Cable & Wireless virtually guarantees skills improvement using GoToWebinar
Cable & Wireless Worldwide is a leading international communications company, providing critical communication networks and services in the United Kingdom and globally. The company delivers high-quality managed voice, data and IP-based services and applications. It owns the UK’s largest fibre network, and its international cable network provides connectivity to 153 countries, either directly or indirectly through partners. Cable & Wireless had revenues of £3,646 million in 2009, employs about 13,000 people and is headquartered in Bracknell, England.
The challenge: scaling up online knowledge and skills transfer
Staff at Cable & Wireless are no strangers to e-learning, as the company has been using virtual classroom and webinar tools for flexible, online knowledge and skills transfer for many years. However, the very success of this approach had created its own challenges. “In 2009, we recognized the need to increase the level of activity in this area in order to meet growing demand within the business,” recalled Mike Booth, learning technologies manager. “As this was beyond the capacity of our existing e-tools, we explored what the market had to offer.”
Booth and his team wanted to leverage webinars as the basis of a much broader range of learning initiatives. The platform they sought needed to be highly robust to give them full confidence in faultless performance when delivering programmes to a wide range of internal and third-party attendees. Another important requirement was a high-quality user experience throughout the end-to-end process. “This was critical if we were to deliver the quality of teaching and training essential to support the goals of the business,” he explained.
After evaluating several web conferencing tools, Booth selected Citrix® GoToWebinar®. This easy-to-use, scalable webinar tool was simple and intuitive to operate at every stage – from the initial setup of each session and the automated invitation and confirmation of attendees to the detailed and comprehensive back-end reporting and metrics after the session was completed.
“We especially liked the fact that, to join a webinar, all the participant had to do was click on a link to dial in, without the complexities of downloading software,” he said. “Equally, GoToWebinar offered a range of functions to enable interactive learning that could fully engage participants in an effective and enjoyable experience.” Cable & Wireless also was impressed with the ability of GoToWebinar to support up to 1,000 attendees.
GoToWebinar was implemented in late 2009 as the platform for a number of training programmes delivered to internal audiences. Examples include Management Matters, a monthly management programme covering such issues as performance reviews and leading change, and Perfect Pitch, a weekly training session for the sales and commercial teams looking at how best to position the company’s products and services.
More recently, Cable & Wireless introduced a new programme, Obsessional about Our Customers, designed to help customer service teams and consultants understand and deliver consistently high-quality service and support. At the same time, the company extended the use of GoToWebinar to customers, offering web events to educate them on the benefits and use of its products and services.
Webinars typically last for one hour and are hosted by experts from the relevant field, as well as senior leaders within the organisation. Each session is designed to get a consistent message across to a large community quickly and effectively.
Getting the most from a powerful webinar tool
The Citrix Online team provided invaluable support in enabling the training teams to use GoToWebinar to best advantage, in particular in initial set-up and proactive use of polling and questioning techniques to test understanding and canvass opinions of participants.
“The post-session reporting and recording functionality is simple yet comprehensive,” said Booth. “Within a single, clear report, it includes the names and addresses of all attendees for easy follow-up, shows how involved participants were during the session – via a special ‘attentiveness’ gauge built into the webinar software — and how they responded to polls and questions.”
Increasing demand drives new webinar programmes
The response to the new series of webinars has been uniformly positive and continues to shape future content and design. Feedback is sought at two stages. A poll at the end of each session records immediate reactions in determining whether or not the webinar was a good use of each participant’s time. This is followed up several days later with an online survey designed to generate a more considered response to the various aspects of the webinar process, including relevance of the course content, performance of the individual presenters and the ability to transfer the concepts learned back to the workplace.
The success of GoToWebinar is evidenced by a dramatic increase in demand for webinar programmes, to the point where not all proposals can be accommodated within the time required. “We have had to prioritise which webinars to develop, based on the return each request is likely to generate in relation to the time, expertise and effort required to create them,” noted Booth.
Webinar series such as Management Matters and Perfect Pitch have become strong brands in their own right and word of mouth has established them as key parts of Cable & Wireless’s company-wide information sharing, education and training programme. The Cable & Wireless I-matters personal development programme will introduce quarterly webinars to complement the existing monthly workbooks, enabling individual staff to work on strengths and weaknesses.
Booth is currently looking to expand the use of GoToWebinar across other parts of the Cable & Wireless business. In the area of technical training, for example, a new series of webinars is in development to support hands-on instruction in routers and networks at the company’s technical centre in Birmingham.
“GoToWebinar,” Booth concluded, “offers the ideal channel to provide information and training to widely differing audiences in a way that is informative and enjoyable and leads to long-term knowledge and skills improvement across the whole business.”