Is Your Learning and Talent Management Technology the Problem?  Interesting question. The answer is…it depends.  Recently I was on a plane from Dallas to Baltimore.  During the flight we ran into some pretty tough weather.  Our pilot had to trust his technology to get us to the ground safely.  Since you are reading this blog we obviously landed safely, and the technology performed as the pilot expected.  But let’s hold on for a second.  It was not just the plane or the technology that allowed us to land safely.  It was the pilot, co-pilot and a series of other individuals who were properly trained with the right processes to ensure our safety.

Was it the technology, processes or people that got us safely to the ground?  It was all three.  And so it goes with Learning and Talent Management Systems (LTMS).  It is not just the technology.  Sometimes the problem is your process and sometimes it is that your people have not been trained properly.  The core idea of people, process and technology working together must be at the forefront of your thought process when running an LTMS.

 

Typically, when we get started with a new client and we look at their existing LTMS, the client’s first impulse is to throw away their system and get a new one.  They want one that works and does what they need it to do.  But are we sure it’s the technology that isn’t working?  How do we know?

Let’s start by evaluating the real business drivers, evaluating your people development needs, and mapping business processes to your existing technology.  If we can do that first, then we might find that tweaking your processes and updating your existing LTMS configurations will save tens of thousands of dollars and prevent the headache of purchasing and implementing a new system.  Before we amputate your broken leg, why don’t we try to fix it first?

What is it that makes us think that throwing it all away would be easier? I am guilty of that myself. Sometimes it just feels easier to start over. The truth is most of the time it is easier to fix what you have than start from scratch.

Occasionally we do have clients where technology is the issue.  A few years ago, we were working with a company that had an LTMS which was 8 years old. The company that built the system was no longer in business and the LTMS had not been updated in 4 years. There was no fixing this system, so the right decision was to rip and replace. Yet we find this is the odd ball, the rare occurrence.

What can you do to determine if you have the right technology?  Follow this simple process to start.

  • List all your organizational business drivers.
  • List all of your training or people development needs.
  • List all of the functional activities you are performing in the system. Keep it high level for now.
  • Stop and review the processes you put in place for your Users. Is this process complicated or simple?
  • List all the things your LTMS cannot do that you want it to do.
  • What is your business case for adding the new functionality from step 5?

Many times, we make the process of working with an LTMS much more complicated than it needs to be.  If you follow the process listed above, then you will have a good set of starting data to evaluate whether your LTMS is a good fit for your business.

Test out what slight changes and modifications might mean to your user experience and to operation of the LTMS.  As system operators we tend to make things too complicated. Look at your current operation processes.

  • What can you simplify? Even if it does not provide the data you think you need.
  • Did the simplification help improve the user experience? If the answer is yes, then move forward with your first modification.
  • Repeat this step with additional process flows and functionality. See what else you can simplify.
  • Finally, measure the gap between your requirements and your newly simplified system. Is there still a significant gap? Does this gap make a successful business case justification for change?  If not, then you are in good shape.

If you still have a significant gap between your requirements and your system capabilities after making modifications, then you have identified that your existing LTMS may not be the right technology for you and it is time to move on.

As always, if you have questions or need a little extra experience with your evaluation give us a call. Let the Bluewater team help get you through the process and into the happy place you want to be.