What I Learned at CEdMA Fall Conference 2016

What I Learned at CEdMA Fall Conference 2016

November 16, 2016
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Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the CEdMA Fall Conference in Wellesley, Massachusetts. CEdMA (Computer Education Management Association) is a professional organization that provides a forum for leaders working in training at technology companies, and hosts bi-annual conferences for its members. Conference sessions covered a variety of topics relevant to the training world - delivery, planning, sales, technology, and organizational trends. The session content, along with meeting so many different training professionals, left me feeling excited to be a part of the training community. Here are my main takeaways from the conference:

  1. Training in tech is alive and well, and growing!
    It’s always easy to feel the vibrancy of your industry when you’re at conferences, but being at the CEdMA conference was different (in a good way). Training in tech isn’t just vibrant, it's growing rapidly. As professionals working in training and education, we often fight for our seat at the table and spend a lot of time justifying the value of our work. It was inspiring to be around so many professionals creating solid business units within their companies. I met professionals who are successfully turning training from cost centers into multi-million dollar profit centers, exploring technologies to reach more learners, and thinking above and beyond to provide new experiences to customers.

    These endeavors were exemplified by the session dedicated to selling training and education, with an emphasis on SaaS businesses and the struggles that those of us facing recurring revenue models encounter regularly. We learned about ways that enterprise corporations were experimenting with hybrid classrooms and bringing effective education to audiences they’ve never reached before. I was left with a new arsenal of possibilities to further our budding training program and help Skilljar customers grow.

  2. Customer success depends on education
    As Dan Steinman, Chief Customer Officer at Gainsight, expressed in the keynote, today’s customer demands that you make them successful. Training and education was repeatedly referenced by Steinman and other leaders in Customer Success as a key component of that success. As the subscription economy expands, and tech companies large and small work toward customer retention, companies are looking back to training to drive adoption and foster the usage that they depend on to change behavior and show proper value.

    Later in the day, on a panel of Vice Presidents of Customer Success, there was a general sentiment that training was an essential part of the customer lifecycle. The panel spoke of concepts like readoption packages when main contacts changed, a huge risk factor for SaaS companies, and how paying for training and support encourages customers to think about what they need to do and take control of their own success.

  3. Modern training depends on a great LMS
    With expanding training programs and increased dependence on them for customer success, it’s clear that a solid platform is needed to support program content and student management. Cloud-based software has afforded training professionals the opportunity to be picky about their technology, demand new ways to solve their problems, and create the learning gateways they want to be representative of their companies. Attendees of the conference workshopped the creation of a Learning Management System RFP and collaborated to define LMS selection priorities for different business sizes.

Did you attend CEdMA Fall Conference? What were your thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comments!


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