In this second part of our review of the Digital Transformation Guide (Guide de la Transformation Digitale), we will examine the major areas of digital transformation within companies. The first chapter of the book focuses on ‘leadership & management’ and looks in particular at the approach of a decision-maker, often a branch director or manager in a large company, when he or she decides to look into digital technology. In order to adapt this analysis to training companies, I have focused on levers for implementing the creation of a digital transformation strategy and the first actions to take.
Designing an effective strategy involves a number of stages, starting with an audit of the existing situation, i.e. an analysis of your enthusiasm for the challenges and opportunities presented by digital tools, as well as reflection on the vision of those at the head of the company, in other words a precise idea of the goals you want the company to pursue. Based on these two factors, you can put in place your digital transformation strategy!
Are you sufficiently digitalized?
The first thing to do, even before determining where you are going, is to determine your point of departure. To do this, you need to situate yourself compared to other companies. An initial exercise consists, therefore, in benchmarking your offer and services against those of other training organizations and analysing their degree of digital transformation. From there, you can assess your own situation compared to the market.
As the training sector is not known for being particularly inclined towards digital technology, however, it is not enough to look only at the digitalization of other training companies to situate yourself. In order to have a broader overview, it is important to build up a sound knowledge base with regard to digital trends: certain general interest magazines run special editions on this subject and you can find regular trade fairs and conferences about it, as well as specialized books. It is up to you to find the media best suited to your business and your enthusiasm for the subject!
Once the audit phase is complete, according to the Digital Transformation Guide, the leader uses their ‘vision’ to determine the company’s goals for the years to come. In concrete terms, and without having a ‘messianic’ vision for your company, your comprehensive overview of the sector should have given you a clear idea of the direction you want your training company to take. Now is the time to set out your goals in writing and discuss them with your partners!
Acquiring the necessary skills for your digital transformation
Once you have set out your goals, you need to plan your digital transformation. Rome was not built in a day and becoming a 21st century training company will also take time! To build an effective and realistic strategy, the first thing to do is to list the skills you need and gradually begin to acquire them.
You can begin by training yourself and the members of your team. This option is the most profitable as it enables you to acquire a sound knowledge base at little cost, which you can quickly adapt to your training company. It is, of course, limited by the fact that you cannot possibly know how to do everything internally. If you decide to embark on e-learning, for example, you can quickly learn how to make your own high-quality teaching videos. If you want to enrich your videos with explanatory animations, however, things quickly become a lot more complicated.
This is where the second option comes in, which consists in recruiting people to help you develop your business. This is the most risky option but also the one that most convincingly conveys your intention to transform your company on a long-term basis. Internally, you can, for example, recruit a trainer specialized in educational engineering to develop your e-learning content. You can also recruit a community manager, whose job is to manage your online communications as well as your relationship with clients and trainees, etc. Nowadays, everyone agrees that most careers of the future do not yet exist: in the context of digital transition within the training industry, you may also have to create atypical positions specific to your business!
Lastly, the final option consists in seeking support for part of your digital transformation needs. Whether this means using a consulting firm to help you rethink your processes or a freelancer to carry out occasional tasks (redesigning your graphic identity, for example), it is important to choose partners with whom you maintain a long-term relationship. Rather than outsource the creation of a website to India, for example, why not use a local agency and be part of the digital ecosystem within your region?
Implementing your first digitalization changes
After the audit and planning phase, all that remains is to start making the first changes towards your digital transformation. To this end, the Guide proposes a method inspired by startups and based on corporate agility. Here are the 5 main stages.
Digitalizing your business can be a major upheaval and it is important to manage the change carefully. As such, don’t start off with a major change: a project posing too many challenges risks creating unnecessary stress. On the contrary, make sure your first changes do not have too many consequences for your business in the event of an error. You can, for example, start by creating a newsletter or opening a social media account!
Test and adapt
Starting small will enable you to understand your mistakes and react more quickly! Apart from the error itself, this will also enable you to adapt your new processes to your training business, as there are always major differences between what the guides tell us and what we are up against in practice! Perhaps, for example, your newsletter targets professional clients, whereas it is mostly read by private individual clients, in which case you will need to adapt the content.
Integrating into the local ecosystem
Collaboration is one of the major trends in the digital transformation and many digital professionals have understood this! There are many opportunities to share experiences with your pairs: trade fairs, themed get-togethers, networking breakfasts, etc. Creating a digital network will facilitate your encounters with professionals in the sector (to create competition between them or expand your general knowledge), enable you to benefit from the experiences of other companies and help you find clients, who will understand and appreciate your approach!
Once the test phases are complete, you can begin to diversify the digitalization of the various sectors of your training company. The reflexes and experience you will have acquired will enable you to react more quickly and avoid previous mistakes! As you progress, you can start to integrate new, fully digitalized offers. Once you have digitized your administrative and accounting documents, you will, for example, be able to create training courses entirely online.
Track your objectives
How do you know whether a test is successful? Whatever initiatives you take, they must help you achieve your goals and correspond to a need. Before taking any decision, therefore, identify the success indicators that will enable you to know if it has really had any impact on your business. For example, how many people who received your newsletter have signed up to your training courses? How much time have you saved per week by using a particular software program? How much income have your new courses generated? These performance indicators will enable you to take reliable decisions to quickly adapt your various tests to your business.
Preparing for your training company’s digital transformation is a long-term project that demands careful thought and a methodical approach. This article has provided some key tips for starting to work on the initial stages of your digital transformation. The next article will focus on communications with the members of your team, as digitalizing your company requires a group effort and it is vital that everyone takes part!
👉 Find the other articles of the digital transformation guide for training organizations: