The company recently turned to AWS and Grid Robotics for help with its product training program. Although designed to be easy to use, Worksoft's products are very powerful, and as such, require intensive, hands-on training to be used effectively. Until recently, the only available option for the delivery of training was an onsite class that required both the instructor and, often, the students to travel to a central location for a 3+ day course.
This training model adds time and cost for both Worksoft and its customers. The instructor has to arrive a day early in order to clear facility security and then install, configure, and test the computers designated for training, a problematic and often frustrating exercise complicated by corporate desktop security, configuration inconsistencies, and other limitations. Travel also adds another day or two of time, plus transportation, meals, and lodging for the instructor and, often, for students.
After the initial training is delivered, Worksoft customers face a training dilemma for new hires. The cost and logistics do not justify another onsite class for only one or two people, resulting in an informal, on-the-job training approach for new staff that inevitably compromises the quality of the instruction and therefore cripples product usage. Unfortunately, there did not seem to be any alternatives to this costly training method until Worksoft discovered Amazon Web Services (AWS) Solution Provider Grid Robotics and their product Cloud Lab Classroom.
Cloud Lab Classroom has been optimized for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and provides the ability for software trainers to rapidly spin up instances of the exact training environment required to deliver a course to their students—all done through a browser interface. The students and the instructor are no longer required to travel. Training on complex software can now be accomplished over the Internet using AWS and Cloud Lab Classroom.
Worksoft recently performed a pilot project in which the training course was delivered remotely using Amazon EC2 and Cloud Lab Classroom. The new service allows the instructor to create a pre-configured machine image on the cloud that can be duplicated for each student. These virtual machines can then be viewed interactively by the instructor during the delivery of the course. This "eye in the sky" gives the instructor the same ability to monitor student activity as is available in person, while allowing the students the same ability to view the instructor's system for the presentation of materials—enabling the entire class to participate in the same audio conference."
Worksoft founder Linda Hayes explains the result: "The instructor closely monitored student satisfaction with the delivery approach and also measured post-training support demand. The results showed that students were pleased with the approach and acquired the same knowledge and skills as those who attended onsite courses. Even better, those whose teams included offshore or offsite resources were able to attend the same training session together, enhancing the overall experience."
The pilot was a success, proving that the AWS and Cloud Lab Classroom training solution is cost effective and time efficient for both Worksoft and its customers. In fact, the pilot revealed that the new training method is actually more effective as a means of conferring product expertise to a team. As a result, Worksoft plans to offer online training as one of its primary delivery vehicles going forward. The company states that it expects increased revenues as customers are able to purchase additional training for new staff as well as reduced overhead from time and money previously spent on travel.
To learn more, visit http://www.worksoft.com/ .
Added August 15, 2011