Building great products is only one way XP Systems, a provider of data processing systems for more than 250 credit unions across the United States, helps its customers. Teaching its clients how to use those products is equally important. For example, XP Systems teaches credit union tellers about its products for performing financial transactions and managing a cash drawer. Member service representatives are taught how to use XP Systems’ software for opening, managing or closing an account.
The pace of change, as well as the volume of training, poses challenges and opportunities for XP Systems. For a long time, the company relied on instructor-led training to teach credit union employees how to use its software. This approach required instruction manuals that XP Systems couldn’t always produce or update to match the pace of new software releases. This meant sometimes even the most up-to-date training lagged behind software releases.
That lag meant lost opportunities for training revenue and inefficient use of the system until the credit unions were trained. As a stop-gap measure, instructors would rely on their product knowledge to update classroom materials on the fly. This created extra work for busy instructors who already logged many hours on the road. It also increased the probability that training was not consistent from one class to the next.
Also, XP Systems’ heavy reliance on instructor-led training resulted in a packed training schedule for its trainers. Credit union clients became frustrated if they couldn’t get the training when they wanted it, and trainers often were overwhelmed. In addition, turnover among credit union employees, especially tellers, was high. Just as trainers had finished teaching tellers how to use XP Systems’ software, a request would come in to train a group of newly hired tellers at the same credit union.
“For our business, we found it challenging to keep updating our training to reflect the quarterly improvements to our products, especially our software,” said Bonnie Abbott, product manager for XP Systems. “An investment in a training software solution seemed the best way to meet our challenges.”
In March 2007, XP Systems bought a platform of learning technologies for creating, capturing and reusing knowledge, and for tracking student performance. As XP Systems updated its software products — up to four times per year — its new learning technologies, including a learning content management system (LCMS) from OutStart, gave Abbott’s team a way to keep the company’s training synchronized with product development. With the LCMS, XP Systems could rapidly create online and classroom courses to mirror each product upgrade.
“The LCMS gave us software for creating or pulling in training content from any source, whether it was a class manual, video, whatever,” Abbott said. “The LCMS also provided us with a central repository for storing our training. Having a storehouse of content that we could edit and reuse for different purposes helped us vastly improve the speed with which we developed training on our products.”
With the LCMS, XP Systems developed the building blocks for a course on any product. As XP Systems’ software or services expanded, the LCMS gave Abbott and her team a way to easily turn any existing course into the foundation for a new one.
XP Systems’ new learning technologies, including the LCMS, took the burden of updating courses off the instructors. This enabled XP Systems to develop and deliver consistent training, providing proven tools and additional training options for its credit union customers. And by producing quality training much faster, XP Systems generated additional revenue from instruction. Because of the speed associated with the LCMS for developing training of all kinds, the company rolled out online and classroom training months earlier than before.
“Without an LCMS, we would have had to pick through hours and hours of courses whenever a statistic set of directions or graphic changed,” Abbott said. “The LCMS is invaluable for training professionals because it allows them to find and reuse bits and pieces, or a whole mass of content, for many different purposes.”
Along with the LCMS software, Abbott’s team also bought a learning management system for registering employees for training and tracking performance. The LMS played a support role to the LCMS by synchronizing training with a student’s Outlook calendar and delivering an online class when needed. The LMS also provided reporting and tracking capabilities.
Working together, the LCMS and LMS also deliver XP Systems’ customers a variety of online training to choose from. This means XP Systems’ instructors have more manageable workloads. Since implementing the platform of learning technologies, XP Systems has seen credit union customers tap these learning tools to train newly hired tellers in the use of XP2, the company’s flagship data-handling product. In the past, an instructor-led course might have taken three days. But the same course now lasts three hours.
“After three hours, there is still additional training that a new-hire would need on our product,” Abbott said. “But we’ve made it possible for a new-hire to significantly reduce the learning curve, walk out to the teller line and use our product far sooner.
“We can now develop and deliver online training simulations for our product very quickly,” Abbott explained. “Our simulations show the XP2 software as part of a demo with voiceover. Basically, the LCMS makes it possible to show in a very precise way how someone would use our product to transact credit union business. Our credit union customers say they have observed that retention of tellers has gone up, too. And tellers say training simulations with our product better prepare them to enter the teller line.”