|Streamlining business practices translates to all areas of the organization, not just those that touch customers. From human resources to training, companies can use the Internet to optimize their workforce and make themselves more agile in response to rapidly changing market conditions. Electronic-based learning, or e-learning, is one critical Internet application that yields significant results for Genuity Inc., a newly independent Internet service provider (ISP), formerly a division of the GTE Corporation.
|Genuity faced a training challenge in April 1998 due to the sweeping changes brought on by the GTE acquisition. The company's sales force was expected to grow from 200 to 1,000 and was now responsible for selling a new product set and a full spectrum of Internet services. Not only was the sales team rapidly expanding, but it was also moving into new worldwide territories. Genuity had to quickly find an efficient, scalable solution that would reduce time spent in a classroom and increase effectiveness with customers.
Genuity leveraged the power of the Internet and created an e-learning solution with the assistance of the GTE Learning Systems group's 30 years of experience in training government agencies and corporations. In July 1998, Genuity launched Virtual University, which allowed salespeople to obtain real-time virtual instruction along with the latest product information on their highly secure Web site. Genuity had an end-to-end Cisco network that was immediately deployed to support the multimedia-rich applications based on integrated data, voice, and video networking technologies.
To measure the effectiveness of Virtual University, Genuity trained a pilot sales group on the new e-learning system and another group using traditional instruction. The benefits were immediately evident. Those trained using the e-learning system made their first sale 25 percent faster than those who didn't, and their revenue numbers were twice the dollar amount of the "traditional" group. Virtual University was so effective that the company is planning more Internet-optimized learning programs to increase productivity. As far as Genuity is concerned, empowering employees through e-learning allows them to do the best job possible. It has had a clear effect on sales, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
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