Building a business case for a learning platform – Part 1

March 21, 2020 in Manage Training



Building a business case for a learning platform – Part 1

Are you ready to bring the power of an online learning platform into your organisation? That’s fantastic news! Perhaps your decision is all that is required and you can immediately request a demo from Tribal Habits and get going.

Alternatively, while you may be ready to go, your organisation may require you to demonstrate the business case for this proposed online learning platform. You may need to bring other decision-makers or stakeholders into the loop and obtain their approval. Alternatively, you may want to simply take yourself through a process to ensure your selected online learning platform is a good choice.

In either case, what you need is a business case for an online learning platform. In this series of articles, we will help you write a business case for a new online learning platform in a way which is both efficient and persuasive. The three articles in this series provide you with two key parts to the process.

  1. The first part is a 6-step instructional guide designed to help you build your business case and get internal approval for an online learning platform.
  2. The second part is an example of how a fictional company, ACME Co., put this framework to use to get approval for an online learning platform to optimise the organisation’s induction processes. The purpose of part two is to show you the framework in action, but feel free copy and paste any of the wording into your business case if it serves your needs.

In each article, we will review two steps in the process, along with the example from ACME Co.

  1. The first article examines step 1 (Define the problem) and step 2 (Explore potential solutions).
  2. The second article looks at step 3 (Recommend a preferred solution) and step 4 (Explain the pricing).
  3. The third article reviews step 5 (Describe the implementation) and step 6 (Provide your impression).

You can also download a guidebook of all three articles (including the consolidated ACME Co example) in a single business case template for a learning platform.

Step 1 – Define the problem

Defining the ‘problem’ (which can also be a challenge or opportunity) you are trying to overcome is perhaps the most critical part of building a business case. If you are unable to identify and clearly describe the challenge or opportunity you are trying to address, you will have little chance of receiving buy-in for your project.

A pragmatic way to approach defining your problem is to look at it in three stages.

Identify and justify the need

Here you want to state the problem that you are trying to overcome as clearly as possible. It is crucial to focus on the heart of the problem rather than jumping to a solution. Justifying the problem and relating it to your back organisation will help align your stakeholders and increase your chance of getting approval. Try to link how this exercise will help the organisation achieve it’s strategic objects or avoid a significant loss.

What is the desired outcome?

Try to quantify the outcome, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Use phrases like “by overcoming this challenge, we will achieve x, which means the company delivers on goal y“. It is worth introducing how success is measured at this point.

Who stands to benefit, and how?

Explain what solving this challenge will mean for your staff, the management team, your customers, the reputation of your organisation and anyone else that might be impacted by the project.

Step 2 – Explore potential solutions

This step is about showing that you’ve done your homework. Explaining that you have looked at the problem broadly and have explored multiple approaches to solving it is the aim of this stage.

To that end, comparing three very similar technology providers suggests that you have not looked outside the box to overcome the challenge.

Your management team is looking to address their due diligence. They want to be confident that a rigorous exploration of possible solutions has taken place. It’s your job to give them that confidence.

Look to compare several tech providers, but look at providers that approach the problem in different ways. Perhaps there is an option to address the situation internally or through face-to-face engagement – if so, explore that. Even if these potential solutions don’t end up working out, your investigation of them suggests you’ve left no stone uncovered.

From a feasibility point of view, it’s worth introducing the costs, implementation hurdles and other vital aspects of each solution here. These points only need to be addressed at a high-level at this stage for the sake of comparison.

Need help?

If you require any assistance with creating a business case to help support your organisation in its consideration of Tribal Habits, please reach to us at [email protected]. We’d be happy to help discuss your objectives, develop optimised solutions and pricing ideas, and ensure that your organisation is ready for a successful launch of its new learning platform.

Example: ACME Co: Moving to online learning

The challenge

ACME Co. is growing rapidly with staff numbers tripling (to 250) in the last year. The growth of our business presents many opportunities but also some challenges.

We have received feedback from new starters that the way we bring new employees into the business could be improved. The biggest challenge we face in this space is consistency. Some staff have indicated that their induction into our organisation has been excellent. At the same time, others suggest that they have faced challenges, such as difficulties in understanding our product range and knowing where to go to get help.

The first days and weeks of a new employee’s tenure at ACME Co. go a long way to dictating their happiness and success within our organisation. Given that customer service and product knowledge is a pillar that we’ve built our business around, to achieve our mission of ‘being the product experts’ it is critical that our staff gain expert-level knowledge of our products as soon as possible.

I believe we need a structured process to bring new starters into our organisation in a consistent, standardised manner ensuring they receive the information required to succeed.

Optimising our induction processes will increase staff happiness, reduce the time to productivity of new starters, remove the training burden on current staff, ensure service levels and product knowledge is standard across our sites, lead to improved customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive more sales.

Potential solutions

I have spent the past two months exploring solutions to improve our induction processes. Through the process, I identified three potential solutions to overcome our induction challenge.

  1. Structured face-to-face training
  2. Off-the-shelf online induction training
  3. Customised online induction training

Face-to-face certainly has its benefits in creating a connection between employees, but it requires a lot of staff time to train our new starters. This is the process that we’ve followed to date, and we’ve seen it fall down several times when we get busy, resulting in inconsistent training of new starters.

I have investigated three providers of off-the-shelf induction training: I do not believe this is a viable option for us. While professionally packaged and always available through an online portal, off-the-shelf induction training is generic in its nature, and will not help us achieve our goal of providing staff with product-specific knowledge or giving them insights into how our organisation operates.

In contrast, customised online learning presents an excellent opportunity for our organisation. By creating our induction training, we can directly engage with new starters and ensure they receive all the information required to succeed in our organisation. We can make this information available to them 24/7 through an online platform, removing the need to schedule training and pull other members out of their job to run the sessions. I have investigated three potential providers in this area and have uncovered that the cost and ability to create training is the most significant variable at play here.