A multinational pharmaceutical corporation, among the world's largest by revenue, wanted to centralize and optimize the development of training resources for its sales teams. This was quite an undertaking, as their training needs span 58 countries in 45 languages.
Until 2012, the client had no global structure for the development of sales team training content. Instead, development was spread across multiple internal and external teams that each served one country or market.
This led to redundancy, delays, and uneven quality. Sharing resources between markets was difficult because teams used different training development systems, many of which couldn't integrate with one another. Worse, many of their training assets sat with regional agencies, which made it easy to lose existing content as personnel and vendor agreements changed.
In 2012, the company restructured its training development structure, the newly minted Global Training Operations (GTO). GTO's with the goal was to centralize the control of training efforts, standardize content, and drive global efficiencies.
The next step was to consolidate the existing content and create global development processes that accomplished these goals while still facilitating localization. To do this, they need a single authoring tool that would meet their needs.
In the first quarter of 2013, GTO signed on with dominKnow's cloud-based authoring and learning content management system. At the time, the whole tool was known as Claro.
One GTO senior manager recalls three main criteria for their new authoring tool. They needed "sight of everything in one system," to prevent the duplications and losses of years prior. They also wanted a template-based design process to enable the quick and efficient creation of courseware. Claro checked these boxes, and it provided key features for the client's legal compliance like referencing and glossary terms.
However, the biggest advantage in Claro's favor was its translation capabilities – it supported more languages than competitors like Storyline, Captivate, or Lectora. As another GTO senior manager notes, many authoring tools support popular languages, but dominKnow's tools include "niche languages" that are hard to come by elsewhere.
It's an edge that dominKnow had at the time, and it's one that persists, eight years later.
Using Claro as a foundation, the client engineered a new training development process. The majority of new content was created by global curriculum development teams then translated and localized by regional teams for individual markets – which now number around 30.
A senior manager estimates that this process change reduced development costs by at least 60-70%. Another notes that centralizing their efforts in Claro made an enormous difference for efficiency by significantly reducing duplication of effort.
The gains didn't stop after the initial transition. Over the years, they've seen continual advances in their training output, both qualitative and quantitative.
Some of these upsides came from refining the way their teams use the tool.
Over time, they "realized that these tools were highly sophisticated" and they could use them to their greatest effect by concentrating the most extensive training within a single team.
As a result, they have a specialized development unit that partners with multiple curriculum teams to build all global content. If various regional teams need technical expertise while localizing the content, the developers would assist there as well.
"This has made a huge difference," a GTO senior manager explains. "The dedicated experts in Claro or dominKnow | ONE are in it, day in and day out, building content. That's awesome because we leverage the features better, and we get better quality content, more innovative content, and they get faster doing it."
The numbers back this up. In 2017, they implemented their new approach. In 2018, GTO completed 155 projects total. The next year, they doubled their output to 311. In 2020, the client forecasters predict they'll finish 593 projects.
One of the keys to this fruitful cross-team cooperation is dominKnow's built-in collaboration features. The tools facilitate both real-time and asynchronous communication, which is critical for a global structure. Comments and suggestions sit in the context of the authoring function for clarity of meaning and quick resolution.
dominKnow's features also support the client's ability to tier their teams' technical expertise. Workspaces can be adapted to the author's degree of skill. Non-authors can contribute knowledge or suggest changes in context, thanks to streamlined review features that simplify input and revision cycles.
Not all of the advances over the years are due to the client's internal changes. dominKnow's authoring tool has also grown in step with their operations. New features and UI improvements have led to large productivity gains for the company. Additionally, a senior officer says, the "dominKnow partnership has been invaluable in helping us explore new features as learner preferences evolve year after year."
Some of these gains are the result of direct collaboration with dominKnow to address the client's specific problems. According to one of the client's direct liaisons, "dominKnow has been very effective at understanding our requirements and responding with solution that best fix the need."
The earliest collaboration began right away. The pharmaceutical company's projects often require citations and footnotes which may be reused over and over. They're required by compliance, and they improve the learning experience for those who want additional information. Before GTO began building new courses in Claro, dominKnow developed a citation tool at their request. This has helped standardize their citation use, and the ability to search and reuse references while building content saves development time. Citation numbers are also automatically updated during edits, which saves time and prevents confusing errors.
Another example: for years, the client's developers manually generated documents that are required by their Medical Legal Regulatory (MLR) review process and important to markets with a more basic learning infrastructure.
In the past, GTO sank approximately 40-50 hours per month into producing the required screenshot and print outputs. Now, dominKnow provides a single-button solution that meets the client's specs so it takes seconds.
In addition to saving their developers around 500 hours per year, the single-source nature of this solution means they don't have to sacrifice the quality of their courses to make the compliance aspect more manageable. They can have highly interactive eLearning and a PDF/print version for compliance with no duplication of effort.
Many of the client's other gains spring from dominKnow's general commitment to improving their product for all users. They've found particular value in their recent upgrade to Claro's successor, dominKnow | ONE.
As one senior manager says, "If Claro was the FIAT, dominKnow [ONE] is the Ferrari."
That's because dominKnow turbocharged its authoring performance by streamlining the implementation of users' most popular custom actions. They built shortcuts to in-demand button behaviors and created integrations for common template components, like tab sets. They also introduced widgets to assist with complex actions like building branching scenarios.
All of these changes speed development for power users and open up new possibilities for everyone else. The result, in one training officer's words, is a "highly intuitive UI which enables us to build the content really fast. Anybody with MS PowerPoint experience should find it easy to build eLearning content [in dominKnow | ONE]. The user engagement features are exceptional in helping us create content that's highly interactive."
According to the client, the upgrade to dominKnow | ONE has allowed them to cut the development time of a 30-page eLearning course by 25%. They now spend 40-45 hours accomplishing what used to take around 60.
In fact, dominKnow | ONE has sped their production schedule significantly. Before the upgrade, they were averaging roughly 45 projects per month. Once developers got up to speed on new features, they found a whole new groove with 70 completed projects – 150% of their former output.
At that rate, they'll beat their ambitious yearly projection of 500 projects at a walk.
As exciting as the jump in productivity is, both senior managers we spoke to expressed the most enthusiasm for dominKnow | ONE's expanded creative potential. For instance, users gained much more flexibility in customizing themes and templates in the upgrade.
This particular client has always pushed the envelope on tailoring stock themes and templates to make the assets their own. In the past, many of their unique customizations had to be handled by dominKnow developers. Now, users can implement these changes – and many others – by themselves. This capability was a "long-standing, very popular demand" from their team.
"The beauty is you can customize them to any limit. You can do whatever you want," one senior manager says. "What comes out of dominKnow | ONE helps you break the conventional eLearning design we are used to. You can create content which is new to the learners, and we can easily get the learners hooked onto it."