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How to Create a Compelling Business Case for Your LMS

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How to create a compelling

business case for your

LMS

(and get a fast ROI)

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 1


About the Author

Brian Clark

Founder & CEO. WorkPlan Pty Ltd

@abrianclark

https://www.linkedin.com/in/abrianclark-lms/

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 2


Contents

5 Ways to Get Your e-Learning Strategy Off the Ground .......................................... 5

1. Identify and clarify the key results that the successful execution of your

strategy will bring to the organisation ......................................................... 6

2. Begin your lobbying efforts early ................................................................. 9

3. Itemise your resource requirements clearly .............................................. 11

4. Write a compelling business case .............................................................. 13

5. Choose your project team carefully ........................................................... 16

8 Steps to Create a Compelling Business Case for the LMS ..................................... 18

Introduction .................................................................................................. 19

1. Diagnostic Process ..................................................................................... 21

2. Identify Training and Development Needs ................................................ 26

3. Interview Internal and External Stakeholders ............................................ 27

4. Map Out Existing and New Processes ........................................................ 30

5. Measure Financial Impact .......................................................................... 32

6. Build Your Executive Support Team ........................................................... 34

7. Develop the Case ....................................................................................... 36

8. Project Manage the Entire Process ............................................................ 38

9 Ways The LMS Will Improve Your Organisation’s Performance ........................ 39

1. Growth-Sustainability - Resilience ............................................................. 40

2. Simplify Access to Key Information ............................................................ 42

3. Remove/ Reduce your compliance risks .................................................... 44

4. Enhance your tactical and strategic decision making ................................. 45

5. Plan successions easily .............................................................................. 46

6. Retain your organisation’s knowledge assets ............................................ 47

7. Capture and share best practices .............................................................. 48

8. Distribute information and training to your prospects and customers ...... 49

9. Retain and develop high performance employees ..................................... 50

Knowledge, Innovation and Resilience Arrives for Work Every Day...................... 51

Why is this important? ................................................................................... 52

How do you retain knowledg ......................................................................... 53

What Next? .................................................................................................... 55

What does e-learning have to do with knowledge capture? .......................... 55

About WorkPlan Pty Ltd .................................................................................................... 59

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 3


I am passing on information and ideas that has been collected

over many years as a developer of learning management

systems.

My company has created learning management systems from the

ground up as well as working on implementation projects with

systems developed by other companies.

I have tried to distil some common principles and steps that you

might consider if you are seeking to implement an LMS in your

organisation, either as a new addition to your technology suite or

to replace a system you have already.

You will learn how to develop a business case, create a strategy

and leverage your LMS for maximum business impact in critical

areas such as engagement, productivity, culture and knowledge

retention.

As always, I am very happy for you to contact me to discuss

topics in this e-book, assist with your work or explore e-learning

and technology more generally.

Brian Clark

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 4


5 Ways

to get your

e-Learning Strategy

off the Ground

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 5


Identify and clarify the key results that the successful execution of

your strategy will bring to the organisation.

This is the fun part of the process, however in my experience

most people do not think broadly enough when considering

the results they can achieve with a successful strategy.

Keep in mind the key results also have horizons attached to

them; the results you deliver in six months will be different

than those you will achieve in twelve months. One proviso is

that the evolution of your e-learning strategy continues and is

not curtailed once the obvious results have been achieved.

There are a number of ways to get started. You can begin by

starting to document key performance, cultural, learning,

engagement and other relevant indicators in your organisation

now and how these will change as a result of your strategy.

For example, you may currently take 2 weeks to properly

induct new hires for a particular level in the organisation. Your

strategy objective is to reduce this to 5 days. You may have a

performance review completion rate of only 71% currently,

however your strategic goal is to bump that up to over 90% in

6 months. You can use a spreadsheet to begin to capture your

before and after in a matrix format.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 6


In a team environment, I have found mind-mapping tools

to be very useful. I like to have the map on a screen and

people adding ideas in a real open brainstorming

environment.

