“We trained over 850 global subject-matter experts on SAP using Interwise technology virtually,” said Mike Saidy, project manager of Interwise technology at Halliburton. “These people were in over 100 countries worldwide. All of the virtual training was conducted in Houston (the site of Halliburton’s corporate headquarters) by subject-matter experts, and no travel was involved at that time. We had a spreadsheet that calculated the estimated travel costs for the 850 subject-matter experts and the cost of deploying Interwise at that period, including the software acquisition, the support staff and the server cost. The $1.8 million dollars was a net savings.” Also, Halliburton’s computers were modernized through installation of new technology, such as sound cards, to properly roll out online training, Saidy said.
“That was a phased deployment,” Saidy added. “As we continue to move forward, now we probably have about 20,000 users on the ESG side.” The training will impact many more thousand ESG employees, he said. In addition, Kellogg Brown & Root–Halliburton’s engineering and construction division–recently decided to switch to SAP software and likely will employ the program as well.
Halliburton has continued to use collaboration tools to great effect and has even taken to preserving these interactions through technology. Some of the tools used to capture that content include CDs, local servers and the Internet. In fact, roughly 95 percent of all the training materials Halliburton now offers are prerecorded and can be delivered on-demand. “It’s a self-paced-oriented learning,” said Chandra Stephens, manager of learning and technology of Halliburton’s human resources and development division. “It speaks to the ‘just-in-time’ philosophy about our learning. It allows flexibility for the participant or the end user to work it into their daily work routine.”
Additionally, the company is able to offer flexible yet well-structured training courses, neither synchronous nor asynchronous, Saidy said. “We piloted what some people refer to as ‘polysynchronous’ (training). Instead of doing live sessions from scratch, what we do is prerecord the content of the live session for training purposes. So that way, you have consistent training worldwide.”
To ascertain the success of the program, the company has relied largely on “soft” data–solicited opinions of instructors and users–which primarily focus on tools rather than content. Halliburton will continue to use these techniques to determine the efficacy of training, but the information will be gathered and interpreted faster as new technology is implemented, and questions will be expanded to include the subject matter. “We’ll be able to have interviews with employees to see if it made a difference in terms of what they absorbed in their learning,” Stephens said. “Our measurement will be more specific to the learning, as opposed to how we actually delivered it.”
Halliburton also is planning to develop a more comprehensive and intricate metrics system, not only to measure return on investment, but also to determine any changes that need to be made. “Mike (Saidy) and his team have been successful in collecting what we call the ‘Level 1’ response in terms of measuring that effectiveness,” said Stephens, but added that still more needed to be done. “At the infancy stage, we jumped on top of measuring cost savings mainly in terms of travel. We don’t formally track the content itself with the end users and learners. The savings and the benefits now are mainly captured at the level of efficiency in terms of travel and expenses.
“The more advanced layer of the issue is, how are you leveraging (technology) to fully take advantage of the capabilities of the tools? That’s where the focus of a learning organization has to be tailored around: the best practices of utilizing the technology to deliver learning in the most appropriate way. You can give people access to a lot of stuff that’s not going to be very effective. Just because you gave them access doesn’t mean it’s going to work or do what it’s intended to do.”
“We will, in the future, go back and do a follow-up to the end users around that content to find out if it has been applied to the job and how effective the learning has been,” Stephens said. “As we move deeper into our HRD strategy around ROI, and being able to show the rest of our organization the value of these technologies and to deliver them the right way, we will be able to tie it directly to the transference of knowledge and learning.”
Brian Summerfield is associate editor for Chief Learning Officer magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.