The Evolution of ERP Training
Historically, ERP training had a much longer shelf life than it does in today’s fast-paced, cloud-driven world. The needs of the user in a system delivered via subscription have evolved, and training itself has been forced to evolve at the same pace and toward the same subscription model.
In the early days of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, not only were the systems smaller and less complex, but they were also generally focused on scheduling pertaining to materials for manufacturing (in fact, in those days the ERP was known as the MRP, short for Material Requirements Planning). The lack of an ERP powerful enough for a massive global enterprise didn’t matter as much because organizations simply weren’t as large or as complex as they are today, but as they grew and the needs became more apparent, the technology had to be willed into existence.
Users involved in manufacturing were often brought into a classroom where they would be taught the ins and outs of their MRP, which would remain practically unchanged until the entire system was replaced years later. This lack of constant change meant that training content could be used over and over again for new employees and likely would not change very much, if at all. A worker with years of experience on an MRP system could teach newcomers further tips and tricks that may not have been included in the training and would become the first “super users.”
As the MRP evolved into more complex ERP systems, training was updated to reflect changes that were made with each additional software rollout. Students were gathered back into the classroom for updated training—yet these changes did not occur with overwhelming regularity. The cadence of major releases to systems like Oracle’s PeopleSoft or E-Business Suite would often be years, not months, as with today’s cloud-based systems. This updated training, however, would come with an expense. Organizations would either need to pay someone on staff to become an expert and update the training (not to mention deliver the classroom training as an instructor), or they would need to hire outside help to come in and re-do all of the training with the updated materials. As the frequency of software updates greatly increased, the cost of training maintenance increased concurrently.
Today, of course, modern ERP systems are vastly more complex, as are the businesses that deploy them. Cloud ERP systems can be easily and remotely updated, with changes in the software arriving with more regularity. These constant updates have created the need for a newer, modern model of training. The modern user, fully equipped with the wealth of mankind’s knowledge at the swipe of a thumb or the click of a mouse, is used to immediate access to any information they desire. Therefore, the classroom model of training has become somewhat antiquated.
Cloud computing, or software as a service (SaaS), means that ERP-makers can deploy updates, bug fixes, and new features to their software whenever they feel so inclined. This makes the traditional model of classroom training nearly impossible because by the time the material is developed and put into writing, it is already out of date. Enter training as a service (TaaS).
I am proud to be a member of the GP Strategies team in which one of our divisions, Maverick Solutions, has been working on delivering one of the first TaaS offerings that I have seen in the marketplace. Their solution, built for Oracle Cloud users, is geared toward saving the modern user the time of going to a classroom for training and allows them to access the information they need, when they need it. Maverick’s solution, Engage, is subscription-based, much like the cloud software itself. The organization subscribes to ERP training, which is continuously updated to reflect changes in their Oracle software, at a fraction of the cost of hiring their own training maintenance staff or bringing instructors onsite to deliver constant updates. Users can now access ERP training much the same way they access other information that interests them—with their mobile devices, or from their home or office computers, in mere minutes, and it’s always up to date.
While much of the training industry struggles to adapt to the modern world, GP Strategies and Maverick Solutions continue to lead the workforce performance industry with exciting and creative new developments that keep users engaged, informed, and performing at their highest level.