The 2016 “Best of Elearning!” awards honor best-in-class solutions across the learning and technology marketplace. Celebrating their 12th year, these honors are bestowed across 27 different categories for which Elearning! Media Group accepted nominations.

Best of Elearning! awards are the industry’s exclusive users’-choice awards. All nominations are made directly by users of solutions, and more than 4,000 nominations were received this year.

“We are honored to recognize these 99 solutions providers as Best of Elearning! 2016,” says Catherine Upton, Group Publisher, Elearning! Media Group. ‘The number of nominations and winning organizations is a testament to the innovation and engagement of the learning industry.”

The Best of Elearning! awards formalize the recommendation and purchase process for the learning community. Research indicated 85 percent of learning professionals recommended a learning solution to a peer over the most recent 12-month period, and 61 percent claimed that award recognition “impacts their decision” to consider a product or service.

Since 2005, four companies have been recognized every year. They are Adobe, Cisco, Skillsoft and Articulate. This year, BizLibrary, SAP, and Articulate lead with four honors each. Additionally, Adobe won three categories and INXPO two.

Repeat winners from last year are SumTotal, DominKnow, Bizlibrary, Vubiz, Articulate, Adobe, INXPO and TransPerfect. Last year, Bizlibrary won three awards and Adobe two.

NOMINATION PROCESS

Elearning! Media Group community members, subscribers and wider learning community were invited to nominate their best-in-class solution providers via an online ballot between June and October of this year. The ballot was open-ended with only categories designations stipulated. No short list of brands were provided. At close, the ballots were reviewed and validated. Editors verified product types and categories before counting. The top vote earners in each category were identified as finalists. Those with a 10 percent lead over all other products in a category earned category winner status. The balance of finalists earn an Award of Excellence.

To learn more, visit www.2elearning.com/awards/best-of-elearning-awards.

 

 

Honoree Spotlight

 

LMS CLOUD

Winner: Litmos LMS, a Callidus Cloud Co.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Litmos has more than 3 million users and is used by large enterprise companies, SMBs and not-for-profits. It is easy to build courses, assign them to learners, and accurately track the results. Litmos is a hosted training system, so administrators don’t need help from the I.T. department to set it up and get started. Content is added in the form of modules; custom branding is available; and users can take advantage of a training scheduler and learner training profiles to make certain users are being exposed to content that they need. Users can access the API to seamlessly share information between Litmos and other systems. Single sign-on can be enabled so that users don’t have to remember their Litmos password.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Simple, easy-to-use interface for both administrator and user.”

>> “Module form makes it easy to replace individual modules when we release a new or improved feature.”

>> “Best set of features for the price.”

>> “Easy, reliable and affordable.”

PHONE

(866) 812-5244

 

LMS ENTERPRISE

Winner: SumTotal Learn, a Skillsoft Co.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Established more than 30 years ago, SumTotal’s Learn connects the dots between the skills and competencies people need to be better at their jobs — delivered in the context of what they are trying to accomplish — and prepare the organization for tomorrow, to measurably improve performance. With adaptable learning plans, a visual timeline of priorities and tasks and individualized insight into learning progress contextual actions are a click away, and people have visibility into the measurable impact of their efforts. Learning recommendations, personalized to every individual’s needs and preferences, keep people engaged in continuous learning effortlessly. Engaging and responsive mobile design and notifications make it easy for every role to engage with the learning they need on-the-go or from remote locations, whether online or offline, to ensure learning is prioritized and accessible when and how people prefer to consume it.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Second in usage only to email among employees.”

>> “Month over month, over half our employees come back, so they really see the value of it.”

>> “With the reporting function, we’ve been albe to say how we’ve invested in our people and how it has helped our business grow.”

EMAIL

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LCMS

Winner: DominKnow Platform, DominKnow Learning Sys.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The dominKnow Platform is a Web-based authoring and publishing solution that helps teams collaborate in real-time, share and re-use content, and easily engage subject-matter experts in the review process. Content is ready for delivery from virtually any location — all from a singlesource. It offers all the features needed to create engaging, media-rich learning experiences, including customizable testing, flexible interactions and animation creation, advanced variables, branching, audio/video recording, software simulations, and system and author-created templates. The platform outputs HTML5 content that is WCAG 2.0 Level AA and WAI-ARIA compliant and publishes to SCORM, AICC, xAPI (TinCan) and PENS standards. Content is ready for delivery from virtually any location — the Web, your own LMS or LRS, the desktop, mobile apps, or document formats.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Allows for collaborative (SAS) approach as well as an intuitive design.”

>> “The best e-content manage system enhanced using multimedia u-learning technology and complying with latest learning specifications/standards in all platform aspects.”

>> “Robust environment for content development.”

PHONE

(613) 800-8733

 

CONTENT AGGREGATION

Winner: Bizlibrary Collection

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The BizLibrary Collection contains thousands of employee training videos on key topics your employees need including business and soft skills, leadership, sales and customer service, human resources compliance, I.T., software, industryspecific content, workplace safety and more. Content formats offered meet the needs of all types of learners from short, micro-video lessons, to more in-depth video courses, interactive video programs and e-learning courses. Many of the lessons and courses include quizzes and additional support materials to extend the learning process, increasing both retention and the return on training investment. Administrators can deliver employee training videos across platforms: desktop, mobile and tablet.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Great library of micro-learning.”

>> “Depth and width of the collection are staggering.”

>> “Competency guides and live support help to develop curriculum paths and curate the robust content.”

EMAIL

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Award of Excellence: OpenSesame

PRODUCT INFORMATION

OpenSesame makes buying and selling e-learning courses easy. Users can preview courses, read reviews and research sellers in the marketplace. Administrators can buy courses with no subscriptions or long-term commitments and use them instantly in any learning management system. Let us do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on choosing the best courses for your employees. Buyers can personalize their interaction either through browsing the extensive listing of courses online or interacting with one of our content specialists to custom build their training catalog. Sellers can stick with the learning management system they know best and can rest easy knowing their material is protected.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Not just the biggest but the easiest platform I could integrate into an enterprise LMS in 15 minutes, while many content vendors struggled immensely over months to get to the same spot.”

PHONE

(503) 808-1268

 

OTHER LEARNING PLATFORMS

Winner: Bizlibrary Company College

PRODUCT INFORMATION

BizLibrary’s learning management system is conveniently organized into three tiers to allow users the option to customize their solutions based upon the needs of their respective organizations. All three tiers offer approval agents, branded website design, a personalized user experience, online and dashboard reports, self-regulation or administrative course assignments, a Cloud-hosted online learning center, certification of completion, social ratings and reviews, a course recommendation engine and email messages and reminders. The second tier of the program, Content Management, offers management of custom documents, links and videos; a quiz and survey builder; the ability to add custom courses, embed video and learning assets; and community social learning and collaborative application. Learning Management, the highest tier, offers all of the previous benefits in addition to classroom management and on-the-job external training, certification management and virtual classroom integration via WebEx or GoToMeeting.

