By: Adair Empson, Maya Biggs, LEighAnn Tufts
Enter eSkillz. This engagement began with conducting discovery deep-dives and gathering requirements from all departments then translating everything into a comprehensive strategy for enterprise LMS configurations and deployment that would meet the diverse needs of every group involved. This was no small feat, especially considering that Ohio was looking to roll out the LMS to 23 agencies within an 18-month time frame with a heavy emphasis on change management and enablement.
Both the eSkillz and State of Ohio teams played critical roles in engineering the successful implementation and deployment of a new enterprise-wide Learning Management System. eSkillz partnered closely with Ohio’s system owner to manage all operations and progress throughout the implementation. They also worked closely with the change management team to ensure communications were being generated appropriately to keep Ohio’s 200 administrators, high-level department heads, and end-users abreast of the changes. Ohio took full responsibility for the internal decision-making process to solicit feedback from each agency and document final decisions to present to the eSkillz team. Some decisions were driven by statewide needs, such as the overall layout and framework of the user interface design. While each agency would be uniquely branded with their own logo(s), colors, fonts, and images, the design layout would remain uniform for consistency and cohesiveness. Throughout the process, the Ohio team was open and receptive to recommendations provided by the eSkillz implementation team. The keys to the success of the engagement were clear, concise, and timely communication between Ohio and eSkillz team, as well as open and meaningful discussions to set well-defined and honest expectations. Timelines were established, and all tasks and strategic decisions were deadline-driven. The team understood that the migration of historical records would not be finished by day 1 of go-live, due to the sheer amount of data and the cross-mapping between the legacy system and the new system. eSkillz helped Ohio owners track and measure the tasks for each agency within their own project plan. This was then rolled into an overall project plan to keep agencies on task for their activities.
While adhering to our standardized service delivery process, the eSkillz team had to be flexible and adjust our traditional approach to ensure that we fully understood, addressed, and satisfied challenges and requirements that were specific to the State of Ohio, as well as the various audiences within each agency. As eSkillz conducted configuration activities, we made sure to highlight areas where all groups had come to a consensus for global level settings within the system, especially those settings where each department had the option to modify the configurations and workflows to meet their specific needs. Some examples of this are statewide vs. agency user interface design, user data fields, security roles and permissions, etc. The team maintained detailed documentation of all decisions that were made at all levels.
In addition to a compressed timeline and managing input from numerous stakeholders to balance individual, department, and enterprise-wide needs, there was another major obstacle to overcome: the large data migration effort from the legacy system into the new LMS. This involved extraction, transformation, loading, and configuration of over 100,000 learning objects and 55,000+ user accounts. The way Ohio classified employee, contractor, and external users posed another challenge. Oracle Taleo Learn offered the agencies the opportunity for a “citizen portal” where each agency could provide training to their external population, such as EAP training. eSkillz also worked with internal IT to create separate integration resources from the State of Ohio, bring contractors into each agency, and provide them access to critical compliance training on an automated basis. Other technical integrations that eSkillz deployed for Ohio included Single Sign-On (SSO) and a modified user import to support employee load.
Each stage of the process was documented thoroughly with review by DAS, the change management team, and executive teams to guarantee that the State of Ohio had a clear record of the workflow and the entire process. This gave their organization the ability to effectively manage the system now while planning for future expansion as they decide to bring on additional agencies.
Training the end-users and administrators was a huge part of the change management process. eSkillz created a “Getting Started” course for end-users that provides an overview of Ohio Learn as well as awareness of new terminology within the platform. This was extremely well-received, and each agency ensured 100% participation from their user base as this was critical to their understanding of the system and user adoption. eSkillz also built over 100 administrative courses for Ohio to deliver training to the over 200 administrators that perform various functions within the system. These were interactive, functional-specific courses with knowledge checks to certify that each administrator understood how to execute their tasks. Several instructor-led trainings were also conducted by eSkillz, which gave the administrators an opportunity to ask questions in a real-time setting. For example, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), one of Ohio’s largest agencies, had well over 116 training officers that required in-person training for tasks and system reporting, and eSkillz was able to train and empower their LMS owners and managers to be self-sufficient.
The State of Ohio executive management team believe that they selected the most knowledgeable partner to support them in successfully achieving their project goals. They reflected on the partnership in a recent testimonial:
“eSkillz was able to drive timelines, and all project deliverables were met. They continue to provide technical support and training to over 200 administrators at 20 state agencies, as well as the core team at the Department of Administrative Services (DAS).”
eSkillz’s expertise with complex system deployments and large government clients, their in-depth platform knowledge, and their creative solutions for leveraging the power of Oracle Taleo Learn—combined with strong leadership on the client side—led the State of Ohio to realize the full potential of an enterprise-wide learning and development solution configured to meet the needs of its various stakeholders within a very tight timeline.