Wachovia needed a solution that would enable it to:
- Train hundreds of people in a short time to meet regulatory requirements.
- Reduce or eliminate travel and other classroom-related training costs.
- Bring together geographically diverse people to interact and learn in a collaborative environment.
Wachovia’s learning team researched different options and decided to deploy Centra Symposium, the virtual classroom application of the CentraOne collaboration suite. With an implementation team of three people, Wachovia worked to gain the support of different areas of the organization necessary for the success of the project.
To ensure user adoption, the team established a relationship with Wachovia’s internal help desk to support the system and established a virtual classroom consortium made up of representatives from the different business departments who were responsible for the training, marketing and communication for their departments.
Wachovia also built a business case for the project based on direct savings associated with travel and communications costs and shared the business case internally to gather support.
Using the Centra authoring product, Wachovia’s instructional designers created a highly interactive course that included real-time audio, application sharing, custom-developed content, polling questions, an evaluation and an assessment. Using virtual classroom, an instructor can schedule and offer the same course as many times as needed and still tailor the live sessions to a particular audience.
Employee usage of Wachovia’s virtual classroom system has increased every quarter since its deployment, and in the fourth quarter of 2002 more than 2,000 employees participated in virtual classroom training.
Wachovia has achieved a number of benefits from its virtual classroom project, including:
- Reduced travel and telecommunications costs.
- Broader training reach. The virtual classroom enables Wachovia to provide training to remote employees at little additional cost.
- Accelerated training delivery. Wachovia can rapidly connect with employees in real time to deliver skills they need to sell products and ensure consistency of information.
- Increased flexibility. Employees who miss a class can play it back as needed, and trainers can offer more classes and more time options for employees.
Personnel made up the largest cost area of the project, constituting 45 percent of total project costs. Software was the second largest cost area. Wachovia purchased and depreciated a server to support the project. Nucleus applied standard methodology with a five-year straight-line depreciation to calculate the total investment of the project.
Wachovia recognized that developing a clear business case for the project based on direct benefits and marketing the benefits of the project for all groups concerned would be key to effective adoption and thus a positive ROI. A careful exploration of the costs and benefits associated with the project, explanation of those benefits to various team members and inclusion of project “champions” from different departments responsible for promoting the project helped ensure success.
Wachovia saw a return of 190 percent on its investment and a payback period of 1.2 years. Direct returns for Wachovia were quantified based on cost avoidance associated with training. Wachovia asked those who had delivered training via the virtual classroom how they would have delivered the training without the technology and used corporate standards for travel and telecommunications to determine the cost savings. Wachovia built the business case for deploying virtual classroom based on travel and communications cost avoidance alone, but a number of other benefits could be quantified, including increased productivity of instructors and learners, reduced design costs versus other delivery methods and enhanced employee performance.
This case study is an excerpt of a Nucleus Research case study.
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