So You Think Training is a Waste of Time and Money? Think Again

Posted 08/19/2013 by Robert Brower

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Vendor training on a new product has a whole range of implications to a customer. Many think that training has diminishing value for the company, except for the trainee, who is its only immediate beneficiary. To the administrator responsible for running the product, training is a lifeline to ensure sanity and continued operational confidence. To the manager or director, it's necessary, but it comes with a productivity price due to time required out of office. To the purchasing manager, it can be viewed as a boondoggle and an operations expense with no immediate value.


Our own research shows several clear indicators of the value of training. For example, it's easy to demonstrate that a trained customer has a lower support incident count than an untrained one. At Commvault, we redoubled our efforts in this area and we compared the actual before and after incident count on a trained customer. Using this single metric, an ROI is immediately realized with respect to training. This review does not discount the other benefits that come from a comprehensive understanding of a product – better resiliency, faster operational productivity, and reduced time to value based on what the new product achieves.

The proof is in the training

To demonstrate the value of Simpana software training, we conducted the following test.

  • We looked to identify a customer using Support activity as a metric to define the need for training. The ideal customer was a company with a consistently high monthly number of support incidents opened.
  • The incidents that we addressed were positioned as 'training-related,' indicating an opportunity for us to help the customer understand core elements of product usage
  • Finally, we approached the customer and coordinated attendance for our Core Fundamentals course and Installation and Maintenance course. The customer accepted and completed the five-day training on July 5.

As indicated by the results below – post-training the customer has moved from an average of 17.5 calls per month to 6.5 calls per month to support, a decrease of more than 62 percent, which is significant.

Customer Support Incident Induction Results (12 Months)

Qualifying Cost of Ownership

Before taking Commvault's Core Fundamentals course and Installation and Maintenance course, the customer logged in an average of 17.5 calls/month. Using an industry standard price of $475*/ incident, the cost impact was $8,000 plus per month of operating cost, which doesn't include the cost impact of customer productivity losses and downtime.

After the course, there were only 6.5 calls for the month. Utilizing the same industry standard price of $475*/ incident, the cost for the month was $3,000 of operating cost, a savings of $5,000.

*Cost source: MetricNet; HDI 2012 Survey

Why do we care? Because we want our customers to successfully use and extend their Simpana software estates. By reducing the operational churn for this customer, there is an immediate, and very obvious, ROI. For our average customer, the cost of a 5-day training program is $5,000 USD. Any customer that fits this use case can expect to realize an ROI, of roughly the same dollar amount, within about a 30-day period. Not bad. The results are pure and raw and this is a good first effort to prove that training can make business sense. Be on the lookout for the customer case study to follow.

The naysayers out there will most likely respond, "But not everyone learns the same way," and "This must have been rigged." We can only respond, "Maybe everyone does learn differently, but everyone CAN learn." After all, you're reading this, right?

So, get out there and learn. And please, try not to have a good time.