The mind map provides a perfect visual of the ideas and

these can be illustrated with relationships to other ideas

using arrows and lines etc. Colours and images add to the

impact and retention of the information captured. The

mind-map can be saved in a number of formats and

shared for further work.

I like to print out completed maps, display them and

distribute them for people to view as the strategy is

developed and beyond as it is being executed.

Having strong visual cues and reminders helps prevent

dilution of focus on the strategy.

This critical step is a combination of tangible results

combined with vision. You need to have a clear vision for

your e-learning strategy and share this vision with others.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 7


No matter how compelling the vision, it must be

communicated incessantly to key decision makers and

stakeholders throughout the organisation.

I recommend you spend time creating a ‘story’ to convey

your vision as well as metrics that help support it.

In my experience the vision has too often been restricted out

of fear of rejection or risk of failure.

You and your team need to be realistic but bold. Other

people need to get excited by what your vision entails for the

future of your organisation.

For example, it may be hard for people to get super excited

about an improvement in compliance reporting.

They may get very excited at the prospect of being able to

create personal development plans, publish their own

content and access learning in interesting topics. Avoid

restricting your vision too much.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 8


Begin your lobbying efforts early.

There is no reason to be a loner in the quest to get your e-

learning strategy launched. I recommend having a close

analysis of the support network you need to get approval

for your strategy.

There are a few key things to remember about this stage:

• For a successful roll-out you will need a representative

base of champions across your organisation.

You want to have people involved in every key business

unit and functional area. The purpose of this is to

ensure you are thinking as broadly as possible about the

positive impact your strategy is going to deliver.

• Influencers are not always persons in the most obvious

leadership positions. It is important not to confuse a

person’s title with their influence.

There are thought leaders, subject matter experts and

influencers at all levels of the organisation.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 9


• Remember that people will want to know “what's in

it for me?” Have your answer to this question ready

when you begin speaking to people. For example,

people in finance may be interested in better

reporting for training expenditure.

The sales manager will respond to her ability to

deliver more sales and product training for less cost.

The operations and production managers will see a

consolidated compliance solution with one point of

truth that includes an audit trail.

The main thing is to do your homework and identify the

current pain points in your organisation and map these

to your e-learning strategy.

This process will give you a nice set of elevator pitches

and will make your communications with colleagues

more effective.

When it comes time to write your business case the

work you have done to understand the stakeholder

needs in your organisation will be valuable.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 10


Itemise your resource requirements clearly.

It is one thing to request financial, human and infrastructure

resources for your e-learning project, it is an entirely

different experience to be compelled to ask for more

resources once your project is underway.

Once the technology and the project has been rolled out

there is still a need for administration and oversight. It is

easier to get approval for a project that includes a

realistic forecast of resource requirements than it is to ask

for more resources when a project is stalled.

For example, depending upon the size of the company

you may need full time administration or a percentage of

one person's job role to administer the LMS and other

technology included in your strategy.

This is not always an easy thing to predict and I suggest

you ask among your network of learning and

development professionals.

If you are new or do not have an established network

there are groups that have great resources.

www.aitd.com.au

www.td.org

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 11


If you are not currently using social networking platforms this

is a good time to get started. My personal favorite is LinkedIn.

I have been amazed at how willing people are to assist others

who share a professional interest.

You will find plenty of learning and development

professionals who have experience in diverse e-learning

projects and are willing to share their experiences and

knowledge.

I have asked questions of the user community in LinkedIn and

the results have been astounding both in the quality of

replies and the interesting people I have met and added to

my network.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 12


Write a compelling business case.

If you do an internet search you will find plenty of business

case templates that you can use. Depending upon your

organisation you may already have precedents you can use

to provide a structure for your business case.

I suggest you ask a few people in your organisation who

may have already written a business case or people who

have reviewed business cases on behalf of the

organisation.