EMAIL

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Award of Excellence: ej4 Thinkzoom

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Thinkzoom is ej4’s comprehensive video training platform. With several interactive tools and resources, Thinkzoom helps employees during and after training. Thinkzoom allows administrators the knowledge of which videos their employees are watching and how well they comprehend the material with its built-in interactive exams. Score requirements can be set and additional student materials can be provided so learners can put their knowledge to practice. Thinkzoom also has a comprehensive reporting feature that allows administrators to create custom reports based upon users, groups, courses and topics. Understanding which courses are popular and which are lacking participation can help measure training progress and communicate future training goals.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Easy to implement, easy to use, engaging and rewarding for our learners.”

>> “Able to train all departments (including remote employees) with relevant, and customizable content.”

>> “Easy to upload, with a lot of good native content.”

EMAIL

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Award of Excellence: Skillsoft SkillPort

PRODUCT INFORMATION

SkillPort is a modern Cloud-based content delivery platform that delivers highly targeted learning —when and where people want to learn. SkillPort technology, in conjunction with Skillsoft’s unique combination of content, service and experience builds talent and delivers powerful business outcomes. SkillPort offers a full learning experience as a standalone learning platform, or it can be easily integrated with existing business and I.T. systems. The system offers a variety of learning modalities to match individual learning styles; a rich user-experience with a beautiful, clean user interface; analytics, reporting, measurement tools; extensive search and discovery capabilities; personalized learning recommendations, featured topics and curated learning plans; social and collaborative learning to connect users across each organization; and mobile access.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “We’re leveraging SkillPort to align content to strategic training needs.” >

> “Being able to choose new courses keeps our catalog from getting stale and allows us to meet emerging needs as they develop.”

PHONE

(866) 757-3177

 

TMS

Winner: SAP SuccessFactors TMS

PRODUCT INFORMATION

SAP SuccessFactors provides a complete, recruit-to-retire solution across all talent processes, and comprehensive content such as skills and competency libraries, job descriptions, goal catalogs, as well as legal and coaching content. In addition to content, SAP SuccessFactors talent management solutions are provided with a foundational set of capabilities, including Talent Insights, Talent Search, Basic Jam, Job Profile Builder, and SAP SuccessFactors Presentations. The solution includes modules that expressly target recruiting, onboarding, learning, performance & goals, compensation, and succession & development.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Ease of use.”

>> “Has made us more effective and helped us to keep our people engaged.”

>> “You’re not just getting software; you’re getting all of the experience of SAP in deploying the software in many companies and industries.”

EMAIL

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HR TECHNOLOGY

Award of Excellence: SAP HCM Cloud

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Empower, engage, and develop your talent – with human capital management (HCM) software from SAP SuccessFactors. The cloud-based human resource management solutions support the needs of multigenerational, global, and contingent workforces. Administrators have access to collaborative tools for onboarding, workforce scheduling, payroll, and more. The software allows organizations to foster a culture of continuous learning and professional development for better business results. Core human resources and payroll functions deliver flexible and efficient global human resources processes. The talent management feature helps attract, develop and retain talent to achieve business results and prepare for the future. Time and attendance management functions optimize the deployments and utilization of each employee’s working time. Human capital analytics increase the success of workforce strategies with reliable and real time, relevant insight.

WHAT CUSTOMERS SAY

>> “We will save close to $1.2 million per year.”

>> “Frees up our people to do what they do best.”

>> “Allows accessability from all our facilities around the world.”

PHONE

(800) 872-1727

 

I.T. TRAINING

Award of Excellence: Skillsoft I.T. Skills Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Skillsoft provides a wide array of integrated learning types to continuously develop and maintain IT skills — including short expert-led videos, video-based e-learning courses, live web-based instructor-led training, free live mentoring services, certification test preparation, and access to tens of thousands of full text online books. It offers support for more than 100 professional IT certification exams from leading software, hardware, networking, web service companies and professional organizations. Leading experts and mentors provide an affordable fast track to IT certification and offer test preparation designed to improve pass rates.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Combines courseware, Books 24x7, videos and live learning to provide a well-rounded array of modalities to impart I.T. information.”

PHONE

(866) 757-3177

 

Winner: ej4 Software Skills Training

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Ej4’s “plug and play” content fits any organization, providing information that is always ready to use. Short formats and on-demand availability facilitate training, making it available to everyone, anytime, anywhere.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Video format allows you to see the applications being used in ways that learners can relate to.”

>> “Easy to use; excellent information; adaptable; current.”

EMAIL

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SOFT SKILLS

Winner: Bizlibrary Business Skills

PRODUCT INFORMATION

BizLibrary’s Business Skills Training program include videos and coursework on topics ranging from planning strategic relationships and managing body language. Other series contain several parts, for example, Measuring Employee Engagement discusses what passes for employee engagement at many organizations, how to measure employee engagement, and how you can improve employee engagement. Other lessons include successful time management and mastering social media.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Able to customize a professional skills program as well as compliance courses and even office ergonomics.”

>> “Soft skills trainings are helpful, not just in the workplace, but in every facet of life.”

EMAIL

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Award of Excellence: BCI Win-Win Negotiations

PRODUCT INFORMATION

BCI’s Win-Win Negotiations training helps individuals tap into their own strengths and experiences, hone their skills, and align around a proven framework — so they approach every negotiation with a plan, and with the confidence to achieve their goals. Lessons help users increase profits through well-planned collaboration and concession strategies, shift from using tactics to planning, while reinforcing key corporate values, focus upon interests and issues and avoid dangerous positions, enhance communications by developing a common negotiation language and build strong relationships with customers, partners and colleagues.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Absolutely vital training delivered in a systematic way.”

>> “We realized it’s not always about one person winning; it’s best when everyone can walk away feeling like a winner.”

EMAIL

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Award of Excellence: ej4 Business Skills Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Ej4’s Business Skills library contains the courses needed to effectively run any business. The Business Skills library contains courses covering professional productivity, communication skills, sales, project management, leadership, supervision, safety, presentations skills among others. The library is made for employees with varying levels of experience ranging from from recent hires to experienced managers.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Quality micro-learning that easily understandable and digestible in a video format.”

>> “Easy to use, excellent information, adaptable, current.”

EMAIL

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SOFT SKILLS

Award of Excellence: Vado Management Dev. Learning Track

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Vado’s management courses are designed for supervisors, managers and leaders who are responsible for leading, coaching and inspiring employee performance. These courses help build the skills needed to manage individual and team performance, engage and retain employees, and contribute to the organization’s success. They offer bite-sized content, video and mobile access.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Their approach to chunked learning and real-world, direct applicability engages the learner to be an active participant in his/her learning journey.”

>> “Content from experts yielding expertise transfer, plus collaborative work that exploits each content partner’s transforable value proposition.”

EMAIL

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Award of Excellence: Vado Leadership Development Learning Track

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Research shows that 70 percent of development happens on the job, and Vado provides off-the-shelf e-learning courses that help learners apply learning on the job through step-by-step instructions and exercises. The combination of short videos followed by step-by-step instructions help learners put into practice the learning they just completed, which means organization leaders are confident that the transition from learning to application on the job actually happens, and organization capabilities are increased. Vado’s new Remote Leadership Toolkit is designed to equip managers with the tools and skills required to successfully manage others remotely.

WEBSITE

http://vadoinc.net/contact-form/index.php

 

Award of Excellence: Bizlibrary Leadership and Management

PRODUCT INFORMATION

BizLibrary’s leadership and management courses cover everything from discipline and accountability, high-performance coaching, handling disagreements at work and everything in between. They also cover helpful topics such as managing remote employees, succession planning, handling team expectations and making the transition from co-worker to boss. Users get unlimited access for their first 30 days free.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Terrific variety in the contemporary, quality videos.”

