Big Data means Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

English: A variety of laptops, smartphones, ta...

English: A variety of laptops, smartphones, tablets and ebook readers arranged. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently posted about the emergence of “Big Data” (access to large amounts of raw data to more and more users), and the logical extension is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

BYOD means, simply, that networks are extended their use to devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) that are not explicitly provided by an employer.  So, in addition to logging on to work through the company-issued laptop, you may also check your work e-mail on your smart-phone.  You may also access your work files from your personal iPad.

As a trend, as the charts below indicate, worker-supplied equipment is growing.  My forecast will be that a company-supplied device will become a “perk” at the more progressive companies while others will demand workers provide their own means of doing their jobs.  The blue-collar work structure of “bring your own tools” extends to eForce.

Bring Your Own Electronic Tools to Work

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Big Data into Decisions

I am a big fan of infographics.  They say a lot in a short time.  SAP AG has published the following here, which provides a challenging view of using “Big Data” (large amounts of raw data pushed through an analytics application) to drive decisions.

Big Data into Decisions

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Updated experience and work samples pages

Women at work on C-47 Douglas cargo transport,...
Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Look up and you should notice the two new pages to the blog. I have added my resume, both short and long as well as samples of some of the work I have produced in the past.

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Top 5 Questions to ask BEFORE you hire your training consultant

Graph of typical Operating System placement on...
Image via Wikipedia

As a training manager (or a project manager in charge of the training), you will be faced with the prospect of hiring an internal team, hiring a consulting group, or a mix of both.  As you begin down the road to training development/delivery, here are five key elements that you will want to keep in mind in choosing your training strategy:

1. Who will deliver the training?

  1. Insourcing—will it be your own employees (often referred to as Subject Matter Experts–SME’s–or, more informally, “volunteers”).  If so, then will your strategy need to include a Train-the-trainer session.
  2. Outsourcing—will you be hiring an outside firm to deliver the stand-up training?  If so, what are the experiences, qualifications, and approach to training of the instructors?  Will you, as the client, have veto power over an instructor?

2. Who will develop the training?

  1. Insourcing—will your employees have the necessary technical/educational resources to achieve the desired project?  Will their be a need to update/upgrade their skills with some upfront technical training of their own—for a Content Management program, for example—or a specifically desired course development software (Lectora, Camtasia, etc.)
  2. Contractor—will they bring their own laptops or will you need to provide (different IT set-ups prefer different approaches).  Are their additional software licenses you will need to include into the budget to accommodate them?

3. Who will design the training approach?

  1. Whether your project is a global ERP implementation, incorporating multiple languages, cultures, business sectors, etc, or just all of the receiving personnel at plant 6, you will need to have a specific, engaged approach to providing those users with specific, applicable training.
  2. Is there someone in-house that can provide this with a professional level of insight into adult learning methods and practices?   Does this personal/department have the resources to dedicate to the life of the project?
  3. If you go with an outside firm, do they tailor their approach?  Do they customize for each client, or do they provide a one-size fits all approach—especially important if they also sell a “tool” pack (which usually means that they offer fairly limited customization).

4. Who will be in charge of the training portion of the project?

  1. If internal, what is the reporting structure?  Will the internal manager be responsible for any/all of the outside resources?
  2. If external, how much veto power will be shared with an internal contact/counterpart?  How much leverage will the project manager have, ultimately, over the project plan, deliverables and timelines?

5. What are the checks that need to be/should be put into place?

  1. For your end-users
    1. Are there certain regulatory requirements that need to be held in compliance, measured by an outside authority, to which your training needs to be held up against?
    2. Will there need to be a metric against which you will need to report proficiency/completeness of training?
  2. For your trainers
    1. How will they handle scheduling?
    2. How will they handle accounting for attendance/competency/course evaluations?
  3. For your stakeholders
    1. How will you report against progress, success?
    2. How will you demonstrate accountability?
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Posted in consulting, Education, Educational sites, ERP, learner materials, project team, Role of corporate training, Training | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

You should give Darth Vader a pacemaker

David Prowse as Darth Vader in The Empire Stri...

David Prowse as Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I often teach subjects that are not, in themselves, very interesting at all.  For example, my last client needed to train temp workers to enter patient information into their new ERP system.  Typing in data from a paper into a computer is not fun.  It becomes tedious and mind-boring.

So, when faced with such challenges, I craft creative examples.  In this instance, I gave Darth Vader a pacemaker.  I gave one to George Bush and Obama as well (Cheney already had one).

By making my example data engaging, I hoped to make the data come, as it were, a little more alive to the students (whose status as temps meant they had even less interest than usual).

So, when faced with a rote or boring task, inject some fun.  Be creative.  Give Darth Vader a heart transplant.


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Inclusive rates seem like a good idea

I function in a very specialized field–developing training materials for large-scale ERP implementations.  And I have noticed a trend of late to only offer inclusive rates to consultants.


Money (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

While I realize the down economy, I see this as short-sighted. If your needs include experience/talent that is specialized, looking only to the local talent pool will be, in the short term, severely limiting.  That is, you may pass this small budget hump, but your overall structure, product, training method, etc. will very likely take a direct and strong hit.  You are, in essence, banking on having the money later to fix the problems you are making today.

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WIKIs in Training

The Wiki Way cover
Image via Wikipedia

WIKIs have been available for a couple of years for anyone with a hosting account.  That is, you can download the wiki software and begin pluggin away at building your own world of inter-referred documents.

As I trainer, I don’t see these used enough.  I consult with large-scale SAP (an ERP) training projects, and I have yet to see one use a wiki as part of their post-go live strategy (I have yet to see a valid post-go life strategy, but that is another post).

With a wiki (SharePoint is a form), a user (super-user, SME, etc.) would be able to create a posting (describe the SAP receiving process), possibly culled directly from the training documents–which were probably culled, themselves, from the documentation of the project (BPPs, etc.).  The added benefit if putting these items on an intranet is that the user community can, with user-IDs, edit, update and maintain these documents.

Why aren’t you using one?

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