which can be called up at short notice is an attractive and cost-effective option for most mid-size organisations.