Software Application Training

NetJets Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, is the world’s largest purchaser of aircraft, aircraft engines, and avionics. NetJets’ fractional aircraft ownership provides all of the benefits of private aircraft ownership at a fraction of the cost.The NetJets Flight Center is a sophisticated operation with hundreds of people working around the clock to make sure the proper airplane, crew, and equipment are in position and ready to serve NetJets clients. It is a monumental exercise in logistics as everything from aircraft maintenance, flight plans, weather, crew management, catering, and even client preferences, must be handled with extreme precision and efficiency. At the core of this capability is a proprietary logistics software application that NetJets created to run the business and coordinate all activities. This application is used by virtually all of the functional groups within the Flight Center to coordinate the daily activities of the business.

In order to keep up with the demands of a rapidly growing business, and to maintain the highest quality of service that has become a benchmark in the industry, NetJets planned to upgrade their logistics software application. When NetJets contacted ICS, they had already spent almost two years on the development of the next version of the software application and were now starting to plan the roll-out that was scheduled to be released in four months.

HR / Training Challenges :

The challenges facing NetJets were many. With months to go before rolling out the new software, NetJets management realized that the human side of the transition had not been properly planned for. Even if the new software was flawless, the project would be a failure if the people using the software were not properly trained and mentally prepared for the new system and all the associated changes.

Some of the specific challenges were:

  • The new software application changed some of the underlying business logic and work flow of the Flight Center. This meant people’s jobs were actually going to change requiring them to learn new terminology and processes in addition to the new software.
  • The staff that needed to be trained was extremely busy, so training time had to be done in a way that minimized the impact on these employees and their ongoing responsibilities. This meant that the training had to be tailored to specific jobs allowing it to be very targeted and relevant.
  • Tight deadlines required that training development begin before the new software system was finished.
  • The new software did not have any manuals or user manuals. All that existed were technical software design documents and specification. Most of the training information was in the heads of about a dozen subject matter experts – who were some of the company’s highest performers and whose time was in great demand. The training program would have to minimize the effort required from the subject matter experts.
  • Previous training experiences of employees had been negative and therefore created skepticism on the part of the learners. Morale was going to be an issue.
  • A robust Learning Management System needed to be implemented virtually overnight. The LMS needed to support the ability to target the training based on job title, and track all training completion progress. It was also critical that managers be able to run real-time progress reports to inform them of the status and readiness. It was also important to be able to run reports that could identify problem areas or training gaps. NetJets new that this training was a critical part of the transition and that any gaps in knowledge could have serious consequences in the operation of the Flight Center.

ICS Learning Solution :

After evaluating the issue from several key business, training, and technology perspectives, ICS Learning Group created and implemented a Training Plan with the following key components:

  • Adopt a Blended Learning Approach – After an analysis was performed, ICS concluded that it would be optimal if the training was split into two pieces. The first part would be delivered as eLearning which gave the learners a lot of flexibility with regard to scheduling it around their others responsibilities. The eLearning material focused on more general orientation, concepts, terminology, and basic workflow and introduction to the software. The second part of the training would be held in the classroom and would focus on problem solving and real life applications. The classroom instruction would be very hands on and involve working through scenarios and simulations.
  • Focused Job Specific Training – the amount of time spent in training needed to be minimized. To help accomplish that goal, the training was designed to be very specific to a particular job or task. For example, there may be a functional area of the software that was used by a variety of people who had slightly different objectives. To make the training as concise and as relevant as possible, the training was designed to be task centric and was customized for each job position and focused on their objectives only. This approach allowed us to keep the training as short as possible, and of course made it more effective as people though it was very relevant and useful.
  • Change Management – The training needed to “sell” the value of the new logistics system to the employees and create a positive attitude towards the upcoming changes. Demonstrating why the changes would allow them to do a better job was an important theme carried throughout the training.
  • Interactive Media-rich Lessons – to make the training engaging and effective animations and interactive exercises where used throughout. This was true for both conceptual points regarding new work processes as well as animations and simulations that were used to introduce and teach how to perform a task using the new software interface.

Inquisiq LMS / Technology Solution :

  • Rapid Implementation – With only a few months before the software was rolled-out, the training and LMS had to be ready to start the training in less than two months. It took only one week to setup the web-server and install the Inquisiq LMS. It took another two weeks to configure the LMS and setup the reporting, email notifications, users, and groups. Within one month, the LMS was ready for the courses to be loaded.
  • Integrate with the HR system – NetJets used another system for payroll and human resources management. Inquisiq was configured to automatically stay synchronized to that system so that each employee would automatically have an account in the LMS. The employees profile information (department, location, and job title) was also pushed into the LMS. The profile information was then used by the LMS to automate course enrollments, LMS permission assignment, and reporting groups.
  • Targeted Training – Each job position within the Flight Center had a very specific curriculum assigned to them. This was accomplished in Inquisiq by using some of the automation capabilities. The way it worked was to setup rules that automatically put employees into certain user groups based on their job title. The groups were then configured to automatically enroll every member in the group to specific set of courses. Using grouping rules and group enrollments allowed for not only the automation of what courses the employees would take, but also used for the automation of permissions, and report grouping.
  • Detailed Tracking and Reporting – As the go-live date for the new software system approached, it was critical for NetJets management to be able to assess their training readiness. The LMS was able to generate reports that told them who had completed the required training and who had not. They could organize the report by job title, manager, department or location. They could also see details such as how people were scoring on the assessments and even evaluate specific quiz questions. For example, while it may be true that people were passing a particular quiz, it would be important to know if a specific question was frequently being missed – exposing a potential gap in the training that needed to be investigated.