Throughout 2012, a common theme has developed in enterprise training. Not only is training moving to the cloud, but the ideas of on demand and automation have taken on whole new meanings. Enterprises are discovering that a cloud-based, virtual training solution doesn’t just save ample amounts of time, it can even generate revenue.

Cloud-based virtual training has eliminated the need to fly trainers and students on site — a huge expense that trend-setting enterprises are moving away from. Cloud-based solutions allow enterprises to host training environments on their websites and provide their students with instant, on-demand access with a single click. Using APIs, enterprises can automate these classrooms to spin up without any technical assistance needed, giving students an instant lab environment. The right virtual training provider can help enterprises mimic on-site training, allowing companies to cut expenses while maintaining a quality end-user experience.

Automation mixed with a powerful cloud solution can really be a game changer for enterprises and mid-market companies by allowing students to join just minutes before a class starts. This can also be a revenue gain as most training classes are a sunk cost, meaning every extra student added is additional net revenue. In this scenario, choosing the right cloud service provider is key to your success, as you want to make sure their cloud is fast enough to spin up that last-minute student. To accommodate these dynamic workloads you need a cloud solution that is self-service and simplistic, giving you the ability to make changes on the fly. With the right provider, a trainer can spin up an entire class, add/remove students, and give students access to their environment(s) in seconds, all with the click of a button.

When choosing a cloud solution, make sure the product can support some key functionality. Important questions to ask include:

  • Is your product enterprise-class?
  • How fast can you accommodate a last-minute student? And can that process be entirely automated through an API?
  • Do you have a VPN tunnel to connect back to my infrastructure, which will allow me to keep critical data and applications onsite?
  • Do you support a large variety of formats so I can bring new and existing applications over unchanged?

All of these features are important to ensure an instructor can manage classes efficiently, while providing students with enterprise-class training instantly, from any location.

Historically, virtual training has been allocated a rather small budget in comparison to its worth. With the emergence of cloud-based technologies, virtual training has not only been able to eliminate large expenses like travel and administration, but has been used to generate revenue — thus, highlighting the value of training on multiple levels. If your organization is looking to leverage the cloud for virtual training, hopefully this article has given you some additional insight. If you do your homework and ask the right questions, you’ll be well on your way to successfully integrating the cloud.