In some organisations there is a strong culture of

conforming to document standards and in others there is

no formal consideration of how a business case is

presented.

You may use the process of finding information about

business cases as a means of exploring possible supporters

for your e-learning strategy project. When researching and

writing your business case never forget the target

audience.

It is often a good idea to write down a demographic and

psychographic outline of the target audience to ensure

your work remains aligned to their needs and

expectations.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 13


I recommend creating a short, (2 to 3 page) document

that provides a good outline for stakeholder review. This

is often a good `thermostat' to test the decision-making

environment for your project.

You can proceed to your `in depth' document if you are

getting positive feedback from your overview and you are

convinced that your research has been thorough enough

to proceed.

The full business case will be a cost - benefit document. You

need to write clearly and for the target audience who may

not understand ‘jargon' and acronyms.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 14


Include the following:

• Strategies for managing risks (change and market risks)

• Scenarios - you may include three but you will overly

complicate your document if you add many more.

• ROI analysis using as many parameters as possible that

make sense. Do not forget some of the `soft' results

along with the hard numbers. You have created a

‘before’ and ‘after’ matrix to make it easier to link

results to business issues.

• Identify the value the project will return. Scan for wide

ranging identified value returns from your project. Your

senior leadership are always concerned with productivity

and talent retention.

Link these outcomes to your competitive operating

environment, succession planning, and financial results.

You do not need a list of blockbusters; for example, if the

onboarding process is reduced from 10 to 5 days that has

a direct impact on cost of hires and productivity.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 15


Choose your project team carefully.

Your project team includes people in your organisation,

technology vendor(s), technology support providers and of

course the obvious ones in the organisational area undertaking

the e-learning project.

In my experience there are those that are energised and

motivated by a new project but lack the focus to execute the

whole project to completion.

There are others who dig in and thrive on execution and the

sense of victory when the project is completed and outcomes

are realised. Both of these types are very useful but ensure

you have not over loaded your team with the energetic

starters.

I recommend profiling individuals in project teams as well as a

team profile to empower everyone to understand how they can

be more effective as a team. I use an exceptional tool called

Extended Disc.

Once I have profiled possible project team members I debrief

each person and assist in the induction of each member to the

project team.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 16


With a team profile, I am also able to design communication and

collaboration systems and processes that suit the team. I am able

to forecast interpersonal relationship issues and take preventive

steps to ensure the team operates well.

The allocation of tasks and milestones is also facilitated by

understanding the team’s behavioral profile to ensure maximum

productivity.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 17


8 Steps

to create a compelling

business case

for an LMS

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 18


Introduction

You may know it and your team may know it but you cannot

take it for granted that other members of your organisation

understand the benefits from an LMS.

As you develop your business case you must remain aware

that there are a number of facets to it that will collectively

determine the success of your case.

These facets include marketing, financial and operational.

You will need to market your business plan to influencers and

decision makers in your organisation.

Do not get complacent that your business case will rest on its

own laurels; it will not. You need to think carefully about your

communications and information that supports your case.

Although financial facets of your business case may not be

a comfort zone for you they are absolutely necessary.

You must be able to adopt a financial perspective for your

business case that ideally includes you thinking like a

finance person would.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 19


Operations is a big area. What we are talking about here is

being able to look at existing processes that exist not just

in the learning and development area but more broadly.

There are usually a bunch of processes that are directly

aligned with or on the periphery of L & D that are clunky,

inaccurate and kill productivity.

One of the most common of these is onboarding/induction,

knowledge retention, skills gap

analysis and succession planning.

Ok, with these concepts in mind let’s get started.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 20


Diagnostic Process

We like to think of this phase as diagnostic since this

word accurately reflects your objective. You need to

create a diagnosis of current reality in your organisation

that is clear and supported by information.

Needs analysis Another common term used for needs analysis

is business requirements.