EMAIL

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Award of Excellence: ej4 Leadership Development

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Ej4’s “plug and play” content fits any organization, providing information that is ready-to-use now. Short formats and on-demand availability facilitate training, making it available to everyone, anytime, anywhere. Leadership Development is part of the company’s Business Skills library and touches on everything from transformational leadership and building an effective leadership team. WHAT USERS SAY >> “Quality micro-learning that easily understandable and digestable in a video format.” >> “Just a tremendous resource to have.”

EMAIL

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TRANSLATION & LOCALIZATION SERVICES

Winner: TransPerfect Translation & Localization

PRODUCT INFORMATION

As the world’s largest privately held provider of translation services, TransPerfect uses a rigorously tested network of industry-expert linguists and full-time quality managers to ensure that the work it delivers is second to none. TransPerfect offers multiple levels of service based on client needs, ranging from draft/summary translation up to certified translation, featuring a multi-step translation and review process to ensure the highest level of accuracy and meet the evolving needs of global businesses. The company can translate from/to more than 170 languages, using more than 5,000 native-speaking linguists.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Benefits include customer service, range of languages provided, time to production, cost/quality and responsiveness.”

WEBSITE

www.transperfect.com

 

SALES TRAINING

Winner: ej4 Selling Skills

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Selling is part art, part science, and all about the approach. Your team will be able to move prospects down the funnel with ej4’s cutting-edge sales training content. A number of courses are available including Retailer Hot Buttons: Transaction Size, Selling to Different Customer Roles, Building Great Sales Relationships, and Determining Customer Needs.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Our salespeople have more confidence knocking on doors, and have vastly improved sales skills.”

>> “It’s taken us three calls less per customer to sell them on our products, and I tie a lot of that to the training.”

EMAIL

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COMPLIANCE TRAINING

Winner: VuBiz WHMIS

PRODUCT INFO

Vubiz provides full-service e-learning content, development and delivery software with solutions that are flexible in practice. By having thousands of hours of off-the-shelf content available for purchase as-is or tailored to a specific client situation, it offers a number of compliance courses including preventing and stopping sexual harassment, equal opportunity and affirmative action courses for managers, content about the Americans with Disabilities Act and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Easy to use, excellent content and price.”

>> “Sound content; adult learning principles paid attention to; and clarity.”

>> “Excellent customer service from the VuBiz team, quick response time, great at customizing info when needed, and overall great team to work with.”

WEBSITE

http://store.vubiz.com/store/ContactUs

 

Award of Excellence: ej4 Workplace Compliance Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

ej4’s Workplace Compliance library keeps users in legal compliance with federal and state regulations while sharing best practices for the workplace. The Workplace Compliance library contains titles covering diversity, workplace conduct, workplace harassment, fair labor standards, and a number of human resource issues revolving around hiring practices, medical leave, termination, and more.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “[The ej4 team is] real good at figuring out what it is that I’m envisioning.”

>> “We’re changing behaviors, we’re setting standards...”

EMAIL

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GAMIFICATION

Winner: Gamelearn Pacific Serious Game

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Pacific offers learning in video game format and is designed for the development of leadership skills. It was launched with the aim of becoming a practical manual on how to run and manage high-performing teams. Pacific turns leadership into a survival adventure to develop management skills such as defining roles, responsibilities and objectives; analyzing the needs of the team, improving processes and increasing motivation; resolving conflicts within the team; improving communication for the delegation of tasks; encouraging teamwork and performance orientation. Developed in 3-D animation and HTML5 language to be adaptable to a variety of devices, Pacific is available in eight languages and requires only an Internet connection.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Funny, didactic and dynamic.”

>> “The first training program in video game format for the development of leadership skills.”

>> “Challenging, user-friendly, unexpected!”

WEBSITE

https://game-learn.com/contact/

 

SOCIAL LEARNING

Winner: Bizlibrary Community

PRODUCT INFORMATION

With up to five different generations present in a workplace, people see the world and the way it works differently. This can create conflict about how to complete tasks, reach goals, or run the organization. The challenge is harnessing conflicting viewpoints and ideas and turning them into cooperative creativity for how to be both productive and innovative. An important first step to bringing together a variety of talents and ideas is recognizing the similarities that connect people. Finding common interests, beliefs, or skills (whether work-related or not) can create a bridge over a generational division that energizes collaboration, innovation and problem-solving. To find those commonalities, it’s important for coworkers to be willing to think from a perspective different from their own, taking others’ life experiences into account and how that affects their viewpoint. With an RSS feed, community members receive HR and employee training news, tips and best practices delivered straight to their inboxes.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Works two ways: internal for our employees and even smaller teams, but also for L&D professionals who are a part of the community to ask questions and share recommendations.”

>> “Easy way to get updates from the vendor and share best practices with other customers of BizLibrary.”

EMAIL

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OUTSOURCED LEARNING SERVICES

Award of Excellence: Skillsoft Learning Services

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Skillsoft begins by developing a personalized e-learning program in conjunction with each client’s strategies, culture and events to leverage best practices — then working to maximize e-learning success. Skillsoft e-learning consultants, customer support and application engineers provide core program support services — a fundamental value-add. These teams deliver the expert e-learning services and advice to help clients establish general strategies for deployment and adoption of powerful learning programs.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “Tremendous catalog.” “Whenever I ask for something, they say ‘we will handle that’...I come back and it’s done.”

>> “The instructors are fantastically knowledgeable.”

PHONE

(866) 757-3177

 

MOBILE AUTHORING

Award of Excellence: DominKnow Flow

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Flow is content-authoring software that outputs fully responsive and adaptive HTML5-conformant content that automatically adjusts depending on the screen a user views it on. Flow is built it on the same engine that powers DominKnow’s award-winning Claro. It not only offers responsive content that changes and rearranges according to the device one views it on. It also gives authors the ability to choose what content gets delivered, thus adapting to the user’s device for a more meaningful and contextual end-user experience. And it does all of this in a Web-based authoring environment that allows for collaborative development, sharing and re-use of resources, and anywhere, anytime, any platform access.

WHAT USERS SAY

>> “A new authoring tool integrated in the Claro LCMS.”

>> “Fully responsive with excellent, new thinking functionalities that allow you to produce truly responsive content that does not only make the content bigger/ smaller, but that actually totally adapts the content to the screen size.”

PHONE

(613) 800-8733

 

 

Litmos by CallidusCloud

AWARD WINNING LMS-CLOUD

ENTERPRISE LEARNING THAT WORKS

For too long, employee training systems have been cumbersome and complex to work with. But the need to onboard employees, introduce programs, educate staff on updated policies, and offer training to external audiences has been accelerating. Organizations today do not have the time or the patience to spend months implementing clunky learning management systems. Litmos by CallidusCloud is changing that.

