SMEs need support to make change management happen

SMEs need support to make change management happen

A short case study illustrating how one SME has embraced massively cost effective and capable learning portal technology to address 3 different L&D needs.

For many SMEs, entering the world of learning technology to find training solutions is a daunting prospect. It could be said that Learning Technology providers seem to be only interested in the ‘big fish’ and they seem reluctant to hang a price tag on their services and offerings.

Here at TWM, where we provide learning portal solutions to some of the UK’s largest organisations, we’re happy to introduce an entry level online learning portal with a price tag!

Before explaining a bit further, let’s talk about the price, because we’re proud of it: £12,995 + VAT. There we are that’s out the way. Now to explain……

If you’re thinking learning solutions you’ll have spent some time leafing through the brochures and colourful marketing collateral of LMS providers currently peddling their wares into the UK learning market. Did you find an advertised price?  Because I‘ve failed.

The strap line wording is clear enough. Pick and mix what suits you best from “easiest”, “most cost effective”, “most innovative”, “effective and engaging”, “ultimate” – but whatever strap line attracts your attention, it certainly won’t be a price tag. Not a hint – anywhere.

The only way to understand just how many noughts you may have to add to a given number to implement your learning strategy is by engaging with the LMS provider and getting the shock later.

I know there are some reasons for this but it really shouldn’t be like this, should it?

Learning technology businesses are, by their nature, businesses run by people who spend their lives understanding and moving forward the barriers of technology. Our job is to adapt the great gains made out there in the technological world to solutions that can be used by learners. We didn’t invent the mobile phone – we simply found ways to deliver content and learning onto mobile phones.

As technology driven learning solution providers, we have to understand technology. We have to understand best how to adapt technology to help us address business challenges, properly understand the business challenge and then deploy a technology solution which addresses that challenge and earns its ROI.

So if we’re prepared to speak of return on investment (and we should be) why are we so reluctant to talk about the required level of investment? Price at the point of interest as opposed to the point of sale?

TWM have a new SME client.

Recently acquired by a new parent company, the client is a 300 person business made up from a core of permanent staff and some temporary staff as well.  The business has multiple units across the UK. As a result, the relatively small number of staff working within each outlet are a dispersed population which can become very focused on their own space and lack a sense that they belong to the bigger organisation across the country.

The business operates in a sensitive area and there’s no need to name them here. Suffice to say here at TWM we’d be happy to demonstrate their ‘massively powerful learning solution’ to any interested party.

The new owners have aspirations to grow the business but, as a regulated industry, they acknowledge that training will need to address not only their technical needs but it will also need to focus on a series of programs which, when combined together, will begin the process of supporting ‘change’ in their organisation.

Foremost amongst the initial challenges faced by this client is that, like so many SMEs, they have not invested in L&D technology before, but they recognise that a technology solution is probably the only way that they will satisfactorily be able to serve their dispersed population of learners.

Few L&D professionals would believe that a solution can be put in place for less than £15K but by deploying TWM’s entry level Learning Portal with a ‘Learning Pathways Builder’, included that is precisely what’s been achieved.

The need to become more ‘commercially’ successful would appear to be a pretty much page 1 requirement of most businesses. But where does the distinction lie between a business which is operationally successful and a business which is also commercially successful? Generally the answer lies in the OD and L&D environment.

It’s not an easy answer though. This is an organisation with no pre existing culture of L&D and certainly no learning technology. But technology can undoubtedly be the most cost effective way to push programs across multi site operations.

This client is instigating a program of recruitment to bring new people into the business to change the historical ‘hands on and operationally successful’ approach, to a more strategically planned and commercially run business.

The need to invest in learning and development has become paramount – but with little or no planned budget available, this has only been possible by diverting some previously allocated operational funds into a massively cost effective technological learning solution which can support three training programs immediately.

TWM’s entry level Learning Portal and ‘Learning Pathways’ tool (amongst others) allows multiple pathway programs to be managed and set up by the client fast and with real ease. At a fixed cost of £12,995 + VAT the platform is deployed within a matter of weeks.

The solution is massively flexible in what it can offer. For this client, it will provide a new starter training program to handle on boarding and induction processes for the 20 or 30 new starters expected each year.  A second pathway will allow the business to recognise future talent within the company and finally there’s a generic leadership and management program for managers across the country as well.

In addition to each individual being able to track their own progress, the TWM solution provides valuable management information supported by a line manager view of progress achieved by learners within a manager’s cohort. Collaboration rooms are an added feature of the stand-alone solution, providing an informal online environment for learners to engage not only with the learning content but each other as well.

In reality, the Learning Portal will be used from day 1 not only as a versatile and engaging learning environment but also as a major communications tool throughout the business. In due course it will doubtless be used to support a wide range of other training needs and, as more budget becomes available, it will be complimented by additional functionality chosen from a suite of “bolts ons” developed by TWM to support and grow the core functionality of the entry level portal.

Success for this program will be judged by increased sales, as well as by how well the people in this organisation engage with technology and the bespoke learning environment at their fingertips. Early signs are hugely encouraging.