31 July 2013

Success Story: Cloud Skills Academy enables Warwickshire County Council to introduce a new learning culture

Warwickshire County Council covers the area of five 'tier 2' district councils, including Warwick District Council. The main services provided by the County Council include Education, Social Services, Libraries, Transport and Trading Standards.

The Challenge

Warwickshire County Council is committed to making the county a better place for everyone, whether to live, work or visit. Government-led funding cuts mean the budget for achieving this purpose has been reduced. To maintain vital services, the Council has needed to review the efficiency of internal tools and processes in order to achieve maximum value.

The IT department initiated a move to Google Apps for Business in line with the new ICT Strategy to maximise accessibility for all staff and support flexible working within the council. With over 4500 staff across the organisation they had found that face to face training for the introduction of new tools was a costly process, due to loss of staff productivity, cost of trainers and the timescales required to complete.

The Council had been looking at e-Learning as part of their ongoing training processes, and with an initial pilot of 500 staff making the move to Google Apps for Business, the early adopter phase to an additional 150 users allowed them the perfect opportunity to test drive.

The Solution

“The initial roll out for Google Apps for Business provided the ideal environment to introduce a new training culture in the Council which allows users to chose how they receive training,” explains Alison Ward, ICT Training and Development Manager at Warwickshire County Council. “We had contemplated writing our own e-learning programme for the roll out, but this would have cancelled out the time and resource savings we were looking to achieve”.

Warwickshire approached Ancoris and chose to implement their Cloud Skills Academy e-learning platform, fronted by a tailored “Going Google” intranet site, which would be the first place that all users visit for any questions on the migration to Google Apps.

The Ancoris Cloud Skills team worked with Warwickshire County Council to tailor the standard Cloud Skills Going Google site, to ensure all their key messages, best practices and migration procedures were included. When a user visited the Going Google site for more information on the migration to Google Apps, they could then link to the Cloud Skills Academy to find out more about using Google Apps Email, Calendar, Docs and Sites. As Warwickshire County Council were migrating from Lotus Notes to Google Apps, Cloud Skills ensured topics were covered in the Academy that would be relevant to Lotus Notes users.

The Benefits

“The Cloud Skills Academy allowed us to move away from the pure traditional face-to-face training, with its associated costs, to a blended approach incorporating both face-to-face and online learning process. Many users already had experience of Google Apps from their personal use and the new training model allowed these users to build on their existing knowledge. However, we were still able to offer internally run face-to-face training for those who felt they required it.”
“The ability of users to refer back to the Cloud Skills Academy as they use new tools or features or encounter problems has also been invaluable. Our Service Desk have also responded to user queries by providing links to the Cloud Skills Academy; reducing calls raised, encouraging user self-help. Staff have appreciated being able to try the tools out and become accustomed to them gradually rather than being forced to apply them in one go. User feedback has been really positive.” explains Alison.

“As the Council looks to modernise, the Cloud Skills Academy has encouraged us to think about different ways of doing things. It has allowed us to tailor our support to different users within the organisation whilst reducing costs. The pilot has been really positive and we are looking forward to completing the roll out across the organisation, more quickly and efficiently than the traditional entirely face-to-face training model would have enabled.”

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