Digital transformation (DX) initiatives have been underway for years, long enough that DX-related spending is in the midst of becoming a trillion-dollar industry.
The question more business-to-business (B2B) software organizations need to be asking is: Who is going to make sure we’re maximizing the return of our own DX investments? Digital transformation isn’t just about cool tech — it means generating top- and bottom-line benefits for the business. It’s about ensuring competitiveness and agility amidst continuous disruption. It’s about moving away from silos and black boxes toward visibility and data-driven decisions.
None of this, however, is guaranteed. DX success requires people who can be champions and change agents.
As training professionals, you are those champions.
For starters, the training industry has already undergone its own technology-powered transformation that has unlocked enormous cost savings and other benefits for the B2B software industry at large. We’ve replaced highly analog — and very expensive — in-person training (ILT) with a much more dynamic mix of virtual training and much more interactive and face-to-face interaction. This has all served to drive down travel costs and boost engagement and results with better data and analytics.
But it’s more than just the training industry’s own first-hand experience with digital transformation. Training professionals are the ideal change agents within software organizations, ideally situated at the intersection of people, processes and technology. It’s in your DNA.
Trainers should be positioning themselves as digital transformation leaders in their companies — not merely playing supporting roles. Let’s take a closer look at four ways in which training pros are the ultimate change agents for digital transformation
1. Trainers Are Catalysts For Software-led Change
First and foremost, training leaders have always been change agents. You’ve always been responsible for getting learners and clients adept enough on your products and platforms that they can not only use them but also become advocates for them. That’s a change agent, and the same skills you’ve always applied are now immensely valuable in any software-led transformation.
In any industry, the tools and technologies an organization adopts to drive its digital transformation goals are only as good as the people that will use them. Software isn’t the exception; it’s the rule.
Trainers have a massive impact on the adoption and uptake of the very technologies that DX success depends on. If people don’t effectively learn how to use and optimize new technologies and processes, then the broader organization will fail to attain its DX goals. Put another way: Without trainers, DX is dead on arrival.
2. Trainers Unlock Black Boxes
Training professionals are perfectly positioned to lead another critical facet of digital transformation: increasing visibility by eliminating the “black boxes” that limit visibility and prevent data from flowing freely across functions and stakeholders.
Other than perhaps customer service, no other division has quite the cross-stakeholder influence as training. You communicate across departments and lines of business, customers and industries. Your 360-degree view and relationship-building skills are absolutely vital to removing black boxes and ensuring that organizations have the visibility they need to monitor, manage and optimize their processes in a data-driven manner.
This visibility is the foundation of digital transformation not just in your organization but also in your client stakeholders’ companies as well.
3. Trainers Understand the Bottom-line Value of Automation
Our industry’s own virtual makeover gives training leaders first-hand expertise and understanding of the value of automation and digitalization as a means of achieving cost savings and other business benefits.
The pivot away from entirely in-person — and expensive — training to a mix of virtual training and/or face-to-face training enhanced by the same virtual technologies has driven down software training costs immensely in recent years.
Just as importantly, it has helped make that training more effective, through digital capabilities such as real-time analytics and over-the-shoulder technology that enables users and trainers to more immediately and deeply engage when people struggle to apply what they’re learning.
Training leaders understand that automation isn’t about eliminating the human element but augmenting it — automation enables more interactive, engaged work at a lower cost.
4. Trainers Are Crucial Customer Retention Agents
“Customer experience” used to be a fluff term, but it’s now at the heart of virtually every business and its DX goals. For B2B software companies, customer experience is inextricably linked to customers’ ability to use and optimize your products. Once again, trainers are immensely valuable and influential here.
Poor customer experience leads to low customer retention. It’s far more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Excellent training is the bridge between acquisition and retention.
Trainers are crucial in building that bridge — and continuing to pave the road to future digital success. No other role has such specific insight and influence in how all stakeholders can unlock the value of technology to pursue an organization’s most ambitious goals.
It’s time for training leaders to embrace this role — and ensure their superpowers don’t go unrecognized.