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The guide to digital transformation for training companies: the challenges

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Digital transformation is a major work in progress! Everyone is concerned, from the biggest corporations to the smallest trades and crafts. Training organizations are no exception.

No digital transformation manual currently exists for training organizations : the scant books, texts and case studies on offer only target large enterprises. To help training companies better plan their digital transformation, I have therefore decided to adapt the Digital Transformation Guide (Guide de la Transformation Digitale) for trainers. This book, written by Vincent Ducret and Emmanuel Vivier, is mainly intended for the heads of large companies. Here I offer a critical reading of it, adapting the main stages set out in the manual to the specific needs of training organizations!

First part of the guide: understanding the challenges of the digital transformation.

What is the digital transformation? Behind this rather vague term is the underlying fact that there are an increasing number of innovations generating greater and greater instability for companies. Faced with faster computer processing speeds, new habits and the emergence of the collaborative economy, traditional companies face competition from new offers. These are the famous ‘disruptive startups’, proposing better services at a lower cost.

As a result, in order to survive and prosper, companies must adapt to the new technology and our resulting new habits. This, in essence, is the famous digital transformation.

What about training companies? Although the Digital Transformation Guide focuses on large corporations, training companies face the same challenges, more or less. Albeit with the difference that the adversary is not an Uber–style ‘disruptive’ startup but rather a natural evolution of habits. Clients are opting for the simplest offer and the one best adapted to the law. For a training company, the first stage in its digital transformation is therefore to sort through its workflow processes and to replace its Excel spreadsheets with speedy and transparent client follow-up.

The four major breakthrough innovations (and how they affect training)

Of course, retaining clients requires more than just having streamlined and efficient internal processes. The second step in a successful digital transformation is being able to seize upon the innovations at work and adapt them to your business. For a training company’s clients, a modern training offer does not just address their problems but enables them to do more and expand their horizons. The Digital Transformation Guide briefly lists the major breakthrough innovations since the start of the century and the opportunities they present.

Here is my version adapted to the training industry:

Innovation Opportunity
Faster computer processing speed, costing less and less. More autonomy for training companies and their clients More data available to training companies More automation of processes possible
The Internet is now available everywhere, all the time Dematerialization of training and how it is managed Business development opportunities beyond your geographical location
Increased collaboration Trainers can now work together more easily to propose comprehensive programmes Increased interaction between trainees: new ways of training are emerging
The merging of virtual and real Virtual reality invites us to rethink our approach to distance learning AI makes it possible toadapt training to the profile of each individual

Drawing inspiration from startups to develop your business

As veritable symbols of the digital transformation, startups define themselves as innovative enterprises with high growth potential. In practice, they are generally companies providing products or services meeting a specific consumer need and, in doing so, creating or challenging the existing market. The Digital Transformation Guide takes the example of NATU (Netflix, Airbnb, Tesla and Uber)—startups that in just a few years have risen to become references in what were already saturated markets: entertainment, hotels, cars and transport!

Although the Guide gives rather an idyllic description of these startups, they should not necessarily be seen as an example to strive towards for training companies. On the other hand, by analysing the factors on which they built their success, we can draw some interesting lessons on which to base our own digital transformation.

Do not be afraid to innovate to improve your business

In this context, innovating means discovering new ways of working and testing products and services that can boost your training company’s business. There are two ways of developing your business:

  • First, internally, to manage your training company better. Wave goodbye to Excel spreadsheets and arguments between trainers and assistants on training timetables. Nowadays, a plethora of products and services exist to automate part of your business.
  • Next, externally, to better satisfy your clients. Digital tools now enable training companies to secure the loyalty of existing clients, as well as to attract new clients.

Improving the client experience

With digital technology, the client is at the heart of the product: a software program or application that does not work properly will not retain clients! This aspect should not be neglected for physical services either. Any quality approach by training companies, to monitor trainee satisfaction before, during and after the course, for example, makes it possible to reconsider and constantly improve the client experience. This means improving the training itself, both by any number of teaching innovations, as well as everything around the training: registering for a training session, post-training follow-up, etc.

Recruiting new clients

Startups strive for hypergrowth, which means breaking down geographical barriers to recruit customers all over the world. E-learning now provides training companies with a tool for expanding their business. Creating an e-learning course is less costly to produce (as it will be used many times) and therefore costs less to purchase. In practice, this means recruiting clients outside of your geographical area and also reaching clients who would not otherwise have been able to afford face-to-face training.

Understanding how consumer habits are changing thanks to digital technology

With the new training reform, clients of training companies are now much more connected: understanding how their purchasing habits are changing is fundamental for enabling training companies to adapt accordingly.

Creating a sense of community

Facebook groups, forums and e-learning: learning is a social activity and digital tools now exist to enable trainees to learn as part of a group! This not only enables trainees to be more involved in their distance-learning courses but can also be used to extend the life of classroom-based courses! Creating a sense of community among trainees can secure the loyalty of your clients and ensure the long-term survival of your training business. Another factor, of course, is the community aspect of the trainer’s business. While the separation between large training companies and freelance trainers currently still exists within the training sector, there are significant benefits for freelancers in uniting to defend their interests: creating a sense of community within the training industry to provide more comprehensive training courses is a key challenge for the future!

This article has provided some ideas for starting to make the digital transformation within your training company. The next chapters will set out in practical terms how to analyse each aspect of your business in order to adapt to future changes in the training profession!


👉 Find the other articles of the digital transformation guide for training organizations:


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