Most organizations struggle today with effective adoption of their enterprise technology solutions. The challenge might be a global workforce with inconsistent skills and knowledge, variations of business processes across commercial units, or lack of a transformation vision across the organization – or it might be all of these and more. Whatever the case, failure to effectively adopt enterprise technology like SAP, Oracle and Infor is an expensive and sometimes catastrophic reality.

What happens when the companies that are famous for helping other companies adopt technology go through their own enterprise implementation? Sometimes, they end up in a situation like the allegorical shoemaker who doesn’t make shoes for his own children. Let’s look at how one “shoemaker” (GP Strategies) is making “shoes” (implementing a new technology solution) for its “children” (our employees).

A new enterprise solution will impact every employee around the globe with new timekeeping and expense reporting functionality. In addition, 1,000 employees will be working in project management, a critical business process. Because we are a global company that has gone through many acquisitions, most of these employees have been taking regional and business unit-specific approaches to their work. The new global project management approach will involve significant changes for many of these learners.

What will our children’s shoes look like? For our global time and expense audience, we will be creating just-in-time microlearning videos and rolling them out just before the go-live date. In addition, we will support employees with in-app performance support content. The aim of this kind of embedded help is to modernize the user experience and guide employees through job tasks in the production system. (Some of us call this content “bubble help.”) Remember that just walking learners through the steps doesn’t necessarily build the ideational scaffolding they need in order to know when to do tasks or make decisions related to application of policies and procedures. That knowledge requires content that’s built into your help system or provided separately, like microlearning videos.

On the project management side, we will be implementing an innovative learning portal that will provide guided access to a suite of microlearning videos, short e-learning courses and performance support content. Self-paced, role-based learning journeys will guide learning cohorts organized by business unit and region through this content. The journeys will include missions and other game elements to engage learners and spur global competition. Short weekly meetings will allow cohort leaders to provide business unit-specific context to the learning and surface change management issues.

In designing our children’s shoes, we’ve incorporated three fundamental guidelines that have proven to be effective in our work with clients:

  • Aim for shorter, effective training events by focusing on critical, complex tasks. Narrow the focus even more by making sure learning content is targeted on job outcomes that contribute to company goals.
  • Make learning work on the job. Recognize that most learning takes place on the job. The more learning can be integrated into real work, the more effective it will be. Go beyond embedded help, and incorporate just-in-time learning enabled by technology.
  • Ensure your solution can continuously improve over time. In a world of cloud technology and continuous business improvement, today’s learning solution can become outdated in a manner of weeks or months. Make sure your end user solutions are easily maintainable, and take advantage of new innovations like user performance monitoring and SME and crowd-sourced authoring. Remember that these innovations are only the beginning. Soon, we’ll be challenged to update our solutions to address the transition to machine completion of routine job tasks and the corresponding evolution of human jobs to focus on more strategic work.

As you consider what your organization’s technology adoption solution will look like, keep in mind these three guidelines. Your children’s shoes may look a bit different, but hopefully this shoemaker’s advice will help drive success for your organization.