End-user training is one of the keys to the successful implementation of any software. Given the importance, we wanted to provide an overview of the process.

At Serviceaide, we sell easy-to-use, easy-to-customize software for both ITSM and enterprise service management solutions. Regardless of whether you are an IT analyst or other service professional, software that is difficult to customize does not mean it is a better solution. And “easy to use” does not mean that training is not required. That applies to both the technical team as well as the end users. In this blog, we will focus on the IT analyst perspective in approaching a new software implementation and delivering on the business value for employees.

Most ITSM implementations are linked to clear business objectives. Streamline internal processes. Improve efficiency and productivity. Reduce complexity. Automate routine tasks. In order to achieve these goals, engaging and training your workforce is critical. Think about the impact of a software change or new implementation on the rest of the enterprise. Training needs to be an important part of your implementation plan.

The planning for that training should begin long before the first build is ready for testing. Change management software is an important resource. Be sure to plan your end-user experience training strategy before you roll out your software implementation. A few simple steps include:

1. Establish training goals

What is your desired goal with the implementation of the new software? Are you clear on the impact on the organization? An important initial objective is to minimize any loss of productivity associated with the new implementation or transition. Supporting any initial questions, need for information and additional training is key. You need to get users to the skill level required to do their jobs as quickly and accurately as they were doing with the old software at a minimum.

2. Assess end-user needs

To create a training program, you must evaluate the technical skill level(s) of those who will actually use the software. Is there a gap that needs to be addressed between the old software in use and the new software/release? This is a critical step particularly if adding on, integrating, or moving away from legacy systems.

3. Determine your training delivery methods

There are many ways to deliver training for end-users. Often a variety of methods is most effective as people differ in their learning styles. Traditional training includes:

Technology-based options include:

4. Create a training program

One size fits all is often not the best approach. End-user training is more effective and memorable if you tailor it to your own organization’s use of the software and specific business objectives. Provide examples that illustrate the difference between the old way of doing things and the new way. Provide examples of commonly asked requests. Illustrate the new way of doing things or finding information and resources.

It is also critical that you engage your broader employees in the definition of what success looks like for the organization or enterprise. You want them to feel ownership and contribute to the business goals, not see the new implementation as merely an exercise of frustration. Employees need to own the outcome and be rewarded in some way for contributing to the success of the program. Hitting employee adoption or usage goals should be celebrated.

5. Scale your training program

A scalable training program should be flexible enough to accommodate both small numbers of users (for example, when new employees join the company and need to be trained on the software) and large numbers (as is necessary in an organization-wide rollout of a new product). Your choice of training delivery (point #3) is an important consideration as you think about how to scale.

Train for success

As Peter Drucker once said: “Every enterprise is a learning and teaching institution. Training and development must be built into it on all levels.” Training is often the step that will determine whether an IT implementation team was successful. It helps reduce failure risk, decrease costs, and increase project effectiveness.