|Qualcomm's Qualcomm Implements iLinc Online Training
Prior to implementing iLinc in 1999, QWBS had five regional offices located across the United States. Each time the company introduced a new software product or upgrade, trainers needed to travel (usually by air) to each location to deliver live training. Company leadership quickly identified the financial ineffectiveness of requiring trainers to travel with limited productivity for one to two days simply to deliver an hour-long training session.
After analyzing the leading web conferencing vendors, QWBS chose to launch its first virtual training program using iLinc for Learning software. At a meeting of the division's customer-service group, iLinc was presented live to the first group of users. At that time, just after the advent of web-based technology, users had to install iLinc from CD onto their laptops, many of which were barely Internet-capable (i.e. equipped with low-speed, dial-up modems). And, some of the users traveled three to four days a week and even with powerful laptops, often couldn't get broadband Internet access from hotel rooms.
Because of these challenges and the frustrations with technical limitations, many of the QWBS staff resisted web conferencing at first. As more powerful equipment was dispersed and the learning curve was climbed, QWBS' iLinc for Learning users began to embrace online training. Adoption grew again when QWBS offered its first recorded sessions. Users who had juggled schedules to attend live, online classes learned that iLinc made it possible to meet training requirements on their own time.
According to Traci Schaible, Senior Manager of Product Training for QWBS, "It took some time to get everyone high-quality laptops and stable connectivity, but as time and technology progressed, our iLinc users began to see the benefits of training online. Especially with asynchronous courses, they appreciated the freedom to set their own training schedules."
Since the original iLinc for Learning launch, QWBS has tripled its number of iLinc users and expanded usage to other groups within the division. Customer service groups are taking advantage of iLinc for Learning to train customers on service upgrades. Among the most popular features with this group are application sharing and the ability to set up individual meeting rooms from which to launch on-the-fly training sessions.
"The benefits in our customer service department are the most dramatic," said Schaible. "We have significantly reduced travel costs with the exception of very large rollouts, which we still do in person. The ability to provide training in multiple ways (live and recorded) enables the customer service team to meet a wide variety of needs using a single tool."
QWBS' sales teams have recently begun using MeetingLinc, a product optimized for use in meeting format, rather than that of a class, to perform product demonstrations. MeetingLinc represents a striking change from the team's former demo process, which included walking prospects through a demo website via phone.
"Our sales teams are now able to present uploaded content in MeetingLinc sessions, as well as to use interactive tools such as highlighting and pointers to help keep people engaged," stated Schaible. "It's is a much more effective sales tool than our former one."
In addition to QWBS, two other divisions at QUALCOMM have begun using iLinc based on internal recommendations.
QUALCOMM also broadened its utilization of web conferencing to include educational customer Webinars. These sessions have been very well received because they conveyed compelling content in an easy-to-use online setting.
"We received great feedback from our customers about our Webinars," said Schaible. "We didn't encounter any problems with disconnection, complex client download processes, or firewall issues."
The company is enjoying the cumulative cost-savings and efficiency benefits of using iLinc, but cites customer service as the primary reason for remaining loyal to iLinc over the years.
Schaible summarized, "The biggest thing that's kept us with iLinc since 1999 is customer support. iLinc was our first eLearning tool and since then we've implemented others (such as learning management systems), but have never experienced the level of customer support that we get from iLinc."