Litmos is the world’s fastest growing enterprise learning platform, supporting more than 4 million users in over 130 countries and 22 languages. The Litmos cloud-based solution unifies a learning management system (LMS), the extended enterprise, and prepackaged content in an engaging platform to meet any organization’s training needs. Built to scale from 100 users to 1 million users and beyond, Litmos is highly secure, focuses on the end user, and provides time to value three times faster than conventional learning solutions. With Litmos, organizations can engage learners anytime through native apps for Android and iOS, and they can extend their ecosystem by using prepackaged connectors and REST APIs. Litmos also provides local US support during business hours to help organizations be successful. Headquartered in Silicon Valley and backed by public company CallidusCloud (NASDAQ: CALD), Litmos is still run with the nimbleness of a start-up. It continues to experience double-digit growth and has a customer satisfaction rate of over 95 percent.

A POWERFUL PLATFORM: LITMOS LMS, LITMOS CONTENT, AND LITMOS TRAINING OPS

Litmos LMS is a simple yet powerful platform. Most legacy systems are over-engineered solutions with a huge percentage of features utilized by less than 5 percent of users. Litmos LMS is built with learner’s experience in mind that makes it easy to implement, administer, and manage. The platform’s open API architecture and prepackaged connectors make it simple for organizations to connect Litmos LMS to their ecosystem. And the user interface is consistent across devices, which helps organizations to engage their mobile workforce.

Litmos offers more than 700 packages of content. In addition, Litmos Content uses an in-house course production studio— composed of specialists in instructional design, production, research, technical operations, and program support—to develop more high-quality, mobile-friendly courses that focus on healthcare, HR, OSHA, sales and marketing, leadership, and more. The design aesthetics for these courses ensure better retention through engaged learning, and all content is available through the course marketplace.

Litmos Training Ops is an end-to-end training-as-a-business solution, enabling organizations to grow revenue, build loyalty, and reduce costs by automating the business side of training. A self-service, cloud-based platform, Litmos Training Ops delivers a sophisticated, integrated set of tools that help organizations automate and manage revenue, expense, global taxation, training credits, and other business processes so they can improve the ROI of their external training programs.

ADVANCING CORPORATE LEARNING

Litmos’ mission and core value proposition is to advance corporate learning by providing a learning experience that doesn’t necessarily reside in one segmented location, but in the departments where administrators work and in the applications where users spend their time. With Litmos:

>> Customers will get the perfect combination of powerful search and ease of use that learners love.

>> Customers can go live in 6 weeks— many in days or even minutes—rather than in 6 to 12 months.

>> Customers will achieve time to value in less than 6 months as opposed to 24 months.

CUSTOMERS

litmoscustomersimage

WHAT CUSTOMERS SAY:

>> “The Litmos platform has enabled USIC to deliver targeted, timely and efficient learning and compliance tasks to our 8,000+ employees across the US and Canada.” Tim Gale, USIC

>> “We chose Litmos because it’s extremely user friendly, you don’t need a lot of training and we love the user interface.” Miriam Calvo-Gil, Kapco Global

>> “We liked that Litmos has the ability to easily upload content, build your own content, and create courses.” Rick Galliher, 1-800-Got-Junk?

>> “What I like most about Litmos is the easy and fast implementation without needing a team of people or specialized resources.” Cheryl Powers, Coca Cola

CONTACT INFO:

4140 Dublin Boulevard #400

Dublin, CA 94568

+1 (925) 251-2220

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www.litmos.com

 

 

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Published in Top Stories

Evidence shows that consumers believe overall customer service is actually getting worse. Arizona State University found that customer complaints climbed from 45 to 50 percent over a two-year period. And, according to a study by NewVoiceMedia, poor customer service costs businesses in the United States approximately $41 billion every year. More clients are having negative customer experiences, and those experiences are translating into a substantial dollar-loss for businesses across the nation.

With today’s competitive marketplace, irritated customers are discovering that they can simply take their business elsewhere. In fact, 65 percent of customers have completely cut ties with a brand over a single bad experience. And internet-based businesses aren’t immune to this new-found customer awareness, either — roughly 60 percent of web users who encounter a problem (customer experience or otherwise) on a company’s website immediately leave the site and/ or visit a competitor’s site. So, whether your company is B2B focused, businessto-customer oriented, web-based or brick-and-mortar, there’s no doubt that customer neglect can significantly reduce your profits.

THE DECLINE OF THE CUSTOMER-CENTERED MENTALITY

What’s the cause of this decline in customer service? The answer depends on a variety of factors. For one thing, the modern customer is more aware of what good customer service is. Companies that are being consistently recognized as having superior customer service are taking advantage of the positive publicity a customer-focused business plan creates. They use transparency and social media communication to ensure potential customers around the world know exactly what kind of positive experiences they could be having. This puts a great deal of pressure on businesses to provide equally awe-inspiring customer service. Once clients realize top-quality service is a possibility, they begin to expect it from every business they encounter.

The almost infinite reach of the internet has made it possible for even the smallest of businesses to amass customers from all over the world. As this international customer base grows, business leaders are forced to reallocate more of their finite resources toward customer service. This becomes an even more difficult task to accomplish as their client bases grow. Add to that the issues of providing customer service across multiple languages and cultural norms, and the cost and complication increases even more.

DIGITAL DIFFICULTIES

Virtually every issue associated with the decline of customer service results from the advancement of the digital age. Simply put, as reach and abilities have increased, the one-on-one focus of pre-internet business has declined. This is unfortunate, because approximately 70 percent of buying decisions are made based upon how a customer feels that he or she is being treated.

The digital age doesn’t have to mark the end of the era of customer satisfaction. By recognizing and re-committing to some essential customer service skills that businesses around the world have been disregarding, you can ensure your customers remain happy.

Here are four customer service skills that many businesses need to re-learn:

1 Patience

If there’s one thing that has come to define the digital age, it’s speed. High-speed internet, instant video streaming, Wikipedia-style informational databases, online shopping with next-day delivery — all seem to promise customers everything with instant gratification. Businesses believe that by rushing potential customers through the sales process, they’ll have more time to devote to acquiring new leads. However, there’s something to be said for taking a more leisurely approach. When companies and clients are able to move slowly through the sales funnel, the extra time allows for better mutual understanding. Of course, many customers may still insist on a quick resolution. It’s the responsibility of the business to ensure the customer fully understands what he or she is committing to. When necessary, explain to hurried customers that in order to provide the best customer service, there are important steps that can’t be rushed. Most customers would rather invest the time to ensure competent service, than be quickly rushed into something they may end up regretting.

2 Knowledge

Few things are more frustrating for a customer than having to deal with unknowledgeable company representatives. A nightmare situation many consumers have experienced happens when a customer is transferred from department to department, having to reexplain their situation again and again to representatives who either don’t have the proper authority to address the problem or the understanding to make things right. The majority of employees who work directly with customers are often situated at the bottom rung of the corporate ladder. It’s become even more prevalent as many businesses are now choosing to outsource customer customer service departments in answer to their growing customer bases. But while it may make sense financially to spend less on customer-service specialists, it makes absolutely no sense at all when you consider the customer service implications.

Your customers are your company’s most important resource, and without them your business ceases to exist. So, spend necessary time, effort, and money to ensure that those within your organization who work directly with your customers have the training and authority necessary to give them a positive experience. Think of these added expenses as investments: 55 percent of customers would be willing to pay more for a better customer experience, so go ahead and charge a little bit more to make up for the added training.

