CSC is one of the world’s largest and most respected providers of IT services. For more than 50 years, CSC has provided technology-enabled solutions and services to solve their clients’ toughest challenges, and has approximately 93,000 professionals serving clients in more than 90 countries. In EMEA there are approximately 21,400 professionals with around 7,500 of those based in the UK.
The delivery of managed IT services is a vital part of CSC‟s business. And as a leading provider of consulting and outsourcing solutions to blue chip clients in every major industry sector, CSC is committed to driving business effectiveness for customers through the delivery of IT services founded in IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) aligned processes and workflows.
Maintaining a highly qualified ITIL workforce is therefore critical to the day-to-day service management and service operations businesses of CSC, and training staff to achieve ITIL Foundation, Intermediate and Expert Level certification is a strategic priority for the company.
In the UK CSC has a widely distributed workforce. This makes classroom-based training events a logistical and financial challenge. And when it comes to removing key personnel from client services to undertake a 5-day ITIL Intermediate level course, the scheduling issues for staff can be immense.
With burgeoning travel and accommodation costs eating into valuable training budgets, it was time for a new approach as Robert Humphrey, EMEA Learning and Development Manager at CSC, explains. “We wanted to take the ITIL classroom to our people – giving them access to high quality interactive training that’s easy to schedule into a working day,” he says. “Alongside minimising disruption to our personnel, delivering ITIL in a virtual learning environment would allow us to reinvest savings on travel and accommodation costs into what counts most – more training for more people”.
When considering this new approach CSC contacted its ITIL Education Partner, Pink Elephant. Having already used Pink Elephant for traditional classroom courses and worked with them to successfully develop an innovative blended learning ITIL Foundation programme for its staff, they were the first choice to help enable its „classroom in the cloud‟ vision for ITIL practitioners.
In close collaboration with the Learning and Development and Service Management resourcing teams at CSC, Pink Elephant created a format that would ensure delegates benefitted from an engaging and fully interactive online learning environment that provided ample opportunities for collaboration and debate – a key aspect of Pink Elephant’s approach to ITIL advanced learning programmes. Using an e-learning delivery platform – an on-demand online meeting, web conferencing and videoconferencing application – Pink Elephant evolved an instructor-led online classroom training programme.
As Robert Humphrey highlights, getting the initial induction session right was key. It was important to establish delegates were confident using the technology, were clear on the training objectives, and were fully engaged with the virtual classroom programme format. “We wanted to demonstrate that this approach would give them everything they’d experience in a real-world classroom – and more,” he says. “We worked hard to ensure the induction set the scene for positive and productive delegate participation.”
During each five week ITIL Intermediate course delegates attend twice-weekly 3-hour instructor-led online sessions from the comfort of their desk. Alongside being able to hear a Pink Elephant lecturer, delegates can view and participate in interactive whiteboard presentations in real time, respond to questions, engage in group discussions, and write and share e-notes.
What’s more, each „bite-sized ITIL‟ session is recorded so delegates can revisit and review sessions as often as they need. During each live session the Pink Elephant lecturer monitors individual delegate presence, providing on-going mentoring and support. Management reports on attendance and scoring from course exercises enable the Pink Elephant lecturer to identify who is doing well and who needs extra support. This reporting also supports discussion with the training function and the delegate’s manager if there are any issues. Having a course that runs over 5 weeks means that issues can be picked up and resolved effectively.
But that’s not all. Between sessions delegates have access to a closed portal where they can ask the trainer questions, share and review responses, tap into a Trainer Blog, access additional mentoring, and communicate with other course participants. At the close of the programme, delegates come together in the „real world‟ for an intensive morning review session before sitting the ITIL certification examination in the afternoon.
“Delegate feedback on the programme has been excellent,” confirms Robert Humphrey, “but the results speak for themselves.” Following the initial pilot programme, pass rates were on par with the traditional classroom based course pass rate of 90%. But today CSC is achieving a 100% pass rate, with some delegates achieving the maximum score possible in the final ITIL certification exam. “Pink Elephant worked with us to adapt the format exactly to our needs,” explains Humphrey. “They have an excellent track record in ITIL education and collaborated closely with us to ensure the virtual ITIL learning programme was refined further – evolving, for example, the online learning community to supplement virtual classroom sessions.” Delegates confirm the bite-sized online sessions are much easier to schedule alongside daily work responsibilities, with the added benefit of giving them time to think about and absorb information between sessions. What’s more, the new trail blazing approach has enabled CSC to release around 40% of its ITIL Practitioner training budget – previously allocated for travel and accommodation – to deliver additional training.
“We’ve shown the virtual world of advanced ITIL learning can be just as effective and fulfilling for delegates – and that our trail blazing approach has paid off in more ways than one,” concludes Humphrey. Following the successful launch of the programme in the UK, CSC is roll out the ITIL Practitioner “classroom in the cloud‟ initiative across Europe.