In this case new study Christopher Brady, Associate Director of Training & Document Processing at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, explains how his firm handled the training side of their Office 2010 rollout…
New software rollouts can be painful at a law firm, especially if they are major ones like our upgrade to Microsoft Office 2010 was. Something new, especially technology, is often scary for users, but we need to be current with our software so it’s a necessary rite of passage. My job as Associate Director of Training & Document Processing at Kramer Levin is to make new as unintimidating as possible and to reduce or eliminate the pain caused by technology rollouts. Truly, I needed to make sure we would get the gain without the pain.
Every time our firm plans a new migration or software rollout, I prepare myself to deal with less-than- enthusiastic lawyers and staff and to assist the helpdesk as needed once a new product goes live. My challenge is to motivate attorneys and staff to learn the applications. Understandably, they often don’t want to be pulled away from billing time or can’t be away from their desks for live training classes, even to learn new software applications that are vital to their daily work at the firm. Getting the training to take hold is no small feat. Since I am the only in-house trainer at Kramer Levin, it is sometimes necessary for me to call upon outside help from legal training experts, especially in the case of Microsoft Office 2010 which included major changes to Word and Outlook – two applications that our attorneys and employees use all day, every day.
In late October 2011, when it came time for Kramer Levin to migrate to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010, I chose Capensys as our training partner because I knew they would help me deliver effective and efficient training programs to the 700+ attorneys and employees of the firm. Having worked with them in the past, I knew how knowledgeable their team is in adult learning, particularly within law firm settings. They also proved to be very responsive and have innovative service products that worked well for our firm.
Our strategy was to market the training programs in a way that encouraged staff to become enthusiastic, or at least positive, about learning about the new software features. Our end-users had a wide variety of preferences as to how – and when – they wanted to be trained so we wanted to be as flexible as possible.
If more lawyers could retain more information about Office 2010, then pressure would be relieved on the help desk and floor support once we went live, and the efficiency with which daily tasks were done would increase among all firm employees.
The Pain-less Process
Once we began the migration to Office 2010 in October 2011, it took approximately 5 months to complete. We wrapped up the migration in late February 2012. For training, we used a blended learning solution which was comprised of both live learning and e-learning sessions from Capensys. This helped us overcome our limited number of in-house trainers (myself and two consultants who were with us for a limited time) and the e-learning components meant people would not have to be away from their desks as much. The series of e-learning and live learning sessions we came up with proved to be unintimidating and the multitude of options made the staff more eager to learn.
Capensys’ e-learning training tools were used as a pre-learning option, which was not mandatory but was strongly recommended because of its clear benefits. About 50% of our staff used the e-learning solutions, which meant they did not have to attend as many live learning sessions.
The live learning and migration was done in groups of 60-70 of people per week, starting with an initial pilot group that proved to be beneficial in helping us to better understand how to effectively tailor the live learning component. The feedback from our pilot group, which was 100% representative of every practice group and administrative department at the firm, led to our development of three different live learning sessions that varied incrementally by length of time.
A one-hour session was developed as a high-level overview and demo. A three-hour session was designed to be a one-hour overview plus an advanced two hour hands-on training. And after reviewing feedback from the pilot group, we realized it might be a good idea to tailor a two-hour advanced training session for those who had already completed the e-learning or were comfortable with the new operating system and user interface and did not need the additional hour long overview that the three-hour session encompassed. Again, more flexibility and options encouraged staff to be enthusiastic and grasp more information.
How ‘New’ Came to Be Exciting
Beyond being ideal training partners that offered exceptional training solutions, Capensys also did a great job with pre-migration marketing by developing tools that best fit with our company culture and actually got our employees excited and eager to learn about the new software. Janis Richman of Capensys made some really effective 15-20 second animated power point tutorials on 2-3 of the most important aspects of Word and Outlook to give employees a basic and interactive intro to the training and new software upgrades.
Unfortunately, for this migration, we were unable to use my favorite learning tool from Capensys, Pathfinder, because our learning management system (LMS), wasn’t compatible with it, despite our best efforts to make it work. I believe the Pathfinder would have been useful because it provides an interface for people to customize their e-learning based on their job position, responsibilities and daily work activities. I understand that Capensys now has a standalone version of the Pathfinder, so look forward to working with that or, if we ever switch to another LMS, I will be glad to give the Pathfinder another go.
Overall the experience using a blended learning approach from Capensys was much better than using canned e-learning tools provided by Microsoft and our employees have been more eager to learn something new than ever before. Our rollout of Microsoft Office 2010 proved that you can get the gain – without the pain!