Enterprises are increasingly operating in a dynamically changing and fluid environment. They are constantly changing gears just to keep pace. CXOs are constantly looking for ways to overcome or create disruptions in a world becoming increasingly complex. Infosys Consulting Blog gathers a community of subject matter experts who are driving pragmatic conversations around that which is changing and that which needs to be rethought, redefined and redesigned for enterprises to achieve market-leading performance roadmaps.

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May 27, 2015

Move over "seat time" - Competency based training duration is here

Well, the above statement got me thinking, is the learner really in control? Does he/she have any say on the seat time that a particular course or module has? Technically speaking, yes - as the learner traverses the course, the speed at which he/she "completes" a module would depend on the pace he/she can click the "next" button to come to the last screen. This may occur quickly without much thought, or some learners might take a longer time to reflect on a topic, pondering on the key points before proceeding to the next screen. The former would not even qualify as a learning experience while the latter might tie up almost twice the time prescribed. What then should be the actual seat time of this course?

A couple of weeks ago, I overheard two people talking about a training module that was mandatory in their unit and how to make sure it was "completed". I certainly was interested and kept my ear out for the details.

The discussion went something like this:

Mark: Hey... did you finish those mandatory e-learning modules that we have to do to improve the way we manage our time?

Bill: Yes I did, it was a walk in the park for me!

Mark: Really? How did you manage to go through the 120 pages and complete the quiz at the end - all in just an hour?

Bill: It's very simple, just click on the 'Next' button till you complete about 90 or 100 pages, it doesn't matter if you read anything on any of the screens. That will mark your course as attended in the system.

Mark: Oh yeah? What about the quiz? The results are automatically sent to my manager!

Bill: Relax, I have that covered too... I will give you a cheat sheet with all the answers, just spit them out in the quiz. And hey presto... you will have completed the course quickly and the quiz with above minimum passing score.

 

The conversation really hit me hard. I began thinking, what can be the motivator for Bill to take this training seriously? Not the subject surely, which was supposed to help him better manage time. Maybe it was the threat of a minimum passing score that 'inspired' him to find this so called wonder solution.

After pondering on this a bit more, I have come to an opinion that the seat time (XX hours) could be the key reason. In the above situation, if the course is offered in a tailored manner to each person, would the situation have been different?

The answer is probably not very cut and dry; it would involve having a detailed study of the learner's competency in the topic and then administering only those areas which the learner needs more help on. It is definitely not the immediate answer, but I feel it is surely the beginning of a different way of thinking how training should be offered in a corporate or educational environment.

As training developers, let us rely on the SMEs and training development experts to tell us what the seat time of a course or a module should be.

AND...

As learners, we should speed up the module in topics or areas which we already understand or have knowledge of and spend more time of new and complex topics in the module/course.

To conclude, ideally, the seat time can be used as a guideline and the learners should control the speed with which they go through the module depending on their knowledge and comfort in the particular topic being covered. However, since no two learners can learn at the same pace, collaboration and knowledge sharing is recommended but that's the topic of some other blog at some other time.

May 19, 2015

4 key reason why you need Enterprise Change in your Information Management solution

So, you've implemented your ERP and your company is successfully processing data and collecting information.  What's generally left out are the required people and organizational transformations needed to maximize the use of data, web reporting and social media analytics.   Organizational Transformation experts can help!

If you're considering adding an Information Management system to drive business decision making and ROI through analysis of ERP data, think again.  The system, in and of itself, won't change engrained organizational behaviors to capture the value through using data for effective business decision making.  In creating the business case for an ERP implementation, often the focus is on the technology ROIs - replacing out-of-date software, implementing new mobile tools, and, perhaps, restructuring how work is performed instead of defining how the data will drive business decision making. 

In partnership with business case value experts, Organizational Transformation can build business proof cases, where value is delivered in short sprints.  Focusing on delivering metrics up-front helps operationalize the business case, making it real and relevant to employees, while supporting business adoption.  Business proof cases explain how the use of Information Management will not only drive business value but also streamline business processes.  If implemented correctly, effectively and thoughtfully, the newly defined business processes move from handling transactions and towards business decision-making that drives value and generates ROI.

Strong organizational transformational specialists who also have an industry focus and business understanding, are essential to influence adoption of content management. 

·         Communications and Training - Transformationalists design communication and training programs that describe how the change will impact affected employees and help them understand and internalize the business case and benefits.  These communication and training programs help employees understand, in practical real world terms, how to use Information Management in their day-to-day jobs to work more efficiently and make better and quicker decisions. 

·         Resistance management - resistance comes from people who avoid using the Information Management tools based on root causes as varied and diverse as the people using the tools.  Examples faced in prior projects include

o   distrust of the Information Management system,

o   connectivity issues to the central server behind the firewall,

o   comfort with current way of managing files and information and a

o   simple resistance to any change. 

Transformationalists design effective resistance management programs that honestly address the realistic pitfalls of moving to an Information Management system and create explicit strategies to either overcome or remove obstacles. 

·         Change Impacts - Organizational Transformation experts are uniquely situated to drive adoption with thorough understanding and documentation of the change impacts, potential risks and barriers.  While this work is detailed and laborious, it's an important step in defining business impacts and making the transformation 'real' to the affected employees.  Documentation of change impacts informs communication, training, resistance management and line-manager coaching plans. 

·         Coaching Line Managers - as Organizational Transformationalists are intimately aware of current and future business processes, they are uniquely positioned to build effective coaching plans for line management.  Impacted employees best understand messages about organizational change and adoption from the people they work closest with - generally their line manager or immediate supervisor.  In prior Information Management implementations with clients in both the Oil / Gas and Retail industries, we discovered that affected employees ignored program level messages until the program taught line managers to communicate concisely and in business language with their direct reports.  The resulting acceptance of the program dramatically increased with post-program feedback stating the resistance management program "strategically helped decentralise support from outside the core team".

Any change that neglects to inform line manager about the impact of the change, not only to the supervisor as an employee but also to their team, is doomed to fail.  A better approach is to create a methodological approach to adoption that begins with executives and cascades to line managers and then to individual employees.

With a client in the telecommunications industry, the program chose to implement Information Management tools without explanation of the impacts to affected employees nor outlining the "what's-in-it-for-me" business case.  As a result, the client faced a tremendous amount of churn and turnover, caused simply by a lack of understanding the magnitude of the change and articulating the business benefits.  Organizational Transformationalists helped drive adoption through stakeholder engagement, communications programs, manager coaching messages and resistance management planning.  Transformationalists drove business results by articulating the Information Management tool "what's-in-it-for-me" as well as improving understanding of the consequences of not changing and awareness of business value drivers.

A better approach is to engage Organizational Transformation to drive adoption of Information Management through consistent analysis of change impact, engagement, communication, training, resistance management and a robust line manager coaching program.  The resulting business benefits lead to improved use of business analytics, reporting, business decision support, ultimately delivering increased value and bottom line ROI.