Extended Enterprise is the concept that a company does not operate in isolation because its success is dependent upon a network of partner relationships. The notion of the extended enterprise has taken on more importance as firms have become increasingly specialized and inter-connected; creating a demand for Extended Enterprise Training (EET) LMSs.
Extended Enterprise Training focuses primarily on training associates or partners on product, sales, and services. Not to be confused with employee training where the focus is primarily compliance training or career development. The best way to understand extended enterprise is to take the franchise model.
You have a franchisor, overall arching owner or controller, a franchisee, a person the franchisor has given the right to conduct business, and a franchise, the right to offer products or services under explicit guidelines of the franchisor. Although the franchisor has allowed the franchisee to operate under its brand, the franchisee is technically not an employee of the franchisor, nor are the franchisee’s associates.
A franchisor’s brand is its most valuable asset and consumers decide which business to shop at and how often to frequent based on what they know, or think they know, about the brand. Great franchisors provide systems, tools, and support so that their franchisees have the ability to live up to brand standards and ensure customer satisfaction.
Extended Enterprise Training can be used to inform associates of products and services through literature, social media, video, etc. to ensure all franchisees are receiving the same treatment; thus ensuring that the customer receives the same experience no matter which franchise location they visit.
The best way to facilitate this training is through a learning management system (LMS) to keep track of all your users, your content, and the relationship between the two. A training LMS enables you manage partner training and certification programs. Jeff Walter, CEO of Latitude and an expert in Extended Enterprise Training comments, “Certification and product training are key to success but being able to measure and validate who has taken the training is equally as important.”
“A good example of Extended Enterprise Training is getting your usual Hazelnut Mocha at your regularly visited coffee shop. Now imagine you are out of town on business and see your favorite coffee shop in the hotel lobby. You would expect that your Hazelnut Mocha would taste, smell, and look the same, wouldn’t you? How is that possible? Extended Enterprise Training is the answer,” says Walter. “Across the board all associates of this coffee shop are trained to make your Hazelnut Mocha the same way with the same ingredients. The results are consistent products and services and, more importantly… happy customers.”
Consistency is arguably the most important factor to a franchise brand, and consistency comes from effective training. There are several other major benefits gained from using EET for your organization. EET can boost revenue by providing certification training for franchisees which can help boost credibility and sales, thus driving your revenue. EET can help minimize costs by reducing knowledge gaps, confusion or misinformation among franchisees – all of which can lead to support queries that need to be managed. If provided online, EET can help onboard new partners quickly and more efficiently – reducing their time to competency.
When deploying EET, it’s important to include an LMS, online courseware, and e-commerce. Given EET’s focus on customers, many organizations also leverage community and social platforms to engage with learning audiences. The most efficient way to deliver EET is with software-as-a-service (SaaS) – a very flexible and scalable approach. Users are required to have only internet access to complete training and the pricing model is highly suitable for partner training. Another method for delivering content is with an install model, where the software is installed on the device it will be used, potentially leading to higher initial costs.
An LMS saves money and time training through blended learning. Blended learning combines classroom learning with online learning, in which students can, in part, control the time, pace, and place of their learning. A well devised training LMS will incorporate learning, competency management, certification management, and compliance. Ideal solutions are scalable, customizable to specific learning populations, and easily deployed.
An extended enterprise LMS allows for customization that would otherwise be nearly impossible to create. Personalize custom enrollment rules, custom domain and branding with a dedicated login page for every franchise location. Assign roles to managers with permissions that can be the same across the whole company or custom based on specific needs. Gain the ability to modify your user’s dashboard or portal homepage in order to show them at a glance the items that matter the most to them, based on their roles.
For example, standard users might need to have a quick overview of the courses they are enrolled in, their own progress, notifications and a calendar with upcoming courses or deadlines. On the other hand, managers are going to need a better understanding of how the learners are performing. Needs and requirements of an extended enterprise LMS will vary depending on the seeker but these customization features, along with flexibility, configurability, and reporting are all key functionalities to keep in mind when finding your perfect match.
With the extended enterprise industry becoming more appealing, the adoption of innovative technology plays a central part in distinguishing the leaders from the rest of the players in the market. Organizations in every industry globally use EET as a strategic tool to grow and improve their business and profitability. As an organization, you should consider how innovative learning technology, relevant content, and responsive services can work together to make EET an integral aspect of your business strategy.
Have you implemented a training program for your business partners, affiliates, or franchisees? What were the obstacles you ran into? Add your thoughts in the comments!
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