News 4 mins read

Digital Badging: 10,000 reasons why Software AG offers free, self-paced product & solution enablement

A year and a half ago, we pivoted from traditional paid, instructor-led training to a free, self-guided model online. We wanted to share the 5 lessons we have learned along the way.

Sven Roeleven Sven Roeleven

“May you live in interesting times” is an expression that has been overused in the past couple years, but the environment in which enterprise software operates is keeping the saying relevant as 2022 winds down.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, enablement teams have raced to adapt to the new reality with work from home.  Now labour shortages and the uncertain global economy have added urgency to enabling customers and partners to achieve time to value faster. According to the experts:

  • McKinsey finds that 87% of executives say they have a skills gap and 69% of companies report an increase in skill building because of the pandemic
  • In its human capital perspective on Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2022, CEOs say technology
    is the largest area of growth they’re seeing, and “the need for more people and skills is the external factor that will bring the most disruption to their business strategies.” 
  • Within the next five years, 50 percent of all employees will need reskilling and 40 percent of core skills are expected to change (World Economic Forum, 2020).

The democratization of tools and information – including embedding skills training into the workforce ecosystem – are part of what organizations can proactively do to adapt and succeed.  

In the face of this challenge, the benefits of digital badging are well established:    

For learners, free, self-paced, just-in timing training enables them to build skills & expertise and contributes to career advancement, recognition, becoming expert at their own pace/on demand while building a personal brand. 

For businesses, self-paced training means increasing user adoption, mitigating project risk and faster time to value.

For partners, self-paced learning can speed implementation and time to value for their customers. 

And for marketing, when badge earners share their achievement on social media, the issuing organization benefits from brand exposure.  It’s a Win Win Win Win!

At the beginning of last year, Software AG was still offering traditional paid, instructor-led training. It was time to commit to digital badging.  Here’s our story and our recommendations to you if you choose to follow this path.

We introduced three classes initially:  solution (sales) and product (internal technical roles and customers & partners) and competencies, with three levels of achievement in each class (associate, professional, and expert).  We took an agile approach to pilot, and then adapted, enhanced in preparation for external launch to customers and partners two months later.  New systems and processes were simultaneously introduced.

The demand far exceeded our original expectations. In less than 1 ½ years, more than 10,000 badges for products, solutions, and competencies have been earned by partners and customers. 

And the feedback from our learners confirms the established benefits:

“With our portfolio of customers relying on VEA to deliver quick time to value, it is imperative that our team has the latest Software AG solutions, product and implementation knowledge.  Software AG’s flexible, self-paced training and remote certification options help VEA to maintain our competitive edge without spending days in a classroom, away from our customers.”  – Zach Bennet, CEO & Chief Architect, Visual Enterprise Architecture.

If you are an organization that is considering introducing a digital badging program, please learn from our experience:

  1. Agile is great:  Ensure you introduce participants to the project methodology before you immerse them in it.
  2. Plan to expand:  The success of your badging program will create demand for internal groups to issue digital credentialing (HR, Professional Services, etc.)
  3. Plan to evolve:  Build curriculum refresh requirements into your annual planning cycle with your stakeholders.  Content must keep pace as solutions and circumstances evolve.
  4. Maintain rigor over your credentialing standards as you expand & evolve.  From the beginning, standardize learning requirements and maintain the value of every credential without dilution.  We established templates for learning that are leveraged by each class of badge.
  5. Do it now – the demand is there! Operationalize enablement and embed your learning into your organization’s way of working.  Your training portfolio can be offered for individuals on-demand.  And with even additional impact, it can be leveraged by the business for just-in-time, focused go-to-market programs.

Related articles

  • News

    How our partners can be more like Michelangelo

    As Michelangelo said, at age 87, “I am still learning,” Software AG also believes continuous learning is critical. So, to help you, our partners, serve our joint customers optimally, we are offering free, certified continuous training. Imagine educating yourself about…
    Sven Roeleven Sven Roeleven