The majority of records managers work in a public office and thus a formal business case must be approved before public money can be allocated. At Linked Training we are frequently asked to provide information to records teams putting together a business case for HP TRIM (and now also Records Manager 8 – RM8) eLearning.
Every organisation will have a different reason and required outcome for selecting eLearning as part of their HP TRIM / RM8 delivery package so I’ve packaged our general advice into this article, and you can add your organisations specific situation and detail to support your case. The exact structure of a business case will vary organisation by organisation and it’s important to be aware of any templates or structures preferred in your organisation.
There are both reactive and proactive situations on which a HP TRIM eLearning business case is built.
- Reactive business cases occur when negative events impact the quality or volume of training your team is able to deliver. Situations such as the impact of budget reductions on availability of travel allowances or number of people in your team, or you’ve lost the only person capable of delivering quality training, are negative events. With the restructuring of government departments it is not unusual for a department to find they now have employees across the country and the number of people requiring training has increased dramatically, without an associated increase in budget.
- Proactive business cases occur when you identify where and how you can provide improved quality, access to or budget savings in the delivery of training. You may want to ensure you can provide training immediately on employment of new staff, or guaranteed consistency of training quality, content and message, or you’ve already trained all your staff and their increased TRIM literacy means they no longer require personal trainer support, or it is less costly to continuously improve and upgrade training by purchasing training content externally.
In any situation you need to be able to validate and provide evidence of both the need for eLearning and the anticipated results. However obvious it is to you that what you are requesting will be of value and provide the required solution, it may not be to the manager approving your budget.
There are four critical elements that should be included in your case, although if you are using a template these may not be presented under the headings I have presented, nor necessarily be covered as four separate points. The actual problem you are trying to solve will dictate the level of emphasis to be placed on each element.
1. THE PROBLEM & IMPACT
Clarify clearly the problem you are trying to solve (cost of training, ability to have access to training on commencement, ability to guarantee consistent quality of training, lack of immediate access to quality help desk service, achievement of strategic goals, etc.).
Once you have clarified the problem, explain the impact this has on achieving the recordkeeping policy or standards in your organisation (e.g. without immediate access to training people fall into the habit of using the shared drive and are difficult to revert, or a delay in using TRIM means document security is at risk).
Describe the solution and how eLearning fits achieves this.
2. ALIGNMENT WITH GOALS
Where possible, in a business case find alignment of your solution with either the whole of organisation strategic goals, your business unit’s strategic goals, or records management goals.
For example if an organisational strategic goal is “improved efficiency in use of technology to provide better customer service” you can describe how access to information using TRIM / RM8 supports this and/or TRIM / RM8 ensures access to the correct information for customers (or whatever is most relevant in your organisation).
3. COMPARATIVE COSTS
Provide a realistic cost comparison between options for delivering the training program your organisation requires to achieve the goals. You will need to have first identified the type of program that will achieve the goals within your organisation. Are you replacing instructor led delivery completely with eLearning? Or will the eLearning be part of a blended program, and thus reduce the need for repeat training and reduce at desk and help support from the records unit? For instance an effective blended program with eLearning, depending on the maturity of TRIM use in your organisation, may be providing face to face training for Super Users using the eLearning in the classroom, and then having the Super Users support other users in the workplace, with the other users completing their training by eLearning.
When considering the costs of instructor led delivery include:
- Travel & accommodation
- In-house course development time for new courseware or creating eLearning internally
- Printing of training manuals
- Trainer ( either at a outsourced trainer rate or as the % of a current position)
- Course administration time
- Post course support time
If your business case is to support outsourcing eLearning rather than developing it in-house It will be useful to provide a cost (and risk) comparison. You will need to cost:
- Development time
- eLearning software licences, now and ongoing
- Upgrade time required for future TRIM/RM8 upgrades
- Upgrade time required to maintain compatibility with versions of operating systems (e.g. Windows and Internet Explorer)
4. OUTCOME BENEFITS
Make sure the business case explains the benefits beyond the price and time. Whilst delivering training at less cost per person is attractive, your manager needs to be confident the use of eLearning within your training program will provide improved training and business outcomes.
Examples of benefits relevant to your organisation may include:
- A quality training program can be sustained regardless of training skillset within records unit staff, or the volume of other records management work required to be completed
- By using the eLearning to embed fundamental TRIM skills records staff will have more time available to assist individuals with more complex business process related EDRMS usage
- All staff will receive a consistent message related to expectations of TRIM use, recordkeeping responsibilities and titling regardless of their manager’s viewpoint of records management
- As new staff can be trained immediately on commencement they are less reliant on training from within their business unit to commence being a productive team member (as they are if required to wait for instructor led delivery)
If you have covered this set of elements within your business case you will have put forward a strong and fully considered case to your manager who will now have a comprehensive understanding of the situation and sufficient information on which to base an informed decision.