Business and IT leaders know well that education and training are essential to the success of technology-based solutions. PLM (product lifecyle management) is no exception. If managers and end users don’t learn and adopt new ways of working with PLM solutions, the best software in the world is of little value.
All too often, however, companies short-change investments in programs to ensure adoption of their new solutions.
The justifications for minimizing adoption budgets often sound plausible: Our people can figure it out themselves; the tool is not that complicated; we’ll train a few super users and let them train everyone else.
But the consequences of under-funding can be dramatic. New processes are ignored, paid-for licenses go unused, duplicative work and error rates continue, and promised performance gains fail to materialize.
Adequate budgets are part of the answer. Industry benchmarks suggest that companies dedicating at least 15 percent of overall PLM investments to adoption programs receive far more business benefit than companies that fail to meet that threshold.
Just as important, though, is how you invest.
- Strategic planning: High performers are much more likely than other companies to create a strategic plan for training and adoption as part of their overall program planning for PLM, rather than simply organizing training programs once the new system goes live (63 percent vs. 41 percent).
- Company awareness: High performers are more likely to invest in company-wide communications programs to build awareness of the need for change, the nature of the change, and the value of the new solution (59 percent vs. 45 percent).
- Role-based training: High performers are much more likely to invest in customized training for people and work groups based on their different roles and responsibilities rather than providing one-size-fits-all training on software features and functions (51 percent vs. 31 percent).
- Test environment: High performers are much more likely to create a training or “sandbox” test environment for managers and end users to explore different aspects of the new system before it goes live (51 percent vs. 19 percent).
Relegating “training” to a HR-driven afterthought while program leaders focus on implementation may seem like a reasonable way to manage, but the data show that investing the right way in learning and adoption makes a huge contribution to ultimate business value. As is so often the case with major technology solutions, the fundamentals of change management continue to reign supreme.
The Tech-Clarity/PTC Global Services study will be available later this summer. Contact Rob Leavitt at email@example.com for more information.