There is a lot of uncertainty in the world, and Customer Educators are adapting to keep up with constantly changing business priorities. We’ve asked our customers what they’re doing to cope with the current global landscape and how their work has been changing. In this edition, Craig Morrison, Global Customer Learning Manager at OSIsoft, shares his insights.
Tell us a little bit about your company. How do you leverage customer education to support your customers and/or the industry?
Craig: OSIsoft is a global leader in critical operations software. We have pioneered digital transformation to industrial companies for over 40 years. Our PI System product suite has enabled the industry to collect, standardize, contextualize, and federate large volumes of industrial, operational data to enable better decisions and fuel digital transformation.
Customer Education is crucial. We know that our customers and partners are smart; they have a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise and know what problems they need to solve. Our job is to give them the skills to get there quickly; to accelerate that time to success and help them drive value within their organisations. Today, we educate our many customers and partners across 140+ countries via multiple modalities and do our best to make learning easy.
How have customer learning behaviors changed since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak? What new demands are you hearing from your customers?
Behaviours have changed dramatically since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As most countries went into lockdown and travel restrictions were introduced, we were forced to shut down our 17 global training centres and stop all travel to our customer sites. With that we were left wondering, will online learning really be enough to fulfill all of our customers’ needs?
The simple answer: Yes!
With demand for online courses growing by almost 1,000%, our customers and partners have been extremely active with our self-paced offerings and making the most of the format to learn from home in their own time.
How is your Customer Education team adapting to help customers right now? What are you doing to increase your impact? What accommodations are you making?
In 2019, we were very fortunate to have worked with Skilljar to launch our new OSIsoft Learning platform which meant we were as prepared as we could have been for the impact the pandemic was to have on Customer Education. By no means has this been an easy journey, but with the tools in place, our Learning team was able to focus their efforts on content and get our customers learning again quickly.
Support from other groups across OSIsoft allowed us to effectively double our online course catalog within two months, as well as give rapid turnaround in repurposing our classroom training courses into VILT format. With the content ready, we then decided to take the extra step in supporting our customers by making this all available for free for 30 days.
How do you think this will change your operations moving forward?
The last few months have been somewhat of a whirlwind! We have seen unprecedented levels of change within our group and within the Customer Education sector in general. Dire circumstances, however, brought unplanned opportunities and we were able to implement new processes for faster content creation, as well as utilizing common content across multiple formats. We have seen the importance of technology in being able to scale to this level and identified further opportunities to help our customers learn what they need effectively.
What new colleagues are you engaging with that you haven’t worked with before?
I have to say that one of the most encouraging things to come out of this situation has been seeing how teams come together at a time of need (even if that coming together is done virtually). As a small Customer Education team, we would still be struggling with much of this without the help of many other teams such as Customer Success, Support & Services, Marketing, Operations, and the Sales teams. There has been a lot of two-way collaboration and sharing of expertise to help generate new content, to share this with the right people, and to find new ways to support customers, partners, and colleagues in this interesting time.