3 Understanding

When you have the opportunity to meet your customers directly and communicate with them face-to-face, it’s generally less difficult to understand them. But as more and more customer interactions are taking place on the virtual stage, the ability to accurately ‘read’ customers is diminishing. This is because there are many more layers to conversation than can be conveyed through words. Body language, voice inflection, and a thousand other details that are vital to communication are garbled when businesses and customers attempt to communicate through text, telephone, or video conferencing. These limitations can be circumvented, however when it comes to accurately conveying intentions, feelings, and ideas, there is no substitute for honesty. If customers and representatives can communicate openly, they’ll be more likely to reach a favorable outcome.

4 Approachability

Customers don’t simply want the best products for the best prices; they want the best people working with them. Personality has always been an important aspect of the customer-business dichotomy. But with the necessary automation of sales processes, it’s becoming more difficult for customers to connect with businesses. As a result, businesses become faceless, uncaring entities in the eyes of the consumer. The remedy: A simple name tag. A name tag shows your customers that you welcome their questions, concerns and anything else. Of course, when operating over a digital medium, a physical name tag becomes somewhat ineffective. You can make up for that via social media pages that are well-maintained and give your customers a place to connect with your organization. The benefits ene of this kind of connection have been well documented: 77 percent of buyers are more likely to buy from a company if its CEO is active in social media, and 46 percent percent of web users visit a company’s social media pages before committing to a purchase. Also, organizations that deliver customer support through social media achieve gains of seven percent, , in comparison to the nearly three percent gains seen by those organizations that do not.

The digital age has opened up an entirely new universe in which businesses are able to generate new leads and establish customer relationships. Unfortunately, it has also played a part in driving a wedge between consumers and organizations. However, by identifying the aspects of customer service that are routinely being neglected and training employees to focus their attention on repairing these breaches, your organization can take advantage of the increased speed and reach of the 21st century digital landscape.

Don’t let customer neglect separate your business from the people on whom it depends. Recommit to customer retention and satisfaction through building customer service skills, and you’ll find that as you make their happiness your priority, your customers will respond accordingly.

— Stuart Leung is manager, Salesforce and authors authors monthly monthly blogs on trends in sales enablement enablement and CRM.

Published in Insights

 

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Published in New Products

Sales Enablement Superstars Reveal Their Secrets

What would you do when you’re faced with training your sales team on 722 significant new releases in a year like Amazon Web Services? What do you do to motivate sales executives to forecast accurately? What would you do if you had nearly 500 global subsidiaries to sales manage like Ingersoll Rand?

The sales enablement gurus from Amazon Web Services, Publicis.Sapient and Ingersoll Rand reveal their secrets to these questions. And, it all starts with changing the sales and learning culture.

AMAZON WEB SERVICES INNOVATES AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT

As the fastest-growing Enterprise IT Company in history — having grown to $10 billion in 10 years and still growing at an annual rate of 64 percent year-over-year — Amazon Web Services continues to accelerate the pace of its innovation. After starting with one storage service, today Amazon Web Services offers more than 70 services including compute, storage, databases, analytics, mobile and enterprise applications. The organization announced 722 significant new features and services in 2015, which is 40 percent more than what was introduced in 2014. And, just recently, Salesforce named Amazon Web Services its “preferred public cloud infrastructure provider,” and announced that its investing $400 million on Amazon Web Services during the next four years. Amazon Web Services’ growth has happened organically, and it’s placed an emphasis on innovating — rather than dictating — a company culture that contributes to its customerobsessed nature.

Known for its “Amazonian” style of doing things, Amazon Web Services has a rigorous dedication to its culture, best exemplified in its 14 Leadership Principles. One can easily see how it would require an immersive learning culture to deliver on its standards by just looking at a few of these principles: >> Customer obsession

>> Ownership

>> Invent and simplify

>> Hire and develop the best talent

>> Insist on the highest standards

>> Learn and be curious

While these are the traits expected and even demanded from its leaders, Amazon Web Services holds all of its employees to such exacting standards. So, when the company needed a way to standardize its primary leadership principle, customer obsession, it took a thorough approach to learning that was both broad and deep.

CUSTOMER OBSESSION

Amazon’s primary leadership principle of customer obsession is the major driving force in the company. “One of the things that Jeff Bezos has set out to be as a company is the most customer-obsessed company on the earth,” says Mike Clayville, Vice President of Global Sales. “That’s his goal. It’s written on our walls. It’s embedded in our leadership principles and it’s lived every day at every level of the organization.”

“What it means here at Amazon Web Services, and in particular in our organization that deals directly with customers, is that it translates to our team being problem solvers with the customer,” Clayville continues. “When we are working with a customer to help them understand how he or she can gain business abilities through using the cloud or how he or she can reduce cost if that’s his or her goal in using the cloud, what we enable them to do is leverage that technology in the best way possible and we do that by sitting at the table with them. On the same side of the table, understanding the issues that are in front of them and helping them solve the problem.”

As the company quickly grew, leaders knew they needed a way to unify by implementing a common methodology and language to further extend the customer-obsessed mindset across its global sales force. Through collaborating with CloudCoaching International, and through deep discovery and design, a global program called Outcome Based Account Management was developed and deployed for sellers across Amazon Web Services. This program provides language, process, behavior and methodology that even further increases customer intimacy and focus on both business and personal customer outcomes.

OUTCOME BASED ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT

It was critical that the learning solution match the Amazon Web Services culture. So, a customized version of the Customer Outcome Selling course was developed to line up with the methodology and language of Amazon. This Amazonian selling approach is called Outcome-Based Account Management (OBAM).

OBAM is the process, tools, competencies, and dialogue architecture for initiating and solidifying Amazon Web Services’ customer-obsessed relationships, fixated on the journey of transforming the sellercustomer engagement into a lifelong strategic relationship.

“We’re not trying to sell you parts and pieces or technology. What we’re trying to help you do is get the business outcomes,” says Clayville when defining OBAM. “Our job is to sit down and help. We really talk about it as the four E’s: explore, engage, empathize and enable. Those four E’s are ingrained in the behaviors of our teams that are really supporting this notion of problem solving, identifying business outcomes, creating a path for those business outcomes to be achieved and then helping the customer achieve those business outcomes.”

THE RESULTS

The development of this program has spanned three years and is currently on its third release. The immersive program thrives on a blend of pre-call, pre-work, a live one-day collaborative training day session, three post-workshop coaching calls, and an on-demand OBAM playbook.

The program has been delivered globally to around 1,000 people in all geographies, including Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and North and South America. In every location, the program is being met with great success, achieving a global average score of 4.2 or higher out of five from participants.

Amazon Web Services’ deep commitment to a culture of continuous learning and skill development enables innovation and customer obsession.

PUBLICIS.SAPIENT MERGES CULTURES

Sapient is a marketing and digital services agency that helps marketers transform their business to go digital, and the culture of Sapient goes back to its roots. Culture is always at the forefront at Sapient.

“The most important thing in your business is not what you’re going to sell but what you value,” says Bill Kanarick, Chief Marketing Officer of global services company Sapient, who helped steered the company since it startup days. Culture was so integral that when the company reached 49 employees, Sapient dedicated two of them to keeping its culture intact.

As Sapient continued to grow and expand, its dedication to culture has never wavered. And, learning is clearly a deeply held value at the core of many of its founding principles.

Sapient believes in the need to cultivate openness to create the conditions for curiosity and change. As such, the company is committed to exchanging information, feedback and ideas which engages employees, piquing their curiosity. Sapient understands that learning is continuous, no matter an individual’s role in the organization. Sapient embraces a culture so:

>>Individuals let go of what is no longer working.

