Article published in Association for Talent Development by David Hand, VP of DevOps Sales at Orasi Software.
Pre-COVID-19, the global software product market was valued at close to $438 billion. The estimated market value for online education technology (by 2025) was roughly $350 billion. Fast forward to our current time in which virtual work is the norm. It’s OK to hear chatting children during audio calls and see pets popping into video conference frames. People are doing whatever they must, from wherever they are, to do their jobs. This evolutionary period has increased demand for software products and virtual training platforms, reminding us that pre-pandemic estimates were off by a lot.
Employee expectations have changed too, and companies are being held to task to ensure workers can advance in skill and position. Greater access to virtual training platforms and online educational resources are raising the bar on what employees look for in an employer.
Also, competition for jobs is escalating. People are becoming hyper-focused on skill-building. As businesses struggle to survive and bounce back to growth, it is even more important to ensure workers know how to use the necessary tools. Training directly affects worker productivity, customer service, and revenue (survival).
Fortunately, most seem amenable and realize (especially within the software industry) that it’s easier to harness the speed and scale of a company as well as recruit or retain a high-quality workforce with excellent virtual training technologies and processes in place. Industry analysts estimate that as much as 85 percent of L&D (learning and development) functions have shifted in-person training to virtual modes, and we can assume that number is continuing to climb.
When a company’s product is software, effective training for in-house employees as well as customer or partner users has always been a must-have. Upgrades, version-levels, integrations, add-ons, and such all require a new set of competencies for proper use.
Virtual training platforms emerge as the optimal solution for software and services organizations for a few key reasons beyond the world’s move to a work-from-anywhere (WFA) model.
Digital assets are increasing daily. Software companies have seen a rise in the volume of enterprise data and the automation of business processes, forcing them to accelerate the deployment of enterprise software and services within multiple IT environments. Whether or not they are using the same software, they do not have the same access to quick resolutions (IT help desk visits or on-the-spot training moments, for example) that were a routine part of the in-person office environment. With virtual platforms and access, delivery and feedback can be self-driven and more rapidly addressed, which reduces the need for constant IT support.
Companies can quickly mitigate risks and losses and improve user experiences. It turns out to be easier, quicker, and more cost-effective to train with the right virtual lab technology. Virtual training platforms helped shorten sales and adoption cycles of software products by addressing customization, testing, maintenance, and support issues from the get-go. Features that foster independence and intuitive controls make it easy for users to plug in, get started, help themselves, and support each other.
Size matters not when virtual training platforms are involved. Designed for flexibility, scalability, and a per-use model, virtual training platforms empower companies to choose a consumption-based model. The freedom to scale up or down depending on specific training needs still matters to everyone, from the C-suite to the frontline worker, because it keeps training costs, resource allocations and operational overhead in check.
Software and services companies thrive and grow when customers and partners leverage their technology to support overall business strategies. Virtual training platforms are essential to properly educate and train customers and partners, regardless of geolocation, to drive adoption and ensure return on investment.
As organizations continue to evaluate virtual training options, always consider the following questions:
- Do we rely too heavily on IT resources?
- Do we have the necessary hardware or software needed to support training delivery?
- Is our cloud provider good enough for how we need to administer virtual training?
- Have I created a consistent lab environment that meets enterprise training needs?
- Can we further streamline costs, processes, and risks when launching new training?
- Can instructors and learners easily use the training technology and interact effectively?
- Does my virtual training solution maximize user experience?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share other questions that help assess virtual training solution needs.