What exactly is extended enterprise training? Extended enterprise training is the concept of delivering training to those groups that you’re involved with beyond the employees within your organization. This could be training for your customers, distributors, suppliers, sales agents, franchisees, or even association members to name but a few. For many organizations, extended enterprise training is in fact their business. As an example, think about online fitness programs where online shoppers purchase programs that include diet plans and instructional exercise training videos.
The key components to offering extended enterprise training are a learning management system (LMS), coupled with online training materials, and in some cases, an ecommerce platform. Together, these components offer organizations the foundation by which they can realize many great benefits, such as increasing organizational efficiency, strengthening business partnerships or providing greater value to customers.
Top Benefits of Extended Enterprise Training
There are several top benefits in support of extended enterprise training that highlight the strategic business value of such programs.
- Increased Revenue: Through ecommerce, organizations can develop training to generate additional income. For example, perhaps you work for a professional association; you can develop and sell training for your membership on relevant industry topics that will help drive your non-dues revenue stream.
- Cost Savings: Delivering training online allows organizations to increase their reach beyond traditional geographic boundaries while reducing overall training delivery costs. Not only this, but if you’re using training to educate your customers, then your customer satisfaction rates will likely increase. This in turn can greatly reduce your customer service and support costs.
- Accelerated Time-To-Market: Whether you’re onboarding new clients, business partners, vendors or franchisees, online training gets your external audience up and running faster. Perhaps, for example, that your organization is getting ready to launch a new product. Offering online training to your extended sales network gets your team proficient and productive in less time and gets your product to market and generating new revenue more quickly.
Building a solid technology foundation is the first step for delivering an extended enterprise initiative, and an LMS is at the center of this foundation. LMSs offer an abundance of features and functionality, but it is the unique requirements of an extended enterprise training initiative that must be met in order for the system to provide a true solution. Here are just a few areas to consider when choosing the system that’s best for your organization:
- Customizable Interface: You’ll want to ensure that your brand is prominent and recognizable when sharing training content outside of your organization. You’ve worked hard to earn your brand recognition, so your LMS should be customizable to reflect an extension of your brand.
- Personalized Training Curriculum: Your learning environment needs to be configurable in such a way that it reflects your extended enterprise. For example, if you’re training a distribution network and end-user clients, their training materials would be very different. Your LMS needs to deliver the appropriate training curriculum to each type of user group within your extended enterprise.
- Content Neutrality: If you’re not authoring content within your LMS, then you’ll want to ensure that your LMS can launch courses and support tests and assessment features from a wide variety of course authoring tools.
Whatever your goal may be; generating additional profit, enhancing membership benefits, or providing customer satisfaction; coupled with the right technology foundation an extended enterprise training strategy is definitely worth considering as an opportunity to provide value that positively impacts your organization.
Susan Distasio | eLearning Industry Crusader | ePath Learning, Inc.
About the Author: Susan Distasio is an eLearning Industry Crusader focused on advocating for advancement and change in the eLearning and professional development industry. An avid seeker of knowledge and continuous improvement, Susan is happy to share her research, observations and thoughts regarding “all things related to learning and development.” When she’s not out on the learning crusade, Susan can be found with the wind in her hair riding her Harley or simply enjoying life with her husband, Steve, and her Siamese cat, Elvis, and with family and friends.