Article: Engage and empower your extended enterprise

Learning & Development

Engage and empower your extended enterprise

Delivering learning to these external audiences can increase revenue, lower costs, improve customer retention, and enhance brand awareness.
Engage and empower your extended enterprise

A learning solution with extended enterprise capabilities is the foundation for a successful external learning strategy


Organizations depend on multiple external audiences to grow their bottom line and achieve the aggressive goals needed to win in today’s global, fast-paced economy. These external audiences, known as the “extended enterprise,” encompass a diverse group of customers, partners, contingent workers, brokers, dealers, channel sales and other external sales and service providers. Your extended enterprise often represents the frontline of your business, interacting with existing and potential customers on a daily basis. Strong communication, great training and easy access to relevant information are no longer “like-to-haves;” they are must haves. Without them, your customers and partners can’t meet their potential to grow your business and accelerate your success.

The impact of a well-trained business ecosystem on overall business performance and satisfaction cannot be overstated. Delivering learning to these external audiences can increase revenue, lower costs, improve customer retention, and enhance brand awareness.

Build your external learning business case by aligning the benefits with these six key business goals:

1. Increase market awareness

Never underestimate the extent to which your extended enterprise influences brand awareness, customer experience and reputation. Your network can be allies, helping to grow your business, or detractors, placing hurdles in your way. Creating a brand ally isn’t a one step process; it is a commitment to excellence at every stage of the customer and partner journey. A single negative experience can do a lot of damage. Building your brand allies means giving them the best experience possible, and that begins with easy access to knowledge and information. Innovative HR and learning leaders recognize the strategic value and power of their LMS to extend learning beyond their workforce to build strong brand allies.

2. Lower costs and increase productivity

Call them freelancers, contractors, outsource vendors or temps — the independent workforce is here and continues to grow. Accenture calls this trend “The Rising Tide of the Just-in-Time Worker” and estimates that by 2020, contingent workers will be 20-40% of the U.S. workforce. Provide the best support for your contingent workforce by repeatable, low cost onboarding and extending learning is a fast path to their productivity.

3. Increase product adoption and speed time to value

Few companies have the luxury of completely owning a market. Your competitors are fighting to beat you to market and get the competitive edge. How fast your company gets a new product out the door and how quickly customers adopt it can determine product success or failure. Extending learning to your customers and partners will accelerate product adoption and shorten the time it takes for them to realize its full value. Work with your product teams to include external learning through your LMS in their product rollout plans.

4. Increase channel revenue and mindshare

The sales channel is the path that a product or service travels from your company to your customer. Members of the channel, often called partners, include distributors, resellers, manufacturers’ reps, independent sales professionals, retail outlets, consultants or service providers. Companies execute a channel strategy to grow business and expand market reach faster and farther than they could on their own.Extending learning to your channel partners creates a key differentiator in a very crowded field. Empower your partners with easily accessible, relevant and up-to-date information and training — delivered exactly when and where they need it.

5. Improve customer service & reduce related costs

Poor customer service lingers in your customer’s mind long after the incident is over. Everyone has bad customer experience stories, and through word of mouth, most share them with an average of 16 people. A global survey reported that $338 billion in revenue is lost every year due to bad service. Thus, improving customer service and reducing cost is key for every business. This can be achieved by extending learning to your customers through personalized user experiences. An LMS that supports contextual learning and pervasive delivery will provide the best experience and leveraging profile and activity data to make content recommendations.

6. Develop new revenue streams

Companies are always seeking new sources of revenue. Your company’s learning assets and subject-matter expertise can be repurposed for external use, transforming a cost center into a profit center. An LMS with ecommerce and secure audience segmentation capabilities will enable you to build a revenue-generating center of knowledge. Organizations can repurpose their knowledge contained in internal learning programs for external use.

A learning solution with extended enterprise capabilities is the foundation for a successful external learning strategy. By its very nature, the extended enterprise is comprised of many different audiences, with unique needs, branding requirements, security, and content. Be sure to choose a learning platform that supports multiple audiences from one environment, and easily expands as your external learning strategy, programs and audience grow. 

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Topics: Learning & Development, Learning Technology

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