There are probably some needs you have already identified

that have prompted you to begin this journey to LMS

adoption or replacing your current system.

You need to cross check that these needs are not you

centric. Needs analysis must incorporate the entire

organisation and stretch out to include external

stakeholders as well.

Recently one of our clients was successful in gaining

approval for an LMS based on the compelling outcome of

increased customer contact and product training

effectiveness.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 21


The company is very focused on revenue growth in new

markets so this benefit was high priority.

The LMS was implemented to provide their prospects and

customers high value information and learning

opportunities related to their range of healthcare products.

The more you analyse your organisation the more you will

uncover.

The key is to dig and dig deeply.

When a need is identified, it is advisable to include the

following in your documentation;

• an accurate description of the need/requirement

• a brief overview of the current situation

• a vision of how the issue is resolved with the LMS

• clear benefits to the organisation and its people

Strategic objectives may include ones that are focused on

areas such as:

Business Growth

- Revenues, head count, locations, acquisitions, mergers,

new products among others.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 22


Business Consolidation

- changed focus areas, sale of business units, office

rationalization, hiring freeze, reduce or increase outsourcing

etc.

Resource Planning

- talent attraction, talent development, succession,

manufacturing planning, new markets, capital expenditure,

relocation, expansion, suppliers, currency management,

materials sourcing etc.

Financial and Operational targets

- improvements to efficiency, cost reductions, capital

investments, R & D budgets, mergers and acquisitions.

Stakeholders

- board composition, shareholders, suppliers, partnerships,

institutions etc.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 23


Your business case should be as comprehensive as possible

in linking the LMS technology to the strategic objectives in

your organisation.

The level of detail in a strategic plan available to employees

varies greatly. Do your best to get the most up to date

information and you may be able to supplement this during

your stakeholder interviews later on.

Purchasing process

You can avoid a lot of heart break and disappointment if

you know how your organisation manages software

purchasing before you get too far in your business case.

You should be clear on all aspects of the purchasing

process so that your business case does not contradict or

potentially contravene these processes.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 24


Here are some examples of the information you must

have:

• What is your organisation’s capital expenditure level?

• Has your organisation purchased hosted or SaaS

software previously?

• Who is involved in a software purchase? (IT/ c-

level/external vendor or services

provider/you/your manager etc.)

• Is there an existing budget allocation or will one need

to be made?

• What will happen to your business case during the

purchasing approval phase? Will you still participate?

Who will drive the case if not?

• Does your organisation typically pilot new software

systems prior to engaging fully with them?

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 25


Identify Training and Development Needs

This step should be fairly straight forward since it is likely

training needs precipitated your creating this business case.

This step requires you to think just as broadly as you did in

listing out your organisation’s needs and there may be some

duplication.

When identifying your training and development needs, try to

link them to your organisation’s strategic objectives. Your

training needs may be different for different parts of your

organisational structure, professions, vocations, locations etc.

In many of our clients there are training needs identified for

customers, suppliers and strategic partners. Your training

needs should have both time and stakeholder horizons.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 26


Interview Internal and External Stakeholders

There are two aspects to your interviewing phase. One is

straight information gathering while the other is more sublime.

You may use your interviewing phase to collect champions,

supporters and influencers for your business case.

As you interview across your organisation you will by default be

presenting a picture of an improved organisation for each of

the people you interview and their area of responsibility.

Once you have collected your champions, supporters and

influencers they are added to your communication and

collaboration list. From now on you keep them up to date, ask

them further questions and so forth to keep them engaged

with your business case.

I recommend you use a tool such as Microsoft Sharepoint,

Google Sites, Evernote, OneNote, Podio or any other option

that is available to you.

You can set up a portal or site that people can view your

communications, add comments and other files to support a

comprehensive knowledge management solution for your

project. This eliminates the need to rely on email.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 27


We have recently worked with an L & D team that are masters

of this phase. They operate within a comparatively small

business unit but interviewed across the enterprise. Within two

months they had so much energy created around their LMS

business case that the other larger business units began

clamoring for the LMS as well.

