What You Need To Launch Your Extended Enterprise Learning Strategy

What You Need To Launch Your Extended Enterprise Learning Strategy
Summary: Expanding training beyond your internal employees can be hugely beneficial for organizations. But what does it actually take to launch an extended enterprise learning program?

Launching Your Extended Enterprise Learning Program

Extended enterprise learning is any corporate learning or training effort that is not targeted at your employees. Expanding your training offerings beyond the “four walls” of your internal employees might be the initiative you need to supercharge your training value, gain a competitive advantage, and achieve optimal business outcomes.

Most often, extended enterprise learning includes training for your organization’s partners and customers (e.g., partner channel training and certification, customer onboarding, continuing education, etc.) with the goal of improving overall business results.

The advantages of using a Learning Management System (LMS) for extended enterprise learning are endless. A 2017 survey by Brandon Hall Group found that extended enterprise learning helps businesses in a number of ways: 59.9% of respondents said that it increases awareness of products and services, 57.8% responded that it reduces training costs, and 54.9% said that extended enterprise learning improves customer relations (Brandon Hall Group Extended Enterprise 2017 Study. Used with permission.).

Getting Started With Extended Enterprise Learning

The many benefits of extended enterprise learning almost make it sound too good to be true. What does it really take to get started? What’s actually required to launch an initiative like this?

As it turns out, executing extended enterprise learning isn’t as difficult as you might think. According to John Leh, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning, getting started with extended enterprise learning involves just 3 key pieces: A measurable business case, learning content, and an extended enterprise LMS.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

1. A Measurable Business Case

Getting started with extended enterprise learning might not be as difficult as you would think. Perhaps the hardest part is proving the value of this type of initiative to your executive decision-makers in order to gain buy-in and secure the necessary budget.

Building a business case for implementing extended enterprise learning at your organization will involve a number of items in order to compose a compelling, data-driven argument. When preparing your business case, consider including the following:

  • Research outlining the business benefits of extended enterprise programs in similar industries (and for similar use cases).
  • An outline of the projected ROI of your extended enterprise project.
  • Arguments meant to address each particular executive’s goals, objectives, and potential objections.
  • A compelling presentation to guide your executive discussion and agree upon the delivery, management, and measurement of the project.

It’s also important to ensure you set timelines and next steps for implementation after you earn the executive “yes”. This will involve coordination with a number of other teams (depending on your particular extended enterprise learning goals) – be sure to maintain open communication with all parties involved.

2. Learning Content

Just like training internal employees, extended enterprise training requires learning content in order to be deployed.

Your learning content topics will depend on what your extended enterprise program looks like and who makes up your extended enterprise audience (customers, partners, or a combination of these). For instance, your learning content could help to ensure partners follow brand guidelines and uphold company standards, or provide specific troubleshooting tools and tutorials as required.

As with internal training, content can be delivered in many different formats and tactics, including webinars, live sessions, social learning, user-generated content, mobile learning, and so on. Whether you choose to create your learning content internally or use a content marketplace, the learning technology used to deliver the content will have just as much impact on the effectiveness of your extended enterprise learning as the actual content itself.

3. An Extended Enterprise Learning Management System

Once you’ve gained internal buy-in, secured your budget, and have prepared your learning content (or at least your learning content strategy), you’ll need a way to actually deliver your program. According to Brandon Hall Group’s Extended Enterprise 2017 survey, a Learning Management System is the most commonly used extended enterprise platform (used by 76% of companies).

An extended enterprise LMS will help to centralize all learning content, as well as manage and target its delivery. An LMS is the best way to manage learning for all audiences, both internal and external, as it can enable instant delivery of product and service updates to all learning audiences.

More importantly, it can help make the connection between organizational performance and learning. Your Learning Management System provides visibility into the link between partner channel performance and the learning content they’ve completed, among other informative insights.