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The Key Component Of Energy Software Success Is Missing...(Hint: It's Training)

Peter Bernard's picture
Chief Executive Officer Datagration

Peter Bernard serves as Chariman and CEO at Houston-based Datagration. He is a multi-decade veteran of the oil and gas industry, having served in various executive roles prior to joining...

  • Member since 2022
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  • Oct 14, 2022
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Customers who are happy and recognizing the value of Energy Software often describe and credit Customer Success methods as the driver for their adoption and efficiency gains. An impactful Customer Success team understands what their customer does and how they do it. The CS team utilizes their knowledge to deliver training to their clients that is relevant, meaningful and timely. Not all customers have the same expectations, goals or experience the value add from a software purchase. How can we successfully execute training to ensure that our customers’ needs are met, and they experience upside? At Datagration, we believe the answer is analytical thinking, alignment and multithreaded training. 

Software training may take several forms, historically companies have sent a handful of team members to a 3–5-day course where everyone sits in a classroom style room, behind a borrowed computer, and walks through pre-defined exercises, outlined in a 3-ring binder, waiting for the break, lunch and the end of the day. More recently, training is a singular onboarding followed up with an email from the CS team received on a Quarterly basis outlining the customer’s subscription and letting them know that they can contact Support if there’s questions. Helpful, right? In our current environment, remote training has become necessary and often preferred, creating a scenario where customer teams may be in the same room together, in their individual offices, or working from their home offices. In a remote environment, it’s easy for clients to keep their camera off and continue working, walk around and pick up their home, chat with a colleague, or even run an errand. How do you overcome these obstacles and provide impactful training?  

For any training, it is imperative that you have an engagement plan and consider scalability. Are you training a large organization where hundreds of users need to be trained or a 10-person shop? Whether a large or small organization, training in person or remote, collaborate with your internal Sales counterpart to identify the customer Champion(s). Work closely with this identified individual(s) to align goals and outline the training program. Tailor your sessions to the audience, prepare relevant content. For a large organization, success requires a “train the trainer” approach wherein a group of users within the customer office are trained and recognized as an internal resource for training and support of their organization’s teams.  

Training should not be one onboarding session and then done, but rather a series of planned sessions each covering content with increasing depth. Few can sit down to work with a new software and understand what to do and in what order; keeping this in mind, start with the basics and then build. At Datagration, we have 3 Phases. Phase 1 is an onboarding session with a series of follow-up sessions. These follow-up sessions may take different forms, one-on-one reviews, deep dive on models and methodology, or open office hours as determined by the customer’s needs and preference. In preparation for Phase 1 training, we ask the client to introduce us to the team and share with them our interactions to date and their data sources incorporated. For a customer to be successful, this relationship must be a partnership.  

Death by power point is not a training. Training should be engaging, the client should be on their machine, clicking and following along as the CS team navigates the platform and associated deliverables. Engage the client, what is the client’s typical workflow? What do they like/dislike about this process? Is the workflow in review similar or different to their existing workflow? Highlight the software’s key differentiators. Gamify when possible.  

It’s important to recognize that there are different learning styles, competing priorities and those that have their preferred software. Creating a repository for self-service material is critical for scaling engagement and providing resources 24/7 regardless of business hours or hemisphere. In addition to in-person or remote training, access to white papers and how-to’s are critical. At Datagration we have built a Knowledge Base with articles ranging from our most basic functionality to the most advanced facets of the software, including scripting. In-app tutorials have proven to be effective and maintainable training tools. Rather than posting videos that become stale after the next development cycle, an in-app walkaround allows for the underlying software to update while the text needs only to be adjusted or have slight revisions.  

When a Customer Success team is thinking analytically, aligning with the customer and providing multithreaded training, they’re more likely to help the customer to realize the value of the partnership. The value of the partnership becomes material when the customer participates and the Leaders in their organization support their teams’ training. When clients become proficient in the software, the upside is realized; for Datagration clients, those gains come in the form of reduced LOE, ‍increased production, operational efficiencies, and enhanced financial performance across their entire organization.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 14, 2022

Training and education are ongoing activities, not one time events, and I do think that part often gets lost in the industry as well. 

Peter Bernard's picture
Thank Peter for the Post!
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