The Art of Knowledge Transfer in Ecommerce Implementation
The implementation of a new ecommerce system is often a complex process that requires advanced technical planning and strict project management. Over time, companies have established processes to speed implementation and reduce project creep. However, vital focuses that are quite often overlooked, or left too late, are the post-implementation “people” and organisational aspects.
In the world of ecommerce, there are likely to be a group of business users, or those on the "front line" of merchandising, marketing or content, who will be responsible for using the new software or platforms. Whilst they have been consulted at the planning stage of the implementation, quite often a plan hasn’t been put in place to identify and detail how all the new platform features and processes will impact them on day 1 of launch.
If training is delivered in a timely and engaging manner, there is a greater likelihood for the business tools to be correctly adopted, therefore giving users the best chance to maximize the capabilities of the technology.
Based on Salmon’s experience in implementing some of the world’s largest ecommerce projects, here are our top ten tips for companies embarking on a significant technological change:
- Consider the approach – “train the trainer” is a common methodology, particularly when engaging with a large scale, geographically split audience. However, this approach requires staff within the client team to possess the skills to deliver training in a meaningful way.
- Expert Users – if “train the trainer” is not suitable, it is crucial to identify and engage with a handful of key business users across the end-to-end process as soon as possible. These users can act as "Expert users" and can provide valuable input into the format and content of the training schedule and material. If engaged early enough, Expert users can act as advocates for the new software, support training rollout and encourage adoption among their peers.
- Communication planning – in advance of delivering training, proactively manage communications with training attendees so they know why they need training, and how and when their day jobs will change.
- Timing and availability – for large scale knowledge transfer activities, coordinating the availability of business users early on is essential. Freeing up people from their day-to-day jobs to receive training needs to be carefully managed so as not to affect BAU operations. This is especially true for geographically dispersed teams.
- Audience experience – training material should be tailored to the audience as much as possible – some users are more technically confident or quicker to learn than others e.g. training instore staff may be different to training ecommerce merchandisers.
- Internal resources – large organisations are likely to have an L & D team, who are involved in existing training material guidance, and provide input on any documentation you create. We have found user guides with screenshots and simple explanations with step by step-by-step instructions work best.
- Environment & Data – give end users a dedicated training environment so they can safely practice what they have learnt after they have received formal training. Make sure the training environment contains realistic data that will be familiar to the users.
- Make it interactive – people perform better using differing learning styles and methodologies, so we structure our training to account for this. Let the users get hands on with the software by giving them exercises to complete, along with detailed user guides. Adding in quick-fire Q & As at key points can perk up an audience during the post-lunch afternoon slump!
- Set Goals – it is vital that training is accepted and undertaken by as many users as possible. To avoid repeating the training process multiple times to the same people, use the training exercises to ensure the users are capable of completing their key day-to-day tasks before the session is over.
- Collect feedback – after training is complete, it is important to gauge the confidence levels of the users to know whether the training has been successful. We use short anonymous online surveys to gather insightful feedback from the attendees. This insight can also be used to improve any future training delivery.
At Salmon we work with our clients to train users in a range of business tools, including IBM Watson Commerce Management Centre, Hybris Management Console and Magento Commerce Admin.
We have found the best results occur when training is delivered by our teams that have direct experience in using the technology themselves as end business users in retail and other ecommerce environments.
Contact us for more information.