In their case the momentum was unstoppable, the project was

approved, and they have retained project stewardship for the

enterprise roll-out.

Stakeholder Management

This diagram illustrates one way to segment your stakeholder

population and how best to communicate with them to

manage information sharing, influence, and participation in

your project. Apply this diagram and you may like to add

persons to a list with their quadrant or add names directly to

the quadrant.

High Interest

Keep Satisfied

Manage Closely

Low Power

High Power

Monitor

Keep Informed

Low Interest

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 28


Here are some ideas for your stakeholder interviews.

Interview Questions

Notes

What are your goals for the

quarter/financial year?

Do you have a plan you can

share with me?

How are you measured in

your position?

How is your team,

department, business unit

measured?

What metrics do you use to

track your team,

department, business unit?

What are the key issues you

face now?

Is there another department

or business unit that has

direct influence on you

achieving your objectives?

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 29


Map Out Existing and New Processes

While you are interviewing you can capture information on

how things get done in the various parts of your organisation. I

am certain this will uncover some insights about how your

strategy will alleviate ad-hoc processes and administrative

resource intensity. For example:

• how does a manager deal with a training request from an

employee?

• How does your team manage these requests?

• How does an induction program get organised for new

employees?

• Is there a process for rolling out performance appraisals?

• Do you have a process for identifying high potentials?

There are many processes you can identify, and some may be

so nebulous from a process perspective that each instance

may be more ad-hoc. Despite this, map out as many as you

can and these will provide the foundation for demonstrating

how the LMS will deliver more structured, automated

processes and productivity across the organisation.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 30


In our experience we have found that with the best of

intentions many organisations have learning and development

processes that are dead ends. For example, employees not

hearing back from a training request, not being able to apply

for internal positions, not getting feedback on their work, and

lack of professional development.

Keep this in mind when you are process mapping since many

processes in learning and development are circular as

opposed to linear.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 31


Measure Financial Impact

This step in your business case may be difficult outside your

operational area.

You should have been able to gather some financial impact

information in your interviews however not all people use

financial impact measurement in their analysis.

It is perfectly fine to include projections, estimates and

forecasts that are based on best available information.

Do everything you can to ensure the reasoning behind your

projections, estimates and forecasts is sound.

Some examples of financial impact that our clients have used

include the following and these are only a guide.

• Productivity gains enabling re-deployment of human

resources.

• Attracting new talent.

• Retaining and developing talent.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 32


Some examples of financial impact that our clients have used

include the following and these are only a guide continued;

• Cost savings in training delivery.

• Fast induction and job readiness saving x hours/days.

• Reduction in number of information systems/database.

• Risk reduction in compliance management (value of

possible damages incurred by the organisation).

• Consolidation/reduction of external training vendors.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 33


Build Your Executive Support Team

You can build your executive support team during your

interview phase if you secure some face time with your

executive team.

You may be surprised to learn that many of our clients found

enthusiastic support from the CFO and other financial

executives more quickly than others.

Your business case will have cost savings, efficiencies, and

productivity enhancements made obvious to the readers.

Your CEO may see risk management, your CIO may see a

system she does not have to worry about (fully hosted LMS),

marketing will see another communication channel,

operations may see faster on-boarding reduced compliance

risk.

The fact is all members of an organisation see reality through

the lens of responsibility and stewardship.

As a learning and development professional you must see the

organisation in its entirety and your business case will reflect

this. When you have successfully completed this phase of your

business case your probability of success has increased

dramatically.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 34


If you work in a large organisation or one that has some

insularity in its executive ranks your job is much harder but not

impossible.

You need to plan your approaches to the executive team more

carefully. This may necessitate finding creative ways to gain

contact with the executive team.

