Imagine this! You’ve spent millions on your new Customer Information System (CIS) implementation, and thanks to following some best practices, you’re up and running! Your post production support period is over, the vendors are gone, and you are now on your own. So, how do you engage your staff and continue to keep their skills sharp? The answer is training and continuing education. At Millennium Consulting LLC, we’ve noticed far too often that once the implementation period is over, the staff receives little or no training going forward on the products they support. There are many different things you can do to keep your knowledge up to date – regardless of budget. In this article we will provide a general overview of different options and in later posts we will go into some of these more in-depth.

Utilize your training options

With all the advancements in technology, there are lots of different options for training that can work with your budget and schedule. If your time and/or budget is limited, check out the webinars that your vendors or CIS software offer to learn more about their products and services. Try to send as many staff members as you can so that as many people can benefit from the information and ask questions as needed. You can also see if they have recorded webinars available to watch at a later date. Some vendors also offer self-guided tutorials, which can be great if you don’t have the ability to pool all of your staff together at once. If your budget allows, onsite training is even better – either at their facilities or yours.

Get out of here

Learning from the office is great, but there’s only so much you can do. If you really wanna better understand your product, you’ll have to step outside the office. One of the best resources available are user group conferences. Here you can immerse yourself in training and learn a variety of topics. On top of that, you get to network with other users of the platform as well so that you can learn from each other. This is also a great place to network with vendors and be the first to know about changes or updates coming down the pipeline. A popular conference to consider is CSWeek, taking place May 22-26 in Fort Worth, TX.  Millennium Consulting LLC will be attending.  In addition, another option for training is certification courses. These usually require you to go somewhere, but they can be another great learning resource. These are sometimes offered in conjunction with conferences, so it’s worth researching. These also offer a fantastic place to network with others.

Don’t forget it

Even with all these great training and learning opportunities, it is easy to forget things – or sometimes, staff can leave. It’s important to make sure you document important procedures as best you can. Also, have designated SMEs and resources that you can contact when you need help.  You can also schedule internal learning sessions for staff to teach each other. This is especially great right after a staff member attends a conference or gets certified. Finally, make sure you stay up to date on the latest news and information so you can know about upcoming releases and functionality.