Training is often the most overlooked part of solution implementation and, unfortunately, it is one of the most critical success factors. Functional Requirements documentation Configuration, and Data migration are all obviously non-negotiable parts of a solution implementation. You simply can’t get a new system up and running without them. For some reason people tend to look at training as a disposable or a necessary evil. Training is often the first thing to get slashed from an implementation when there are budget issues.
Training is Key to User Adoption
If users are not properly trained on a new system prior to going live, chances are they will never fully adopt the solution. We see this all the time with Dynamics GP customers that come to us looking for new solutions. They are unaware of the functionality that lies within GP so they simply think the product doesn’t cover it. It comes back not as a Dynamics GP issue, but as a Dynamics GP training issue. Users who aren’t properly on-boarded to a solution will eventually grow frustrated and resentful and never be efficient. There are a few ways to avoid this:
Do NOT cut the training budget.
I understand that it can be tempting when you are trying to slash costs during an implementation. However, cutting training is setting yourself up for disaster in the long run.
Identify different types of training for your users.
Not everyone learns the same way. It is important to talk to your end-users and identify the ways they learn best. Some people may benefit from self-paced, online training where others may need in-person, small group training to really learn the solution. There is no correct way to learn and it is important to make sure no one is left out in the cold.
Set key metrics to make sure training is effective.
Oftentimes users walk away from training and by the time they need to use the skills they learned they have forgotten them. After training sessions are completed, have a series of exercises users can go through on their own to make sure they retained the information.
Training should not be viewed as a “one and done” occurrence. It is important for end-users to constantly learn about additional features, updates, and get refreshers. Ideally, users should partake in training quarterly. This is much easier said then done as everyone has a full-time job and other responsibilities. Sometimes it just isn’t feasible to take a few days every quarter to dedicate to education.
Here are some things you can do to make sure your users aren’t falling behind.
Stay up to date with Microsoft and Partner webinars.
Microsoft and its partners are always holding webinars to inform users on updates, new functionality, and third party products. KTL holds one-hour webinars so users can learn about a new solution or existing functionality in Dynamics GP and other Microsoft solutions.
Join a local User Group.
Microsoft is extremely unique in that it has a large and passionate User Group following. The Dynamics GP User Group (GPUG) has local chapters all over the country that meet to discuss system functionality, issues, and do continuing education. There is an online forum where users can ask questions and other users and partners can answer. This is free advice and training at your fingertips. GPUG also has hundred of on-demand and live webinars all geared at Dynamics GP training needs.
Attend a conference!
The Microsoft community loves to hold conferences. There are tons of them throughout the year geared towards any type of user from developer, system admin, Dynamics end-user, to business leaders. There are so many conferences out there to choose from that chances are you will find one that peaks your interest. If you find it hard to do on-going training though-out the year, a week-long conference is a great way to pack it all in. Getting out of the office lets you focus on the training in front of you, you can network with other users, and you can check out other solutions on the expo-floor.
There is a ton of online training out there for Microsoft products. Some of this is free from Microsoft and a lot of it is led by Learning Partners or Microsoft Partners. Depending on your skill set doing an online ”bootcamp”-style training can be extremely beneficial. If you are a newer user, you would largely benefit from in-person Partner-Led Training.
Training by a certified Microsoft partner is so incredibly valuable for a new user. Often times when we do training for a newer user, they have already been on the job for a few months and received some informal training from coworkers or on the internet. This is fine, but often we find that these people haven’t been properly trained and are doing things “backwards”. The reason for this is, while your coworkers have the best intentions, they may also be self-taught and not necessarily doing things the correct way, just the way they have found gets the job done. If you want employee on-boarding to be successful, get them with your Microsoft partner from the start and get them trained correctly! If an employee feels that they have received the proper training from the get go, they will ultimately be a happier and more efficient employee.
Another tip on partner-led training is to do this at your partner’s office or another location. Anyone who has tried to watch a webinar at their desk can attest to the fact that distractions are everywhere. Your email is going off, people are coming by your desk, you hear other conversations going on… it’s not the ideal learning environment.
At KTL, we often have customers come to our office and sit in our conference room to do Dynamics GP and other training. Customers who do this always say it is the best training they have received, because they can absorb the information. If your partner can’t accommodate something like this, ask them to look into booking a local Microsoft center. Microsoft has centers all over the country and partners can use them to host customer meetings and training. This is another great option and also a really cool experience. If you haven’t been to one, I highly suggest checking out one of these centers.
If you are in the midst of an implementation, have been using your Dynamics system for year, a new user, or *think* you are a seasoned pro… training is always essential. Make a training plan and ensure you are using your system to its full potential.
If you’re looking for a Microsoft partner to train your employees or yourself, get in touch with KTL Solutions. We can help your employees use Dynamics GP to its full potential and save your business time and hassle. Contact us today to get your employees on the right track.