Leveraging PSA for Education Services: Resource Management
Earlier this year we launched our new Education Services discipline, and the TSIA Education Services Advisory Board is now live, with more than a dozen education executives from companies including BMC, Red Hat, HP, Kronos, SAP, and others. A big shout out to my research team member driving education, Maria Manning Chapman, who is doing a fantastic job building out the discipline. My contribution to our education members will be covering the core technology used by education services, and in anticipation we added a category for learning management systems (LMS) to the 2010 Member Technology Survey so I already have some information about what tools companies are using and how satisfied they are with them. In 2011, I will be working on a market overview of learning management technology, which covers a wide array of tools including content development and management, knowledge management, video and screen capture tools, remote delivery/distance learning, etc. Look for this report around mid-2011.
The first inquiry I received from an education member was not about LMS, however, but more on core resource management. What do large companies use to manage education resources? Are there specialty tools, are do they rely on an existing resource management tool?
To answer this question, keep in mind that education services are part of professional services in many companies, with administrator and/or end user customer training part of the total package of services typically sold in a deal. Today’s professional services automation (PSA) suites are sophisticated enough to manage complex scheduling scenarios, making staffing recommendations and warning about resource shortages using analysis tools that factor in consultant skills, training, certifications, location, salary costs, etc.
To get some real-world examples, I contacted Compuware, whose Changepoint PSA suite was named a Recognized Innovator last month in Las Vegas. Today I had a chat with Kirstin Roberts, Lori Ellsworth and Rick Morreau from Compuware, who confirmed that their PSA customers frequently use Changepoint to manage resources for education, making sure the right resource is allocated for any training class, and alerting in advance of training classes scheduled with no clear instructor resource available. It sounds like lots of things are making education resource management more complex these days. As an example, remote/distance learning means that a single resource can teach a class for the East Coast in the morning and for the West Coast in the afternoon, all from their office with no travel required. With this level of flexibility, resources can be scheduled for multiple projects in a day.
Education customers use more of PSA than just resource management. The integration to billing systems and ERP means attendees can be entitled, tracked and billed correctly. The Compuware team offered several examples of how education services are using Changepoint today.
- One company uses Changepoint, integrated with their online registration system, to track class sizes, manage training resources, and even generate invoices for all the people registered for a course.
- Another company tracks each training class as a separate SKU within Changepoint, which are sold as packages to customers along with other consultant services. Delivery of all services, including training, are managed by the product manager as part of their deployment methodology.
- Another customer integrated Changepoint with their LMS to handle training “credits” and track cost.
I clearly have a lot to come up to speed on for our new education services members, so if you have any cool examples of how companies are leveraging innovative technology for the process of education customers, let me know! And as always, thanks for reading!