>>Individuals welcome healthy conflict in the service of more robust thinking and better outcomes.

>>Individuals leave behind hierarchy for hierarchy’s sake and enable a meritocracy of ideas that gives each person a valued and respected voice based on the quality of his or her thinking.

>>Individuals understand the critical role of failure to teach and can recover quickly and come out better for it.

THE CHALLENGE: INCREASE VISIBILITY

In order to deliver at the speed and agility of the digital marketplace Publicis. Sapient required a world-class business platform, and selected Salesforce. It also selected Salesforce to help promote better collaboration and visibility into the pipeline.

Because Sapient’s culture is highly creative and opt-in, it doesn’t mandate training on its new CRM. Knowing that its team would benefit from Salesforce, the organization decided that it needed a solution to drive adoption, quick onboarding, and a clear path to competency for all Salesforce users. To get the team’s buy-in, it needed to create a highly engaging experience that would pull the users in. It also needed the training to be in a highly scalable format that clearly shows each employee what’s in it for each of them individually.

THE SOLUTION: SALESFORCE ON-BOARDING

Enter the new Salesforce On-Boarding and Adoption Program developed in partnership with CloudCoaching International. This program addresses the challenges of global diversity and opt-in culture by creating an engaging, informative and creatively executed end user Salesforce on-boarding and adoption strategy.

To sustain learning and encourage selfpaced, incremental growth, the program focused on three main areas: strategy, implementation and fine tuning. The design of this effective strategy included a comprehensive blend of executive coaching, leadership coaching, virtual workshops, open office hours, video communications, self-paced e-learning, and corporate communications and change management.

This unique blend appeals to all learning types and, because it’s delivered over time, it maximizes retention and effectiveness. Additionally, the e-learning series is delivered via an interface by an engaging video host that takes end users through an informative and enjoyable learning journey that introduces the new company sales philosophy and methodology, step-by-step Salesforce process demonstrations, knowledge checks and even a little singing.

So far the deployment has impacted more than 1,200 users across North America, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. Based on the success of the initial program, Publicis.Sapient, which is composed of Sapient as well as digital agencies Razorfish and DigitasLBi, will continue to use and evolve this approach to drive end-user adoption and consumption with its Salesforce platform.

THE RESULTS

Sapient has seen measurable results since it began the implementation. It has a 50-percent increase in early-stage entry, improving the accuracy of its forecasting and pipeline. It also has 75 percent engagement in Salesforce, showing that the team is opting in and making use of the company’s major investment.

“As an extremely creative, opt-in culture, we needed a highly engaging solution to captivate the imagination and clearly show our end users the benefits of using the system,” says Seth Bartlett, Global Chief Operating Officer at SapientNitro. 

INGERSOLL RAND INSPIRES PROGRESS

Ingersoll Rand is a $12 billion global diversified industrial firm that provides a wide range of innovative products, including complete air compressor systems, air conditioning systems, tools, ARO pumps, material handling systems and more. It continues to lead the way in the market through an impressive portfolio of market-leading brands, which include Club Car, Thermo King and Trane.

Ingersoll Rand strives to lead the way in solutions that make everyday living healthier, more energy efficient, more comfortable and more productive. To constantly inspire progress, innovate positive solutions, and unleash the potential in employees, along with the customers, Ingersoll Rand relies on a culture of learning.

Ingersoll Rand is focused on driving learning and growth across its corporate culture. In 2003, it established Ingersoll Rand University to support the development of leaders and staff through strategic competencies and a single pervasive culture.

THE CHALLENGE: 484 GLOBAL SUBSIDIARIES AND ONE STANDARD

While Ingersoll Rand made learning a predominant feature of its culture, like so many other companies, it needed help establishing a consistent methodology and process for its sales management teams. Because of an inconsistent sales management process and pipeline tools varying between business units, Ingersoll Rand’s sales management team was struggling to set standard practices. Sales representatives focused on driving sales excellence but found themselves impeded by a fragmented sales management culture.

“On the surface, those of us who are not in this latest generation of the workforce tend to think about selling and sales in much the same way it has traditionally been seen for many generations,” says Melissa Nelson Tate, Enterprise Director of Sales Excellence. “If we take a step back and look at how buying behavior has changed, we see a different playing field. Buyers have all the information they need at their fingertips. Think about how you buy for yourself today either personally or in your position. Technology has added an incredible dimension to buying and that dimension compounds the work of the seller, for developing sales people and accelerating their learning curve has become more important than ever.”

She explains that sales leaders have to be ready to put on their coaching caps to harness the potential and to realize the performance available to their team. “It’s a much, much different space to operate in today than it has been for the last several decades,” she says.

STANDARDIZING THE SALES PROCESS

Ingersoll Rand selected the Pathways to Growth Sales Management System (PTG), which is a series of nine sales management disciplines, authored by Tony Robbins and Walter Rogers. Ingersoll Rand’s Sales Excellence Division, Ingersoll Rand University and Baker Communications collaborated to customize PTG to meet Ingersoll Rand’s specific requirements. The collaboration resulted in a single global sales management standard: IRSMX. This standard serves as the template for each business unit to customize in order to meet its business unit requirements, without altering the integrity of the overall system. In fact, the company took its commitment to the program so seriously and believes so heavily in its effectiveness that it mandated IRSMX be used across the entire company.

As the system was being implemented globally, BCI suggested that Ingersoll Rand consider using Salesforce as the system of record to enable IRSMX. With support from BCI, Ingersoll Rand selected the CRM leader to standardize the ISRMX process and reporting in order to support the global initiative. IRSMX is now further accelerated with the use of Salesforce as it rolls out globally.

The implementation spanned multiple geographical, cultural, and business unit environments, requiring customized content and coaching to address the worldwide business unit and diversity. All together, this project will impact more than 7,000 sellers and managers across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia.

“Such a complex implementation goal requires the design of the learning strategy be creative and impactful for all of our diverse learners,” says Tara Cargle Ashcraft, Strategic Capability Learning Manager installing Sales Excellence. “Our blended approach is both traditional and innovative; it includes assessment, e-learning, face to face classroom learning, experimental field work, and a 12-week virtual coaching cycle to support adoption, reinforce learning, and practice application of content. Our sales teams are supported throughout the launch of the sales management system. It’s not a one and done. The commitment of our leaders to coach through the change is the secret sauce.”

Due to the scale of the project and Ingersoll Rand’s desire to accelerate adoption of IRSMX across various business units, global delivery was accomplished through a joint effort between BCI Master Coaches and BCI-certified Ingersoll Rand business unit Coaches, with both groups leading IRSMX workshops and IRSMX coaching cycles. Ingersoll Rand continues to leverage BCI Master Coaches for IRSMX delivery and on-demand support, including coaching, content changes, and specialized delivery needs. 

THE RESULTS

Ingersoll Rand’s desire to make IRSMX a part of all its business units’ operations has led to faster-than-expected adoption of the methodology and substantial business results, while ensuring a high level of pipeline health, forecast accuracy, and regular one-on-one coaching sessions between sales managers and sales representatives. It also found that the switch to Salesforce has been an incalculable benefit as the company uses it to track, communicate and report on the health of the business.

