Enterprise Software Training Drives Returns/Benefits
When organizations invest in enterprise-wide software systems, they must also train their workers—both the end users and those who will implement and maintain the software. Still, training is often considered expendable, and it is generally the first part of a project to be cut back in tight budgetary times. According to a recent research study involving more than 13,000 PeopleSoft users, user productivity jumped an average of 20 percent after completing a training class on the software.
“As you know, the economy is starting to turn around. Volumes are growing, companies are trying not to add a lot of cost structure right now, so they’re asking employees to do more, and productivity increases are a key part of that equation,” said Bill Henry, vice president of strategy and marketing for PeopleSoft Global Services. “Our students who’ve taken PeopleSoft training report a 20 percent productivity improvement in their job. That’s the same thing as getting an extra day a week to get things done.”
PeopleSoft has been driving innovative education solutions to help its customers improve the effectiveness of training on PeopleSoft technology while decreasing the costs for that training. The research study proves the effectiveness of the company’s training solutions. The research was conducted by Knowledge Advisors between September 2003 and January 2004 and surveyed more than 13,000 PeopleSoft users immediately following the completion of training and again 60 days later.
The goal is to give learning executives more leverage with stakeholders than simply telling them that everyone needs to take training when an application is purchased, said Renee Knee, group vice president Education Services, PeopleSoft. “We can give them hard ROI numbers that are able to show direct impact to the company’s overall productivity,” she said. “That is a powerful tool for them to use in driving the learning and the training needs of the corporation forward.”
“We’ve been very focused on the innovation aspect of our business over the last two years,” said Henry. “In addition to the innovation we’ve been driving, we’ve also been measuring the specific value received by customers from PeopleSoft education. All the innovation we’ve been driving over the last few years is really paying off in terms of real, bottom-line return in benefit to the individuals attending training and their companies.”
In addition to showing a 20 percent improvement in user productivity, the research also showed a 24 percent improvement in cycle time, or an improvement in the learning curve of getting users up to speed and productive with the software. “I think the consensus view on the employment market is that there’s a lot of pent-up desire for turnover,” Henry said. “And as the economy comes back, companies are going to have a real challenge because they’ll have to go out and hire, and this is a great way to get those new resources productive faster than ever before.”
Another key to the success of enterprise-wide software investments is the quality of the implementation. According to Knowledge Advisors research, those who attended training said quality improved by an average of 22 percent. “This is really around minimizing defects,” said Henry. “If you think about it, these are the people working on implementing and supporting the applications. The improvement in quality means the end users of those applications are seeing fewer problems, fewer errors, and are going to be more satisfied with those applications.”
More than 90 percent of the respondents to the survey said that PeopleSoft training was a worthwhile investment for their employers.
PeopleSoft has more than 500 courses, including 350 e-learning courses, with more than 75,000 enrollments every year. With classroom-based courses, live webcasts and on-demand e-learning, organizations have a number of options for training their workers on the technology. PeopleSoft e-learning classes in particular have seen increased enrollments, experiencing 333 percent growth between 2001 and 2003. At the end of 2003, PeopleSoft released the PeopleSoft ROI for Training solution (see http://www.clomedia.com/content/templates/clo_nl_execbriefs_content.asp?articleid=336&zoneid=102), which helps learning executives build the business case for learning by showing ROI metrics connected to business process improvements.
“In the past, learning has always been seen as somewhat discretionary. When times get tough, education budgets are easy to cut,” said Henry. “I think the key takeaway for the CLO from this research is we’ve been able to prove that there’s a compelling link between the proper training around an enterprise software product and delivering the bottom-line benefits that are in the business case for that project.”
He added, “Education is really the tool to drive up productivity. We all knew that, but this gives you some ability to quantify the benefits for your business. And it’s not only the level of productivity; if you can shorten the learning curve, that’s going to pay huge dividends to companies as they are hiring new employees over the next few quarters.”
For more information on PeopleSoft learning, visit http://www.peoplesoft.com.