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Why an Extended Enterprise LMS is Right for Your Business

This week, Managing eLearning features a guest post by Lauren Gray at Web Courseworks

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What is an Extended Enterprise LMS?

learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of electronic educational technology education courses or training programs. Colleges, universities, school districts, and schools use LMSs to deliver online courses and augment on-campus courses. Corporate training departments use LMSs to deliver online training, as well as to automate record-keeping and employee registration.

Extended Enterprise learning is a training system targeted at your non-employees such as external distribution partners, sales representatives, franchises, service technicians, and customers who use your products and services. The goal is to impact measurable behavior change by giving customers and external employees a training program specifically for your products and services that is a separate training platform from your current LMS system for internal employees. The Extended Enterprise LMS has the ability to reach multiple audiences through the same platform, and give them specialized training experience based on their use of the product. It is an excellent opportunity for an extra training course for people who are not your direct employees, but need to be certified to work with your company product. With an Extended Enterprise LMS you have the opportunity to have a specific corporate LMS and another extended LMS for outside employees and customers to become more familiar with your products or services.

An Extended Enterprise is facilitated by a LMS to keep track of all your users, content, and the relationship between the two.

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Why train your Extended Enterprise audiences?

Learning needs to expand its footprint inside and outside the organization, supporting employees, customers and partners at all stages of their relationship with the organization in order to leverage learning to its full advantage to develop employees and improve organizational performance.

Creating an active community of your partners, customers, members or learners is the ultimate goal of extended enterprise learning because each new interaction with learners costs nothing, but has an incremental impact.

Here are five reasons why an Extended Enterprise LMS could benefit your business.

1. Make more money, save more money

The cost to build and support a growing and global network of partners and customers is greatly reduced through extended enterprise training and performance support.

According to a study regarding Extended Enterprise systems by the Aberdeen Group, organizations that focus their learning efforts exclusively inside the company saw a 5% year over year increase in revenue per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) in the last 12 months. But, those that had some sort of learning programs for either customers or partners saw a 40% greater increase in revenue per FTE, at 7% year over year. Those organizations with formal learning programs for both customers and partners saw nearly double the revenue increase, at 9% year over year. Organizations extending learning to both customers and partners saw nearly double the increase in year-over-year revenue per FTE.

2. Ability to track training for all audiences

Unlike internal employee training it is easy to measure the business impact of extended enterprise learning. An extended enterprise learning management system will allow you to report on the training completions of your extended audience groups. Compare trained vs. untrained groups or individuals in any metric you are tracking such as renewals support calls or channel sales performance to determine the measurable impact.

3. Training service technicians and sales reps outside of corporate employees

With proper training for service technicians and external vendors, your products and services can be handled in the correct way and you can be sure your external market can be more educated on how to solve any problems and have the necessary training. Training service technicians will allow them to gain knowledge on company policies and understand the way the product works on a more in depth and certified level.

The idea is that you do not need one LMS to do everything for your company. With an Extended Enterprise LMS you have the opportunity to have a specific corporate LMS and another extended LMS for outside employees and customers to become more familiar with your products or services. Sales training will allow the sales reps and employees to gain more product knowledge and sales skills.

In a study on the success of NCR’s extended enterprise system they explained how the EE-LMS system allowed them to reach their global customer base and train the customers and service providers about the software, hardware, and services needed to run the product. Each different audience for the product; service providers, customers, employees, and sales partners, require different types of learning and training. Hence, an extended enterprise LMS was the solution to cross-company and global customer training. In addition to 25,000 NCR employees, the LMS they created supports approximately 21,000 extended enterprise users. The use of the LMS to reach the extended enterprise has allowed multiple levels of training with self-paced and collaborative learning, orderable materials, personal learning plans, and certification tracks.

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4. Training your customers so they have product and service knowledge

If you train your customers on how to use the software they just purchased, they have a better chance to get a good start, use the product as intended, be successful and renew their subscriptions.

Educating your customers can increase customer satisfaction and decrease the cost of customer support. They will be trained on the product and become more familiar with how it works.

5. Mobile LMS platforms are becoming a smart way to engage internal and external employees

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External users are not sitting at their desktop at work. They are not necessarily your company employees. They have their own jobs and are voluntarily taking your training at night, weekends, on the train, plane or anywhere they can squeeze in. Most extended enterprise content will be consumed via mobile devices.

The Aberdeen Research study on mobile learning found companies that have leveraged mobile technology to support their learning strategy are 58% more likely to achieve best in class results. While it is unlikely that mobile devices will be the right medium for all learning, their reach into the employee base makes them a strong candidate for ongoing learning touches on a less formal basis.

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Conclusion

Organizations are rapidly embracing the concept of training and certifying their audiences because done well, it becomes a significant competitive differentiator.

Extended Enterprise learning systems can be a helpful addition to your company’s current LMS by supporting external employees and customers to become more educated on products and services. Extended Enterprise LMS can help your company make money, save money, and accelerate your pace of business.

Reference Links

http://www.cedma-europe.org/newsletter%20articles/misc/Key%20Technologies%20Enable%20Extended%20Enterprise%20Learning%20Success%20(Nov%2010).pdf

http://www.cedma-europe.org/newsletter%20articles/Brandon%20Hall/Training%20the%20Extended%20Enterprise%20(Jun%2006).pdf

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