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Essay

External Customers Need Learning, Too

The push toward digital learning solutions has given learning leaders more opportunities to provide development options for external customers – and generate revenue.

learning, clientsThanks to digital learning solutions, companies are continuously finding ways to better train and educate their workforce. But many find value in providing training programs to meet external networks’ needs, as well.

Companies can benefit from this type of learning delivery in more ways than just pricing courses, selling training, and turning learning into a profit center as opposed to a cost center. “If you train your business network — whether it’s partners, dealers or franchises — you’re ensuring that your customers have the experience that you want them to have,” said Emily Wilson, director of solutions management, SAP SuccessFactors. “You’re helping reinforce your brand, you’re engaging with your community and you retain customers who need training.”

For companies that offer their external ecosystems learning solutions, it’s important to remove any technical barriers, and ensure those solutions will help learners solve problems within their business. Ask what those are to be sure offerings align neatly with their expressed needs. Wilson said in some cases it also helps to have an LMS that employees can use to manage development offerings, as these are often online courses, customized without a tailored front end.

SAP SuccessFactors’ customers are using its external learning license to price courses. However, Wilson said if companies want to do extended enterprise learning effectively, they need to do more than just “slap a price on a course.” They would need full featured site management, search engine optimization, portal management, aesthetically pleasing designs and device usability.

The company now offers this kind of technology as SAP SuccessFactors Learning Marketplace – a combination of SAP SuccessFactors Learning, the learning engine, and SAP Hybris, the e-commerce engine. Before it was available, Wilson said many consumers looking for training courses would start their search on a search engine, rather than going to a direct website. “Now customers don’t have to put all of the pieces together themselves and just hope that they work the way that they should,” she explained.

Internal workforce development will always be a priority for learning leaders, but providing external development offerings can help them help customers solve real, relevant business problems and monetize courses, giving them an opportunity to directly impact business and revenue.

Camaron Santos is a Chief Learning Officer editorial intern. Comment below or email editor@CLOmedia.com.

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