This could be as easy as finding a go-between for an

introduction or as bizarre as a well-planned interception in the

car-park.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 35


If you work in a large organisation or one that has some

insularity in its executive ranks your job is much harder but not

impossible.

You need to plan your approaches to the executive team more

carefully. This may necessitate finding creative ways to gain

contact with the executive team.

This could be as easy as finding a go-between for an

introduction or as bizarre as a well-planned interception in the

car-park.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 36


Develop the Case

This is just a basic framework to help you create your business

case.

Current Situation and issues

across the Enterprise that have

been identified

The LMS solution that will

solve these issues

Improvements that will be

realised with the solution.

Include all of the issues you

have identified

Strategic objectives that will be

supported and sustained by the

solution

Your business case should include supporting information that

is easily read and absorbed by the various readers of the

document.

It is advised to include as many visual representations of

information such as graphs, shapes, tables, and images.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 37


Project Manage the Entire Process

If you are not familiar with a basic level of project

management, I recommend you self-learn or enrol in an online

course in basic project management.

You should be able to understand the principles of project

management, gain competency in your chosen tools and set

up a project plan.

An understanding of basic project management principles will

help to instill confidence in others about your project. Beyond

this, you may be managing a range of parallel and dependent

tasks and milestones.

It goes a bit beyond managing a to-do list. You will be more

effective and productive if you use project principles and tools

to support your work.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 38


9 Ways the LMS

will improve your

Organisation’s Performance

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 39


Growth-Sustainability - Resilience

This whitepaper is based on over ten years working with

organisations that have implemented learning and

collaborative technology.

We have consolidated the enormous amount of data we have

on the results our clients have achieved with learning

management systems into 10 key result areas.

The market for Learning Management Systems is projected to

grow by an estimated 14% per annum to reach an estimated

25 billion USD by 2025.

This growth is based on impressive precedents established by

organisations that have realised substantial return on

investment by implementing learning management solutions.

In the current economic environment, there has been a surge

of interest in learning and collaborative technologies as

organisations adapt to changed work conditions, reduction in

travel and other expenses linked to training and development.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 40


The feedback we receive from clients is that once established

the LMS has changed the learning and development paradigm

in the organisation significantly.

The real benefits achieved by our clients include increased

productivity, higher engagement levels, improved planning

and decision making, risk reduction, and faster onboarding.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 41


Simplify Access to Key Information

Many of the clients we work with have their learning and

development information in several databases or Excel

spreadsheets.

In addition to these sources there is information retained in

payroll systems, document folders and personal information

management systems such as Outlook.

In this type of environment information is difficult or even

impossible to access and consolidate.

This has enormous impacts on the organisation although in

many cases these impacts are not recognised.

With a successful LMS implementation, our clients achieve

these benefits consistently:

• Enhanced productivity.

• Higher engagement levels.

• Consistent onboarding.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 42


With a successful LMS implementation, our clients achieve

these benefits consistently continued:

• Retention of talent.

• Attraction of new talent.

• Informed planning and decision making.

• Improves the strategic posture of learning and

development.

• Eliminates manual processing and errors.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 43


Remove/ Reduce your compliance risks

This is where many of our clients started their e-learning journey.

These clients often reacted to legislative requirements that

directly impacted on the ways they managed their business.

E-learning and talent solutions provide a fast and auditable

process to deliver and assess people in compliance related

content. People who undertake compliance-based learning can

be tracked automatically for compliance expiry and re-training.

The organisation has a real time ‘snap-shot’ of the compliance

gaps in the organisation and can easily address these risks.

The use of a learning management system enables the easy

delivery of supporting courses and collaboration tools to

ensure the learning is retained and applied on the job.

The retention of skills and knowledge is further enhanced

using collaborative learning.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 44


Enhance your tactical and strategic decision making

When you have access to the right information you can be far

more effective in your tactical and strategic decision making.

This key information is available in real time and across many key

drivers of individual and organisational performance when you

have a system like Percepium that automatically captures data.

