Global software companies are relying more and more on a network of partners to sell their products—so naturally, revenues and profits depend deeply on their resellers’ collective product knowledge and sales skills.
Autodesk has been a pioneer and leader in leveraging its sales channel. Its 3,075 distributors and resellers account for over 90 percent of the company’s worldwide software sales and generate software revenue on every continent and in almost every country in the world. Many of these partners are fully dedicated to only selling Autodesk products.
Although Autodesk has mastered the art of selling through the channel, challenges arose due to the number and timing of major product releases which fueled an increased training demand; and the global economic recession and shrinking training budgets meant that partners had to do more training with less money. It became imperative that the learning organization at Autodesk find an innovative solution to cost-effectively minimize the time salespeople were out of the field, reduce time in the classroom, and maximize selling time.
Recognizing the crucial role training would play, Autodesk looked for a smarter global approach. The first thing it did was find a social learning platform called ExpertusONE, from Expertus, learning software and managed services company.
The learning platform was branded “Autodesk Learning Central” and would do the following:
- Support a diverse, global audience with content delivered in 13 regional views and 10 localized languages.
- Integrate training offered through four unrelated enterprise systems into one centralized learning environment.
- Provide on-demand 24/7 worldwide access to virtual training and elearning that could be accessed regardless of bandwidth constraints both within a reseller environment and in the various countries in which they operate.
- Incorporate meaningful “social” elements, such as interactive course ratings and comment capabilities, so resellers could share opinions and collaborate with other channel partners.
From the beginning, the biggest challenge for the Autodesk and Expertus teams was to create a single, engaging user experience for all channel partners worldwide—but it couldn’t be one-size-fits-all. The new platform had to account for language, product-focus, region, and industry. Needless to say, it was no small feat.
To do this, the learning platform was configured to push only the most relevant information and training to the channel partner in an on-demand self paced format, virtual classroom, traditional classroom and various blended combinations.
Autodesk used these 10 languages:
- Simplified Chinese
They then filtered these into 13 different portal views:
- Australia/New Zealand
- Greater China
- South Asia
- Central Europe
- Northern Europe
- Southern Europe
- Emerging Countries (Russian Federation, Africa, Middle East)
- Latin America
Enter Dynamic Learning Maps
With such a globally distributed external audience, Autodesk implemented Dynamic Learning Maps™ from Expertus to solve one of the bigger imperatives: figuring out how to automatically assign a learning path to a reseller based on role, location, industry vertical, and product authorization.
Because the reseller’s roles changed quickly and in many cases they had “matrixed” roles, their learning plans had to be dynamically calculated and training had to be displayed as mandatory, required or optional. Within a few months of deployment, this feature was modified to accommodate competencies as well. Now, a reseller starts by taking an assessment to measure competency level and see what courses are mandatory, recommended or optional based upon the score.
The four main criteria used to develop the Dynamic Learning Maps were experience level, product focus, role, and vertical industry.
Despite an incredibly aggressive timeline (less than 4 months from start to finish), Autodesk and Expertus delivered a flexible and scalable global reseller environment. Now, for the first time, Autodesk is able to globally share critical new product information and personalized training plans and content—quickly and easily—all under one platform.
This unprecedented level of universal global access to the most up-to-date information and knowledge means Autodesk product rollouts are faster, more effective and are far less expensive to manage.
The time it takes to roll out new training was decreased by 30-40 percent and time spent in the classroom was reduced as much as 85 percent in many regions.
Moreover, with full access to better product knowledge, the global reseller community is equipped to sell more software to more customers—sooner than ever.
Usage statistics indicate a growing reseller reliance on the new platform as a central learning resource. Within one year after the launch of ExpertusONE …
When asked about the future of learning at Autodesk, Brian Cloughley, a Senior Manager at Autodesk, summed it up, “This is a game-changer for everyone who sells Autodesk software. We ended with an innovative solution that transformed how our channel partners learned. It will enable us to reach our aggressive sales goals in this challenging economy.” Capitalizing on the impact of this initiative, Autodesk has begun the next big step of rolling out the full functionality of ExpertusONE to Autodesk employees and the customer communities.