Through the determination and desire shown by Ingersoll Rand’s Sales Excellence division to make the IRSMX method a part of its core sales management culture, it will succeed in reaching the end goal of rolling out IRSMX to every sales manager.

“Through the areas of strong sales leadership that we have in Ingersoll Rand, we have consistently seen improvement in engagement scores where teams have a focus on strong and improved sales leadership and coaching practices,” says Nelson Tate. Sales professionals describe their time with management and as a team as important to each member’s success.

An unexpected result is that sales leaders have a better work life balance. “[Sales leaders] have seen that they can more proactively, strategically, effectively lead their teams to greater performance by actually putting in less direct hours in a day. Of course, all of this improves retention and we know how costly it is to have poor performers. Those are some of the softer results we’re seeing,” Nelson Tate says.

“On the quantitative side, we definitely are seeing cleaner pipelines, better forecast accuracy, improved win rates,” she says. “We’re getting bigger pipelines, better deals at the table and winning more of those deals, which, of course, drive revenue improvement and then translate to market share gains.”

BY KEREN STANLEY AND CLAIRE JOHNSON

Published in Top Stories

Providence Health & Services recently launched a community of practice — a group of individuals who collaborate to fulfill both individual and group goals — and this group needed an online platform to reach members across several states about instructional design. I learned about Path2X during a workshop several months ago. Path2X incorporates numerous helpful features. I was excited about implementing the enhanced tools and I understood how these tools matched the organic ways in which people learn such as finding, sharing, and discussing articles or asking for help with a particular skill from an experienced peer. The failure was not due to Path2X, it was due to factors that should have been considered when launching any social learning initiative, regardless of the platform used.

LESSON #1: START SMALL AND FOCUS ON USERS’ NEEDS

I made the mistake of explaining how each tool in Path2X worked immediately, rather than focusing on the purpose of the group — instructional design. Many group members became lost in the amount of information about the tools and were quickly turned off to using them.

The lesson I learned was to first focus on the users’ needs. I should have identified their high-priority needs, then I should have identified and used the tools that supported those needs. I later found that they primarily wanted to download templates, learn how to use specific skills, and discuss best practices with particular authoring workflows. These needs all stem from a desire to increase their production capacity on their current and upcoming projects. They did not want to learn about the latest trends nor how to track their progress.

I would have initially focused solely on file sharing, lessons and tutorials and group discussions since they matched the user needs. Hold off on introducing other tools until there is an interest or an organic way to introduce them.

LESSON #2: COMMUNICATE THE BENEFITS IN A WAY THAT USERS WILL UNDERSTAND

When I first started this initiative, I had spent some time configuring the site so it would best support the group’s learning needs. I made examples of how the mentoring would work, aggregating more than 5,000 relevant blog articles, tutorials, templates and discussion threads. In a very real sense, I was completely focused on how the features worked rather than identifying what the benefits were and how they supported the goals of the group. For example, the group said they wanted to have templates to help them author their projects faster to meet their deadlines. The benefit of being able to access and use templates is reduced production time which results in less stress and greater ability to meet due dates. If I could redo the Path2X launch, I would have explained a basic tool by explaining its benefit then shown how it can be used to decrease production time.

LESSON #3: BE CLEAR ABOUT EXPECTATIONS

During the set-up of the online forum, I often thought about the vibrant social learning that could occur including the exchange of timely questions and thought-provoking answers, feedback on projects and developing valuable relationships.

The lesson I learned was how important it is to clarify expectations. I did not explore with key stakeholders and explain to the users what was expected of them, me, and of the whole project. Before implementing social learning, be clear about how often users should participate in online discussions, and the frequency that facilitators will post templates and other resources.

Looking back, instead of thinking about what could occur, I need to be thinking about clarifying what should occur. Avoid this by having discussions early with key stakeholders about expectations of the users, host, and project.

A FINAL WORD TO THE WISE

The Path2X launch was an implementation failure, not a technical one. It doesn’t matter how good whatever social learning platform you use — you’ll be three steps ahead of the game if you learn from my mistakes.

— Johnny Hamilton is Online Instructional Designer at Providence Health & Services. He is a 2016 Learning! Champion for extraordinary contributions to the learning industry.

Published in Ideas

The Silo Organizational Structure: An office where no one communicates, everyone hordes their knowledge and best practices, and where no one works together to enhance the client experience. While some organizations are structured purposefully as silos to enhance competition rather than collaboration, in many organizations, a silo culture can develop unintentionally and gradually, until it becomes an environment where individual teams think and act unilaterally, working against one another, inhibiting a company’s ability to achieve its goals. This lack of collaboration in the silo structure impedes productivity, erodes employee satisfaction, and ultimately causes clients to question whether a company champions a united front.

Eliminating a culture of silos is not an easy undertaking. However, with the right tools, support from the top down, and a strong strategy, silos can be dismantled and a culture of collaboration and learning can take hold. When you break down silos, you enable individual teams to function independently, while working together as one cohesive team.

OVERCOMING SILOS As a global provider of supply-chain services with a footprint of more than 400 stocking locations operating in 90 countries, we at Choice Logistics are expected to meet clients’ time-sensitive service level agreements. It’s essential that we collaborate internally and with vendors and clients to ensure alignment of goals and expectations. We must manage and move parts all over the world and must communicate and collaborate effectively to achieve the required results. We’re relentless in our efforts to help clients achieve success, since they rely on us to act as a partner, part of their team, when servicing their client base. Working cohesively is essential to our success; collaboration is key.

Indeed, two of our core values are collaboration and educating one another. We believe our success is dependent upon the collective knowledge and growth of our employees. We strive to build an environment where employees can reach their highest potential, and work with them to identify and support individual and collective growth. Last year, we recognized that not all departments were working from a common set of goals, nor were they fully informed about the business, clients, and operations. Silos were beginning to take hold and, without a unified focus, our organization was unable to provide the best client experience. While functional departments are necessary to centralize team efforts, we needed a strategy and the right technology to help break down these silos and improve collaboration and learning across the organization.

THE STRATEGY

In 2015, we made a concerted effort to eliminate silos, using a people, process, and technology approach. There were many goals with this program, but the overarching one was to break down silos by restructuring the organization to improve client focus and employee engagement; by evaluating current processes to eliminate inefficiencies and redundancies; and by utilizing Salesforce to support these efforts and to improve visibility and collaboration across the organization.

Strategy 1: People

Organizational Restructuring: We reorganized our teams as a more clientcentric model. Although we continued to be function-focused, by making crossfunctional information more readily available, teams became better equipped to share and collaborate on the best solution for the client. With Salesforce, teams also have more centralized information at their fingertips. The end result has been a better client experience. Constant and Consistent Communication: To support employees during this change, and as an extension to the company’s open door policy, executives hosted dedicated open office hours. These forums provided a safe, individualized environment for employees to share their concerns and provide the executive team the opportunity to remove any obstacles that may be impeding employees’ abilities to perform. We also hosted a variety of focus groups, organized by function, to open up the lines of communication and help employees understand the change, and feel part of the process.

We hosted quarterly town hall meetings to keep employees updated on the state of the company. We used common marketing strategies to gain buy-in, reinforce our message, and keep employees informed. We continue to use this forum as an additional opportunity to reiterate strategies, progress, and future goals.

