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Innovative Programs for Developers Are Crucial to CEM Success

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As many companies have already learned the hard way, training programs that grow, enhance, and rebuild their developers’ skills are crucial for long-term success in customer experience management (CEM) initiatives.

Enterprises can address these issues by implementing innovative programs that train inexperienced developers and reskill more seasoned developers in the deployment of new CEM technologies. A few companies create innovative in-house programs. For example, Accenture uses advanced training techniques like rapid learning and contextual, just-in-time learning modules to help its clients build better in-house training programs. And software buyers like AT&T, Coca-Cola, and GE are filling voids in the talent pool, and keeping existing staff well trained, by using similar techniques in-house. Some new approaches include:

  • Training executives to embrace risk-taking and learn to fail fast;
  • Using incubators to bring diverse teams together to innovate and build solutions for company- wide problems; and
  • Using innovation accelerators that leverage agile approaches to shorten the innovation lifecycle, from concept and innovation to product launch.

While in-house programs are effective, most enterprises lack the resources to deploy these programs internally and instead turn to their IT partners – software vendors, systems integrators, design agencies, management consultants and other service providers – to help them skill/reskill their technical resources. This is a smart approach. But therein also lies the problem – some fast-growth vendors or vendors in the process of reinventing themselves are equally overwhelmed by the need for trained technical resources. These vendors find it taxing to support their customers’ requests, although they would never admit such a thing.

When buying CEM software, it’s vitally important to look at the vendor’s ecosystem for delivering technical training in innovative ways. Without a strong ecosystem, CEM initiatives may stall out or be starved for oxygen while the organization struggles to create developers and other technical talent who are sufficiently experienced, qualified, and trained on emerging CEM technologies and evolving platforms (like cloud and mobility). Ultimately, buying software products involves a lot more than acquiring code – the vendor’s ecosystem for supporting the buyer’s service providers and its own technical resources are equally, if not more, important.

While some vendors put little emphasis on building their customers’ and partners’ technical skills, only to rue those oversights later (e.g., Microsoft and the initial SharePoint rollout), other vendors have doubled down on creating a strong technical network capable of supporting their ecosystems. For example, Oracle made significant advances when it inherited a culture of promoting developer training via Java with its Sun Microsystems acquisition. Since then, the software giant has done a good job of embracing and expanding its developer training programs delivered through the Oracle Technology Network, the vendor’s worldwide community for developers, DBAs, architects, and other technical professionals using Oracle and open source products. Like Oracle, IBM has an exemplary technical support ecosystem for its customers. This report showcases IBM’s comprehensive program for developers as an example of what to look for when examining your vendors’ programs for developers.

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