PartsSource is the world’s largest provider of medical replacement products. We specialize in healthcare technology management (also known as clinical engineering), and our software-as-a-service platform is designed specifically to provide healthcare technology management (HTM) teams with the tools needed to proactively manage expenses while ensuring equipment uptime in a clinical environment.
Through the PartsSource.com platform and our PartsSource Pro managed service, we support the folks who are responsible for keeping medical equipment running daily by providing insight into their budget, their equipment, and their supply chain.
In this three-part series, I’ll be sharing insights into how the Brightspace platform helped fill our need for a scalable customer training solution, how a robust online learning program provided us with the flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how data and analytics can bring added value to your customers and business partners.
A need for scalable customer training
I joined PartsSource in September 2018 with the objective of building a scalable online training program for PartsSource customers.
Prior to my arrival, when a new customer signed a deal with PartsSource, we would send an Implementation Manager on-site to train their teams on how to use our platform. As our company grew, we didn’t have the staff or the resources to be able to continuously send our team members on-site—stretched as thin as they were, we needed our implementation team to focus on higher-value tasks. And beyond onboarding, there was no easy way to communicate new feature releases to our customer base or to capture and track the results of our training initiatives.
With customer education, the insights and business intelligence you collect can be invaluable to your sales and marketing efforts. The data you collect tells you a lot about your customers, including the products or services they’re interested in and the types of challenges they are facing.
By using the Brightspace learning management platform, we can easily tell what content our customers are consuming, when they’re consuming it, and how they’re consuming it. But we didn’t want to stop there; as a business, we needed the ability to respond to our customers’ needs quickly and nimbly.
In addition to training our customers on how to use our platform, we wanted to engage them in conversations about the HTM industry. We saw firsthand the great collaboration and conversations taking place among our customers at our annual user conference, but those conversations weren’t happening outside those few days a year.
Our CEO envisioned a platform that could be a virtual extension of our conference—a place where our customers could collaborate and share information and resources as well as access training tools and resources for our platform and the industry as a whole.
This really changed the scope of the learning management system that we were looking to deliver; we needed something with more social capabilities than your standard learning management system (LMS)—we needed a community. And we needed the right partner to help bring this vision to life.
Choosing the right learning platform
After a lengthy vendor-selection process, we decided to partner with D2L. They’re very well known for their work in education—and for building their portfolio in the corporate space—and we found them to be a great partner for what we wanted to do. Not only does the Brightspace platform have the functionality to deliver multiple types of media, but it also acts as an extension of our technology stack and offers all the data and reporting tools we needed.
And because the Brightspace platform is HTML-based, we were able to customize the user experience and incorporate our brand’s look and feel. D2L’s Creative Services team helped us design templates with interactive elements—drawing inspiration from things like tiles you might see on a streaming platform—to make the experience familiar and more interactive for users. And since it’s’ all based on the web standards, it’s fully accessible and compatible with screen readers.
We had a directive from our leaders to make sure the platform we selected would be supported on all devices, so it was a big draw for us was that the Brightspace platform is also fully responsive. Users will have same smooth experience regardless of the type of the device they’re using. And as a technology company with our own app, we didn’t want our customers to have to download a different, non-branded app to access our content from their phones or their tablets.
As I think back on some of the older learning management systems I used earlier in my career, one of my biggest frustrations was that they weren’t intuitive. It took so many clicks to get where you wanted to go that it really impacted the learner experience.
And nowhere is learner experience more critical than in customer-facing training, because our training isn’t mandatory; we are constantly competing with any number of other activities for our users’ time and attention, so we know that we need to be engaging as well as impactful to create a positive learning experience for our customers.
We engaged D2L’s Learning Strategy Consulting Service to help us put together a launch and adoption plan that would make a big splash with our initial rollout as well as to ensure we had a solid long-term strategy to maintain interest and keep our engagement levels high. We worked hand in hand with our marketing team and the D2L Services team to develop a solid launch plan for our project, now named the PartsSource Community, in early 2020.
And then the world turned upside down. The COVID-19 pandemic struck, and overnight, our best-laid plans were set aside to help our customers confront a very different reality.