The learning management system eliminates the need for

searching for information when you need it.

Learning and Development can position itself more effectively as

a key strategic input when it is able to supply timely information

that relates to risk, compliance, retention and attraction of key

talent.

You should ensure your LMS supports the option to decentralise

reporting to enable line managers to have access to information

about their departments and specific team members.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 45


Plan successions easily

The workforce demographics are changing dramatically all over

the globe. Succession planning is one of the primary resource

planning risks facing organisations in an environment plagued

with skills shortages.

Human resource planning requires alignment with the

organisational strategy and growth.

To assist in succession planning, the LMS should identify

potential succession gaps as well as delivering skills acquisition

for persons identified to undertake learning paths and

development plans.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 46


Retain your organisation’s knowledge assets

Does your organisation have processes to retain the knowledge

that is within each of your employees?

It is one of the most overlooked assets and competitive

advantages that can be leveraged.

We have worked with clients who have effectively tapped into

the collective knowledge of their employees with common tools

such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Visio, Excel, audio, and video files.

These files can be uploaded to a learning management system

that supports collaborative learning.

Once captured, this knowledge is available to support a

collective knowledge base for the organisation.

This knowledge base will form the foundation for ongoing

collaboration and innovation. This process will uncover subject

matter experts in the organisation and encourage the sharing of

expertise.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 47


Capture and share best practices

Organisations are able to capture and distribute best practices

very effectively. You may wish to enable best practices to be

captured directly by the practitioners for delivering as peer to

peer learning for their colleagues.

These people can capture their practices in a range of formats

and then distribute to the entire organisation or to specific user

populations.

The best practice content may be as simple as PowerPoint or

include audio and video files captured from a mobile phone or

more sophisticated tools. People creating this content require

no technical or special software skills.

There will be a permanent record of who accessed the best

practice content as well as discussion groups and

libraries/catalogues where further information may be viewed

or downloaded.

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Distribute information and training to your prospects and

customers

Organisations are able to grant access to unique web portal

environments to their clients, prospects and other stakeholders.

Your prospects can learn more about your organisation, your

products and services by accessing information in a range of

formats and styles during the sales cycle.

Professional services firms can support their delivery by

providing clients access to learning and knowledge during the

project or engagement.

Businesses that sell products use the LMS to provide product

training, new releases and sales training to resellers.

One of our consulting practice areas helps business achieve

enhanced sales and business development capacity using a

learning management system or learning portal.

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Retain and develop high performance employees

Most organisations acknowledge the need to retain high

performing and high potential employees.

A learning management system provides a self-service platform

for these employees to take stewardship of their careers.

In some learning management systems, people can explore

career paths and gain clear understanding of what competencies

and skills are needed to progress in the organisation.

They can access learning and development opportunities as well

as demonstrate their commitment to shared goals and

objectives through contributing to discussion forums, content

publishing, surveys and other tools.

The learning and collaboration tools support coaching and

mentoring programs in your organisation.

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Knowledge, Innovation &

Resilience

Arrives for Work Everyday

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You can achieve dramatic results in your organisation by

harnessing the power of e-learning and collaboration. You

can increase this power and maximize the returns on

investments you have made in your learning strategy by

tapping into the embedded knowledge you have in your

people.

This article is a simplified overview of a process that

achieves knowledge retention with flow- on cultural

benefits for the entire organisation.

Why is this important?

Knowledge retention goes hand in hand with talent

management and staff retention. In a market with skilled

talent shortages, it is imperative you have strategies to

retain your best people while attracting new hires.

However effective these strategies are people will still

leave; whether they are poached, start a family, or retire.

The costs of staff attrition are high and one key cost is the

loss of knowledge in your organisation when experience

people leave without a knowledge legacy available for

successors and others in the organisation.

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How do you retain knowledge? I am going to offer one

idea here.

