How Axeda Flipped their Extended Enterprise Learning Model to reach the extended organization, reduce cost, serve their customers at speed, and integrate with salesforce.com.
Axeda is at the heart of a new industry, the ‘internet of things’. The company provides solutions to help manage connected products and machines.
As highlighted in the latest HBR review the internet of things is rapidly disrupting markets, changing the very nature of products and their functionality.
- The machines that manufacturers product are becoming intelligent, not only smart but connected. These connections may be via Bluetooth, Wifi or satellite communications. The combination of intelligent machines and connectivity gives rise to innovative functionality, for example:
- diagnostics can be run on machines remotely and they can be serviced remotely. For example, companies can do firmware and software updates remotely.
- data from machines can be collected and integrated with other systems such as SAP or Salesforce. This data can help engineers to design improved products.
- smart connected devices can also give users more control, for example you can control the thermostat in your house remotely via a smartphone.
- Extended reach: Axeda operates in an innovative new world and needs to train internal staff, partners and customers. Tom Stammberger, Director of Education Services, says this creates a particular challenge around audience and content segregation. Many Learning Management Systems are designed only with internal learning audiences in mind. That was not going to be enough for Axeda. It needed a solution that could simultaneously deliver a solution to three distinct audiences: internal staff, partners and customers. And each needed a slightly different experience
- Rapid response: The nature of Axeda’s products and SaaS based services means that development cycles are short and hence learning needs to be developed quickly to keep in sync with product releases. Customers also require training quickly once they purchase new products and Axeda had to meet these demands for fast delivery and ramp up of training.
- Plug and play: Axeda charges for training and it needed a solution that integrated the learning platform with their sales processes and CRM platform Salesforce.com.
The Totara LMS Solution
A Cost-effective, corporate Solution that extends beyond the enterprise
Tom had previously worked and implemented proprietary and open source solutions. Proprietary systems were very expensive, often costing over hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Tom has also deployed Moodle, the open source learning platform, which was low cost but quite restrictive. Moodle was designed to meet the needs of educational institutions rather than the needs of corporate organisations. One option was to undertake a detailed customisation of Moodle but this would increase costs and provide risks as Moodle developed. What Axeda really wanted was a corporate layer for Moodle with a company and community that would keep the layer updated as Moodle developed.
Totara provided an ideal solution for us, as it was designed to meet the needs of corporates but was significantly lower cost than proprietary solutions. It was based on Moodle but with enhanced features for the enterprise, had an established company standing over it, and was already in use by over 3 million users with an active community.
– Tom Stammberger, Director of Education Services, Axeda
Effective Audience segmentation
Totara provided Axeda with the ability to segment audiences effectively. They were able to create distinct audiences across and within their learner groups, namely internal staff, partners and customers. Learners only need access to products they have, their Salesforce integration (see below) and the Totara audience rules means that each learner gets exactly the learning they require relevant to their products. It knows exactly what courses to make visible and what courses to enroll them in.
Structured learning and assessment with Program Management
Axeda needs to build structured learning programs with assessment as learners progress.. Totara provided them with powerful program management functionality so that they could create structured learning with assessments to manage and track progress. Totara also had an integrated assessment engine that supported testing and certificate creation
Seamless enrolment through Salesforce Integration
A critical requirement for Axeda was the ability to integrate with Salesforce. In their Salesforce they track proposals submitted to clients for products and training. If a client accepts a proposal, someone with the relevant authority can enrol the client’s learners directly in Totara courses from Salesforce. The person doesn’t see Totara, they can do all the enrolment seamlessly from Salesforce.
The Salesforce integration was provided by Envisiontel and used their Enlighten CRM plugin. This also allows Axeda to leverage reporting so that a learner’s progress can be seen in Salesforce. This enables the technical support team to see a client’s training record when asking questions. They can pull up a learning record, see what training they have completed, and recommend additional training as required.
Speed of set up with a great partner
Because it’s about configuration not total customisation, Totara was very fast to set up and implement. Axeda and Envisiontel implemented the tailored system so they were up and running within 3 months from the date the contract was signed.
Flipped model to maximise uptake
A challenge with SaaS operations is the speed of learning delivery. Customers can buy a product and expect to start using it very quickly.
To meet this need for speed, Axeda use a unique Flipped Classroom delivery model. Clients have the option of three days of a trainer on site for example but this needs to be scheduled and fit with the client’s diaries. So Axeda offer a two-week online alternative. This provides videos of the lectures from the classroom course. The learner goes through videos, can do hands on exercises, and ask questions with a guaranteed response within 24 hours. There are also Webex sessions at beginning, middle and end of the two weeks and Q&A sessions.
This flipped classroom model has doubled enrolments on new system. Most new customers chose the online 2-week delivery rather than 3 days with a tutor. It is also cost effective for Axeda as they can hold 5 Q&A sessions at same time with one instructor managing the discussions and questions.
- Cost-effective – lower cost than proprietary
- Fast delivery – live within 3 months of contract signing
- Flipped blended delivery – structured programs that combine a blend of delivery options
- Seamless experience – Salesforce integration, audience management, program management
- Audience segmentation – able to deliver different programs for internal staff, partners and customers.