According to Jon Longshaw, project manager with QAD, one of the main problems QAD faces in getting training to its widely dispersed workforce is geography. “There’s a lot of different people around the globe, especially in the presales field, who are traveling,” he explained. “So our main goal is to be able to offer live new product training or sales training or support training and be able to have people be able to connect to that, regardless of where they’re at.” He added that QAD also wanted to record these events for later use and for playback by individuals who could not attend the live event.
Another challenge for QAD was getting the training experts into the same place at the same time. QAD has implemented Interwise’s Web conferencing software as a training and communications solution, and Longshaw said that Interwise has helped QAD get the right experts into the right place at the right time. “We can have them around the globe at different locations and they still are able to essentially be the moderator and run the training just by passing things back and forth,” he said.
Being in the software industry, QAD is faced with constant change and rapid product rollouts. “It’s a fairly fast-paced environment, and a lot of times when a product gets released we need to support it almost the next day,” said Longshaw. Due to the global nature of the company, QAD has had a difficult time getting the necessary training out to the right people. “It’s been a struggle to be able to provide that training quick enough and ahead of time before we have to support it for our customers,” Longshaw added.
Longshaw said that QAD has used Interwise for internal training, as well as for communications for company meetings. “We still continue to do that,” he said. “Basically we wanted to be able to connect people around the globe a little more virtually, rather than just through a telephone. We wanted to be able to use one application where we could connect them more virtually around the world through the use of technology, still having an effective communication while trying to decrease our costs associated with that.”
QAD’s employees were not all quick to adopt the solution, but Longshaw said the adoption has been increasing and that overall the company is seeing its employees become more comfortable and more familiar with the tool. “Obviously, you have your technology adopters and individuals that are not so quick to jump on board,” Longshaw said. He added, “As more people use it, as more people are made aware of it and participate in some of these trainings, actually hold meetings, do these sales demos and so forth, we’re definitely seeing the usage increase fairly steadily at a good, consistent rate.”
QAD has seen numerous benefits from using the Web conferencing technology to conduct internal training and for company meetings. First of all, the company has been able to get its training from the experts firsthand, instead of sending trainers to learn from the experts and deliver secondhand training. In addition, Longshaw reports that more employees are able to attend training delivered via Interwise. “Just due to cost restraints and other things, not everybody who has received training through Interwise would have been able to receive the same type of training if we actually had to have them travel or go off-site and physically attend it live,” he said. “So ultimately, we’ve been able to reach a broader audience, more of our folks that we would have liked to have reached, but previously we’re not sure that we would have been able to.”
Using Web conferencing software has also saved travel costs and phone toll charges for QAD, said Longshaw. The company estimated a savings of $60,000 in travel expenses alone within six months of using the software. And Longshaw added, “Especially when we’re using voice over IP in conjunction with Interwise, we’re saving some phone costs.”
QAD plans to continue using Interwise internally to deliver training and to hold global meetings and team meetings, but the company also plans to start pushing training out to its customers. In addition, Longshaw said QAD will work with Interwise to set up an external-facing marketing event to promote QAD software to different industry verticals including existing customers as well as some prospective customers. “We plan on continuing with our sales and support and training internally,” said Longshaw, “but also to focus some more on the marketing externally and the external training as well.”