The introduction of the LMS and e-learning allowed Royal & SunAlliance to deal with challenges and to reach several major goals. The company’s first focus was to deliver more learning to more people. But facing an increasing number of regulatory compliance issues, delivering consistent, verifiable learning became more important.
“We’ve got two sorts of aims here: the one we started with and the one we’ve got now,” said Andy Wooler, e-learning practice leader at Royal & SunAlliance. “Originally, we were looking at how can we really leverage blended learning to increase the amount of people we can get to and the amount of training that’s going on here.”
But facing heavy regulations, in the United Kingdom where it has its headquarters as well as throughout its worldwide operations, the company’s focus has shifted. “There’s a regulation that has hit us in the last couple of years that says we have to be able to prove the competency of our people,” said Wooler. “So where our focus is right now is achieving that in our core skills of underwriting and claims management in particular.” Thus, Royal & SunAlliance is currently working on developing competency frameworks and designing learning, assessments and certifications to provide internal licensing that proves the competency of its employees, said Wooler.
Before moving to a centralized e-learning system, Royal & SunAlliance had difficulty getting consistent learning out to its global workforce. “We’ve got to prove our people are competent,” said Wooler. “They need to be competent at consistent, measurable levels, wherever they happen to be.” But since implementing the Saba solution, Wooler said that Royal & SunAlliance has been able to deal with that challenge. “Using the technology enables us to deliver much more consistency in the message,” he said.
Through the Saba platform, Royal & SunAlliance is converting its content to e-learning, allowing it to guarantee consistency in the message it is getting out to its employees. By using the Enterprise Learning Module to deliver blended learning, the company expects to save nearly $3.7 million in three years. But Wooler explained that the company has seen additional benefits from implementing its LMS.
For example, through Saba publisher, Royal & SunAlliance can leverage the expertise of its own employees to create learning content. “If we can enable our own subject-matter experts to be able to create the learning interventions, we get them quicker, and we get them cheaper,” said Wooler.
Another benefit has been the ability to deal with various regulatory issues around the world, said Wooler. Royal & SunAlliance has already seen success on this front in its Australian operation, one of the first to use Saba. “The reason we went there first is that they had a very tight time scale to prove their organization was competent,” said Wooler. The time frame for proving competency in the Australian operation was set to run out in June 2003, and Wooler reported in April that the operation was on target to meet that goal. “The only way they could do it was by being able to deliver quickly to everybody and using technology to deliver it,” he said.
Wooler explained that Royal & SunAlliance tries to get the best of both worlds with both centralized and decentralized aspects of its training operation. “We have a centralized technology delivery platform, but a localized ownership of the content,” said Wooler. He explained that overall, the company is very decentralized, “but we did manage to get global buy-in for a single enterprise-wide learning management system that people can use wherever they are.”
Wooler added that various teams around the world are working together from a content perspective. In addition to creating content, Royal & SunAlliance has a network of experts who cooperate to ensure that “nobody’s reinventing wheels,” said Wooler. “And if we’ve got some good content somewhere that is shared, of course, what better way to share it than an enterprise-wide LMS?”
Royal & SunAlliance is currently working on deploying the LMS to its locations in various countries, said Wooler. Its next plan is to use the system to create an internal licensing program for its underwriting staff.
“Whilst the focus currently is on e-learning, I’m a great believer that when you take the ‘e’ out of it, what we’re actually doing here is learning, with technology enabling it,” said Wooler. “So for us, the ability to enhance classroom training by the use of collaborative tools is very important.”