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Sogeti

Sogeti USA Turns to WrightRobbins Learning Consultant to Define the Best Path to Readiness

Business Challenge

Sogeti USA is a Microsoft Enterprise Partner and the United States subsidiary of a global technology services provider. Sogeti’s U.S. Microsoft practice employs more than 550 consultants in 24 cities.

When the Microsoft Enterprise & Partner Group (EPG) conducted a global survey of partner needs as part of their planning process for 2009, Sogeti responded with a core concern that many partners share: readiness and training to stay up-to-date on the latest Microsoft technologies, in a way that is affordable and timely.

“Our goal was to find an easy and effective way for our consultants to upgrade their skill sets,” said Jason Tolbert, National Director of Microsoft Applications Platform for Sogeti. In the past, Sogeti had struggled with the process of putting together a cohesive national training plan to enable consultants across the organization to drive new business opportunities. Training tended to be done on a regionalized and ad-hoc basis, with local units often coming up with training plans on their own. Without a standardized approach, it was especially difficult to achieve consistent training results from location to location, as well as in tracking and motivating consultants to ensure followthrough.

“Microsoft has so many training options available – from the individual product groups, the Microsoft Partner team, local Microsoft offices, certified partners, online, self-paced, classroom, events, airlifts – it’s hard to know where to start,” said Sanjeev Agarwal, Group Senior Vice President – Global Microsoft Solutions Practice at Sogeti. “We need to ensure that we invest our training resources wisely and cost effectively.”

Solution

The Microsoft Enterprise & Partner Group turned to WrightRobbins, a technology learning and marketing consultancy, to help Sogeti USA develop and carry out a comprehensive readiness plan.

“One of Microsoft’s goals is to keep our partners satisfied,” said Sylvain Mercier, Microsoft Worldwide Alliance Manager for Sogeti. ―When Sogeti shared their problems with readiness, we needed to secure the knowledge and the capacity to resolve those issues. The answer was to bring in a Microsoft Certified Learning Consultant.”

The Enterprise & Partner Group had been working with WrightRobbins Learning Consultants since mid-2008 to connect enterprise partners with Microsoft Certified Learning Consultants (MCLCs). Learning Consultants are experts in technology training and certification: they understand the complex landscape of Microsoft training resources available to partners — and how to package them in an overall readiness plan that maximizes ROI.

Beginning in October 2008, Keith Mayer, WrightRobbins Director of Learning and Technology and an MCLC, began working with Sogeti to initiate a centralized readiness planning process. He worked directly with the Sogeti management team led by Sanjeev Agarwal and Jason Tolbert, as well as the Microsoft Partner team, led by Sylvain Mercier. Together they analyzed training needs based on Sogeti’s revenue targets and then set readiness goals.

Mayer developed a readiness plan that outlined prescriptive learning paths to address Sogeti’s skill gaps in a cost and time effective way. The learning curriculum is focused on nine tracks that build consultant expertise in Core IO (Infrastructure Optimization), BPIO (Business Productivity Infrastructure Optimization), and APO (Application Platform Optimization) technologies.

The readiness plan combines both free partner resources and fee-based training, which Sogeti chose to supplement with a Microsoft E-Learning subscription.

To implement the training, Sogeti uses a systematic approach to assign individual consultants into specific learning tracks. A streamlined reporting system ensures that each consultant completes the training and achieves related certifications in a timely manner.

Benefits

Six months into the 18-month readiness plan, 475 of Sogeti USA’s Microsoft consultants have received training, and have expressed strong satisfaction with the readiness program. Sogeti has been able to:

Save on training costs

By using online learning rather than instructor-led classroom training, Sogeti will cut direct training costs and related expenses such as travel by 96% over the project timeline. Sogeti also projects that certification exam costs will be reduced by half.

Protect billable hours

With an MCLC-driven training program designed around self-paced learning options, Sogeti has reduced overall training hours per student by about one-third over traditional classroom learning. This on-demand training takes place during non-billable consultant downtime, allowing Sogeti to avoid the loss of a significant number of billable hours. Streamline and standardize training across the organization

Mayer’s in-depth knowledge of the wealth of Microsoft learning resources enabled Sogeti to cut through the confusion of too many training choices and streamline the training process.

“We used to spend weeks identifying learning options and putting together training programs,” said Tolbert. “Keith was able to put together a comprehensive training program with tried-and-true methods in record time. It gave us a direct path for developing the skills we needed.”

With this centralized approach to readiness planning, Sogeti USA was able to roll out its first-ever nationwide training effort, to all locations simultaneously. More employees have been able to take advantage of training, and there has been a corresponding increase in the number of consultant certifications earned.

Gain strategic insight into workforce capacity

The Learning Consulting process included a detailed skill inventory of Sogeti’s nationwide consulting team, to uncover skill gaps and identify opportunities to expand capabilities. Once training was underway, WrightRobbins began reporting on consultant participation, certifications achieved, and compliance with training goals.

“With the ability to track our consultants’ expertise, we can make shifts as needed to align with our strategic direction,” said Tolbert. “Working with a Learning Consultant has given us a whole new view of training for the organization.”

Empower employees with the right skills

Interviews with participants indicate that Sogeti USA’s consultants have been empowered with the exact skills they needed to work toward achieving revenue goals. In addition, the self-paced, on-demand learning options have resulted in a high degree of knowledge retention as consultants put their training into action.

Pleased with the success of this US subsidiary readiness program, Sogeti plans to continue it into the next fiscal year and beyond. Sogeti is also making plans to take the program beyond the US and roll out similar training for consultants across the global organization.