It can be difficult to pinpoint your weaknesses, but Siemens Healthineers doesn’t shy away from looking into areas where they can continuously improve. The medical technology company uses benchmarking as one of the main tools to do this and reinvented its team and management in 2017. They are still in “growth mode” and as part of that growth, the company identified business areas where they needed to improve.
“It’s always good to know where you’re weak so that you can apply your focus and your resources there,” said William Magagna, vice president of Virtual Education Solutions, the learning team within Siemens Healthineers.
The company moved away from the more “safe areas” and realized they needed to work on the commercial operations, marketing and communications aspects of the company, which are not areas traditional educators are necessarily experts in, according to Magagna. They’ve also reinvented themselves by approaching managerial aspects differently.
“We made a decision that we would shift into a much more agile, high-risk, high-reward approach, focusing on productivity and revenue,” Magagna said. He believes it’s a combination of skills and marketing techniques that has helped the company improve.
“It’s a matter of not only being agile, but the cost, quality and effectiveness of how we get our solutions to market,” Magagna said.
The commitment from senior leadership was “fought [for] long and hard,” according to Magagna. An emphasis on revenue helped convince senior leaders of the vision VES had and how that vision in turn would help the organization. “At the end of the day, we’re a business,” Magagna said. “You have to be able to show that impact beyond learning objectives, beyond the overall learning, as attained.”
Siemens prioritizes education for three key reasons: to sell medical devices and, in turn, to increase customers’ interaction with the devices; to reduce their cost and the cost for customers; and to drive revenue and productivity, according to Magagna.
Magagna believes the way the company views education sets them apart from the way other health care organizations may look at education — as something they do for the learner. “I think we have the right vision,” he said. “Our solution and our vision is based on education being something you can truly do for yourself. We are an enabler versus a disseminator.”
In 2015, Siemens launched PEPconnect, an app that gives learners access to education at any time and on any device. All its content has a unique URL, which is a more efficient way for users to use the application since no registration or login is required to access it.
PEPconnect was the first platform to bring education, performance support and social networking together for the life sciences industry, according to VES. “[To] be able to ask a question, get an answer, connect with others, share your experience —that’s how we operate in the virtual space,” Magagna said.
By using PEPconnect, the company has also been able to contribute to advancing the health care industry by making it available to students. In 2017, VES began University Partnerships and introduced the app to Keiser University in Orlando, Florida, which became an early partner. The school uses the app for its Medical Laboratory Technician program. PEPconnect is used to reinforce the material and skills while providing learning activities throughout the program and in their student clinical rotations.
VES’ immediate goals include providing an efficient online customer interaction and continuing to focus on the virtual space. The company hopes to shift from on-site to an online format as much as possible by 2021. Since VES believes “education inherently happens individually, localized, at the device,” they’d like to make this move so customers and learners don’t need to depend on a person physically helping them on-site.
“As educators, to deny that [virtual space] is the future I think really misses the mark of where you need to be three to five years from now,” Magagna said.
Aysha Ashley Househ is a Chief Learning Officer editorial intern. She can be reached at editor@CLOmedia.com.