Strategy 2: Training

Employees, through structured training and organic learning, continue to break down silos by using Chatter, Chatter Groups, and other functional processes within the Salesforce platform. Additionally, we refocused our monthly People, Process, Technology training series to facilitate knowledge sharing around core departmental goals and functions, and how they are aligned in support of the company’s overall goals.

Strategy 3: Process

We chose Salesforce as the tool to support our processes. Though we already had a few licenses for our sales team, we expanded the number of licenses to include all operational and client-facing team members. We began by introducing employees to the account information, so they could gain a deeper knowledge of clients and their business.We then expanded by moving the internal task management system, a custom-built SharePoint tool, into Salesforce to improve user adoption.

The rollout, and continued development of the company’s Salesforce platform, comes with constant communication and training, helping employees understand how to maximize the tool, and constant reinforcement of the importance of collaboration. As employees become more aware of the capabilities within Salesforce and the processes it has already built into the platform, they are providing new ideas to expand its use.

By integrating processes into a unified platform, we were able to reinforce teamwork and support the behavioral change needed to move from a culture of silos to a culture of collaboration and learning. Employees have become more invested in Salesforce, and are embracing this transformation.

Strategy 4: Technology

Choice Logistics began the process of eliminating silos with Salesforce. Though traditionally thought of as a CRM, Choice Logistics envisioned a platform where all departments could operate together on a daily basis, despite their particular focus in the overall process. We continue to customize objects and move operational processes into Salesforce to support our goals. Two examples of growth within the platform are value-added meetings and internal meetings. Value-added meetings are records of meetings with clients or vendors where value is brought to the relationship; issues and opportunities are identified and next steps are planned and actioned. Internal Meetings are where we record functional or cross-functional meetings. Both of these meeting types are distributed to key stakeholders, and are also visible across the organization. This helps to further eliminate silos and pave the way for collaboration. The more employees know about what is happening with our clients, the more they are able to improve the client experience.

RESULTS

The results of our Salesforce implementation are far reaching. Breaking down silos in a service organization not only improves internal operations, communication, and collaboration, it also improves working relationships with clients and vendors, and their overall satisfaction. It has also positively affected employee engagement and employee satisfaction overall. A few key highlights are:

>> Enhanced collaboration

>> A 33-percent improvement to our Net Promoter Score

>> Improved employee satisfaction

>> More timely and complete client deliverables

>> Better access to information

>> Enhanced learning environment

As we continue to build on this collaborative learning culture, more employees are identifying operational processes to integrate into Salesforce. Visibility into what the organization, departments, and individuals are doing is improving collaboration and learning. We’re now in the process of migrating our current learning management system into Salesforce, utilizing Redwing and Appinium, to further centralize our efforts and enhance our ability to provide just-in-time learning to our teams, improve their overall learning experience, and gather real-time data to help make informed decisions and track progress.

“Since we are in the service business, our success is largely dependent upon the strength of our people, and the Salesforce platform has introduced a new world of communication, training, and cross functional collaboration to our workforce,” says Anne Yarmark, EVP Human Resources & Administration, Choice Logistics. “All relevant client data is shared and captured instantly so there is internal visibility on all client initiatives across all functions. Since its inception, Salesforce has given us a customizable tool to enhance the overall client and employee experience because it has helped us to execute at a higher level. The platform has increased our productivity through efficient and effective process management, instantaneous information sharing, and core communication governance. Ultimately, the Salesforce platform has given us innovative and exciting paths to training and for preparing our workforce to be successful.”

Using Salesforce has helped us create a more collaborative approach and boost its already robust learning culture. In this more team-centric environment, employees are sharing not only information, but knowledge and experiences — key components in the company’s core values of collaboration and educating one another. With the right strategy, continued communication, and Salesforce as a tool, employees are now better enabled to function independently within their teams while coming together as a cohesive unit to support corporate goals and provide the best possible client experience.

— Kate Kearney is Director of Organizational Development & Training at Choice Logistics, Inc. Choice Logistics is a six-time Learning! 100 organization.

Published in Top Stories

Xyleme is offering a no-risk opportunity to try Xyleme for organizations currently using an LCMS. Organizations that take advantage of this unique offer will have an opportunity to see how Xy5 can help address the learning content needs of today’s mobile, distributed and multi-generational workforce. Advantages of Xyleme’s platform include:

  •          The ease with which it can generate beautiful outputs for web, mobile and print from a single source of content.
  •          Its cloud delivery, open technologies, and easy integration with LMSs and other applications.
  •          Performance support delivery right inside the learner's workflow while capturing rich learning analytics. Learners and administrators can view demonstrable analytics that validate learning experiences, digital badges, and other credentials.

The program consists of training and guided implementation activities designed to give end users a hands-on experience while allowing them to produce beautiful learning products for any device that can be shared with others in their organization.  In addition, Xyleme experts will work with participants to assess their content migration needs.

—Learn more: http://pages.xyleme.com/modernize-your-lcms-offer?utm_campaign=ModernizeYourLCMSOffer&utm_medium=pr&utm_source=pr

Published in New Products

 

aNewSpring recently introduced an advanced interface in support of blended learning including “The Blended Learning Cookbook,” a set of recipes to create innovative and effective learning journeys. The e-book is meant to provide learning designers how-to insights on creating rich blended learning. The e-book has been well-received by L&D professionals in the Netherlands and internationally with more than 12,000 downloads.

“We see a big movement from traditional to blended learning programs. Among our clients we’ve seen first-hand that the leap to full-fledged e-learning did not result in the desired outcome. By adding online elements to a traditional learning classroom, we’ve recognized that learning technology is not meant to replace classroom instruction but rather to enhance it,” says Brant Seethaler, Commercial Director, aNewSpring.

—Learn more: http://www.anewspring.com/blended-learning-cookbook/

 

Published in New Products

LearnUpon is launching a new Citrix GoToMeeting integration that also allows customers to integrate with GoToWebinar and GoToTraining for free.

The integration enables LearnUpon customers to quickly access GoToMeeting’s online conferencing and training tools within the interface of the learning management system itself. The new integration will make it easier than ever for LearnUpon users to manage a whole range of online meetings and training sessions for successful eLearning.

Citrix GoToMeeting makes online meetings easy with features that include integrated audio, HD video conferencing, and screen sharing. GoToWebinar makes it simple to deliver online video and audio conferences. And GoToTraining enables teams to provide live, interactive instruction to employees, customers and students anywhere and at any time.

LearnUpon customers can use the new integrations to start meetings and webinars instantly from their learning management system. The integrations are complimentary for LearnUpon customers and can be set up in minutes. A GoToMeeting account is required to use the integration.

—Learn more: https://www.learnupon.com/

Published in New Products

 

Evernote, a note taking app with more than 200 million users, is shutting down its own cloud-based architecture and will be moving to Google’s Cloud Platform this October. The transition is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. Evernote will also start to use Google’s machine learning APIs to help access it in different ways. The first two areas that will be replaced by Google’s machine learning APIs are its voice recognition for speech-to-text translations; and natural language processing, used to help search for contextual content.

Recently under Google alumnus Chris O’Neill’s new leadership, Evernote has seen a number of new backers and has altered its revenue structure with more expensive pricing plans. The eight-year-old start up is also scaling back some of its unprofitable operations as it restructures for healthy growth.  

 

Published in Latest News
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