Train Before You Buy, Why More Automation Platforms Should Offer Training

After spending the past week working through the intricacies of training on Nintex it is evident that more automation platforms need to take the time to train potential buyers. While offering a demo is a great way to get organizations introduced, it doesn’t give much overall value of understanding the nuances that each of the products carries.


Automation Platforms, much like SharePoint, are cumbersome to introduce most individuals to use. Many organizations have the hope of introducing these solutions as a way for departments to automate issues on their own, rather than bringing in the information technology or the enterprise systems departments. I beg to differ in this logic for a small organization. Many of the line of business employees, we encounter in small (500 employees or less) may not have an interest in learning Boolean logic or what a list query means. These skills ultimately need to be realized by the information technology/enterprise system departments. By starting with I.T. departments taking a look at platform based solutions the organization can make a call based on what I.T. can support rather than relying on consulting and solutions tech support to be the main contributing backbone.

Consulting is a great avenue to bring a new set of eyes in for a project that may be stalled out, needing more developer/programmer power, or a project that required an outside unbiased opinion. Yet, for smaller organizations it should not be the main structure supporting all the vital organs or building out a project. After evaluating Nintex at TekDog, I am comfortable the organization’s decision either way to acquire this platform or not. Empowerment leads towards an eventual goal of the self-sustaining I.T. Department.

As we move towards the online training facility age, I will still stand behind good brick and mortar classes. As adults, we loose an aspects of new friendship, uncertainty, and excitement that the first day of school provided everyone with. When attending brick and mortar training we, as adults, gain a tiny bit of that wonderment back. Those feelings aren’t all bad, since we have a tendency of being more engaged than just sitting in front of a monitor blankly staring. You sit with your coworkers 5 days a week… go out in the world and attend a class. Make a buddy that may either already own the product you’re training on, or looking to purchase. Turn those people into your support network… I met a couple great programmers this past week.. that I’m sure I may want to email and ask how the heck do I write some logical conditional statement or something of that nature.

If automation platforms took a step back and became less concerned with closing deals on the front end, I think we’d begin to see a trend of empowered purchasing for these sizable investments. If these companies took a few moments to look at how they can better excite potential buyers, it’s not conferences.

  • Conferences are merely a tease. They show you it’s easy, it works… Look this guy that sets up the same horse and pony workflow can do it in a matter of two minutes… I hope many of you aren’t wow’ed by this, if you are sorry… you’re a sucker.
  • Video classes are great, I love having on demand content. But it doesn’t force me to concentrate, I don’t have to absolutely use my mind… Yeah, I am kinda a rouge internet wanderer. If I’m not completely engaged, I’ll leave you and your online content. For all sorts of reasons color scheme, speakers voice, pace of content… This list could go on for days.
  • Online classes are great too, your all working in a virtual class room together with a live instructor. You get to ask questions then and there, but it’s lacking something. People don’t interact the same online as they do in person, I can read classmate/instructor body language… this drives me insane for some reason. I want to see people talking as if I don’t know them, possibly ask them questions about their jobs, compare my idea against theirs… These are all things that online just doesn’t facilitate well.

If you’re thinking about purchasing an automation platform or really any type of software/SaaS products go to a live class. Build something with it. Ask people who were already users… and not just the reference list the vendor will give you. Go out and scour LinkedIn to see if there are people using the products, message them, people always have opinions… doesn’t make them right or wrong. Generally speaking get your hands dirty with the product and see if you can live with supporting it.

I’d like to thank TekDog for the great week. Driving back to Michigan gave me time to reflect and think about issues with product sales and the approach currently taken. Coming in not knowing a single thing about Nintex products and walking away excited to dig in deeper was a great experience that conference and virtual training just can’t hit at 100%.

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Mi-GMIS Conference Review

Monday, September 14th 2015 kicked off the 35th Michigan Government Management Information Systems conference. Information provided included topics such e-government, hardware set-ups -switches, physical security, telephony, etc.

MiGMIS does a very nice job of bringing in relevant information for government employees within technology at a very affordable price. I believe the registration is only $100 per government employee. Notable sessions included the following information:


 

Transforming abandoned big box store into a functioning dynamic city hall – utilizing only 4 staff members to operate an eco-friendly upcycle of an old Circuit City.

Experiences of building websites for citizens to find information about government, submit information, and more.

Cyber security within local government. Looking at how to access and address issues in government information security.

Overall it is a very informative conference for local Michigan Government needs, it has been enlightening to see how various state governments utilize technology. Boyne Mountain has been a great host, definitely a beautiful venue. Thumbs Up MiGMIS!