Every organisation has thought leaders. These persons

come from all parts of the organisation and their thought

leadership is usually recognized by others in the

organisation; who tends to get asked questions the most

about a particular topic?

The thought leaders do not necessarily represent the most

popular, vocal, or otherwise high-profile persons in the

organisation.

Talented people, regardless of their position, regularly

innovate in their positions. It may be small incremental

workflow process changes, or it may be a completely

re-engineered system or process that delivers tangible

improvements in effectiveness and productivity.

The results produced by these people may be noted, but

how often are their work practices explored with enough

depth to document and replicate?

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This knowledge capture strategy needs to be approached

as an organisational project initiative. The project needs to

be approved and adopted throughout the organisation, top

to bottom.

The project must have resources committed and the

initiative needs to be well communicated. Once the project

is underway there is no reason why it cannot be made a

part of the embedded culture of the organisation.

The key is to provide your people with the tools to capture

and share their ideas with others. In my experience the

easiest tool is often Microsoft PowerPoint.

PowerPoint has been a part of most people’s desktops for

many years now and whether a person has progressed

past beginner level proficiency, they are usually familiar

enough to put together some basic slides.

Our own collaborative LMS, MyWorkPlan, includes a

content authoring tool.

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What Next?

In some of the businesses I have worked with, the roll-out

of the knowledge project has been woven into the

performance review process.

The performance review often presents an ideal

environment to ensure persons understand their role in

the project and the organisation’s willingness to support

the individual in the project while engaged in their normal

work responsibilities.

What does e-learning have to do with knowledge

capture?

E-learning technology serves as the distribution and

tracking system. There are all sorts of variants that will

serve as good platforms to share knowledge and make it

available anytime and anywhere.

As a leading developer of a learning and talent

management solution, I am biased towards our solution

called MyWorkPlan.

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A Simple overview of the Steps

Identify and assess your organisation’s knowledge risks

Prioritise these risks and add timelines if desired

• Which ones are critical?

• Will they cost money or present litigation risks?

• Will they compromise or destroy the

competitiveness of the enterprise?

Identify a Project Manager

• This has often been a learning and development

professional in my clients; however we have worked

with sales managers and even ‘C’ level executives

and others.

Your project manager selection is based on the scope of

the project and the skills needed to manage it. (If sales

knowledge is the critical risk, it makes sense to consider

the sales manager).

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A Simple overview of the Steps Continued

Identify the thought leaders/knowledge sources

Determine the tools needed to capture and deliver the

knowledge

• Acquire the tools.

• Train people in their use. One of the most successful

projects I have worked on included training a small

group of sale professionals some advanced PowerPoint

skills.

Create and roll out the communication plan to the

organisation

Coach and support the thought leaders in their

authoring work

• Ensure that time is allocated for this work. I like the idea

of ‘sanctioned time’; depending upon the culture of the

organisation this could be time spent in the office

without disruption or permitting people to work at

home.

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A Simple overview of the Steps Continued

Publish the content to the e-learning system

Demonstrate the content throughout the organisation

• Establish access protocols.

• Configure delivery platform as desired.

Keep the content updated as needed

• Establish review cycles and include feedback as

part of the delivery of content.

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This e-book is a short introduction offering a framework

and ideas for getting the most value from a learning

management system in your organisation.

WorkPlan can help you design and execute this type of

project and help you achieve rapid return on investment

regardless of the LMS or learning platform you have

selected or is operating in your organisation.

About WorkPlan Pty Ltd

We are a specialised software and consulting business that

delivers improved enterprise performance to organisations

of all types and sizes.

We design and develop the WorkPlan Collaborative

Learning Platform. WorkPlan is designed for organisations

that are dedicated to improving culture and engagement

with a focus on people.

We are well known for our experience in working across a

range of industries and user populations.

Our technical team is renowned for its responsiveness and

knowledge of client requirements.

© WorkPlan Pty Ltd 59

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