FedEx has long used the iRise platform to accelerate business application development at the $40 billion giant in transportation, e-commerce and business services, but some enterprising employees there are now also using it to speed the training of new FedEx agents.
Rather than make live network and wireless connections to a central database—something that was often difficult to maintain consistently during training sessions—a team of analysts and their Business Integration Manager decided to use iRise simulations—which are virtually indistinguishable from coded production applications—to bring “on-board” new agents in the company’s customer identity program.
iRise simulation provides stable training environment
Connectivity would often go down, and trainers and analysts had to spend time with IT personnel trying to restore the connection, detracting from the learning environment.
“When we didn’t have a stable environment, we were on the phone with IT all the time,” says Elise Michaelson, Manager of the FedEx Customer Identity team who created the new iRise training applications. In addition, IT personnel typically had to be on call for problems that might arise during training sessions, a problem exacerbated by a spike in new hires—each of whom had to be trained in how to enter and scrub the data for the customer identity program.
Getting a jump on training for new applications
The other problem, says Sandy White, Senior Process Improvement Analyst of the FedEx Business Integration Group, was one of timing. “We were having to create training for applications that were still in development,” she says. “We needed to have a way to make changes quickly.”
New iRise visualizations made last-minute changes easy. “I was able to use iRise to create placeholders, and now I can make one change on a master page and have it change everywhere,” says Mandy Stagg, , Senior Process Improvement Analyst of the FedEx Business Integration Group, who used iRise to create and give the training classes. “The iRise simulation also helps us to control the training environment, because we know what they’ll see for each example. That isn’t usually true for direct connections to a live database, where you might see different data each time,” she says.
Training apps are quick to create, change
The program also leveraged the department’s resources efficiently. “This wasn’t a huge team,” says Michaelson. “It was two people on a very short time line, working on it part-time, and they were able to finish extremely quickly, because iRise provides that flexibility and ease of use. “
Better interfaces for long-lasting learning
In addition, iRise visualization provided increased learning through the implementation of interactive user interfaces. “iRise helped me be more creative in using media better to engage people. I was able to create better user interfaces,” says Stagg. “Now, if someone clicks on an answer, it immediately tells them whether they got it right, or why the answer they gave was wrong.”
Already, the new training visualizations have achieved their initial purpose. “It reduced a lot of inefficiencies and the amount of support resources we need. Also, people don’t have to be on call any more. And the whole process is much more efficient with respect to time, ROI, cost, and immediate knowledge gain,” says Stagg.
But the real gain might come as iRise visualization is extended to other training and certification programs. “The real bang for the buck was what we saved in training time and efficiency,” says Michaelson. “Now, we can extend that efficiency, because there are pieces of what we’ve done that all of our training departments can use to do similar things—and realize similar gains,” she concludes.