THE CHALLENGE: Improving Product Knowledge Across the Extended Enterprise

In 2016, Datto faced a challenge typical of many fast-growing organizations: they were struggling to effectively share knowledge about the company’s products, its differentiators, and the market at large across the company and their reseller network.

Setting up Reseller Channel Partners for Success: Datto, a channel-focused company, sells its solutions primarily through Managed Service Providers. “It’s business critical for us to arm these partners with not only the knowledge necessary to use the products, but to sell the products as well,” says Dan Newman, Datto Trainer. To provide this product information to partners, Datto had been relying on a homegrown website called the Datto Academy. The website was styled as a wiki with user guides, articles about best practices, and miscellaneous documentation.

“It was disorganized and confusing, which made it hard for partners to use,” remembers Dan. “It was also a huge administrative hassle. From our side of things, the only metric we had on partner training was the number of page views. There was no way to see who was accessing what.”

Datto realized there was a need for a proper training platform that would allow them to register users, deliver multi-modal content, and track activity to ensure they were providing their partners with all the information needed to communicate with the market effectively on Datto’s behalf.

Improving Internal Training to Create a Baseline of Knowledge: “There was a formal new hire onboarding program that wasn’t even a year old at the time,” explains Dan. “There were employees who had been with the company more than eight years but may not have stayed current on the organization’s developments. There was also lots of valuable knowledge that was siloed in certain departments or office locations.”

Dan was receiving requests to extend the formal new hire orientation training materials to current employees, yet it was apparent that the real demand was for training materials that were designed to address the knowledge gaps in the current employee audience. “The level of basic knowledge varied greatly from person to person,” says Dan.

Addressing a Business Need and a Vocal Demand for Training: When Datto decided to seek out learning management software to help train their channel partners, in addition to launching a more comprehensive approach to employee training, the initial goal was to increase technical competency.

“We wanted to ensure that all employees would be able to describe Datto products and be able to demonstrate their use,” says Dan. “Our partners were always asking for ‘more training, more training.’ It was clear there was a business need, as well as a vocal demand, for the entire organization to have access to a common baseline of knowledge.”

With these requirements in mind, Datto began the search for a learning management platform that would help them meet the needs of these two unique training audiences.

THE SOLUTION: Launching User-Friendly, Accessible Product Training

Docebo’s user-friendly approach to corporate training for both internal and external audiences really stood out to Datto.

“The ease with which all our users would be able to find and consume relevant training content was a real highlight,” says Dan. “It’s definitely removed barriers to entry.”

Incentivizing Partners to Develop Product Expertise: Datto wanted to provide training on how to gain net new business, troubleshoot Datto products, and explain how the various business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) products work. Using Docebo allowed Datto to deliver training on these various initiatives and segment it for several types of audiences.

Datto’s Partner Program is made up of a number of tiers that incentivize increased engagement with Datto. Filling the requirements of these different tiers warrants actual business incentives in the Global Partner Program, such as free shipping or marketing development funds. By launching the Datto Global Partner Program within Docebo, the delivery, tracking, and overall effectiveness of this training was improved significantly.

“We designed learning plans in the system so that partners who wanted to move up the tiers in Datto’s partner program would be required to complete relevant training,” explains Dan.

Ticket deflection was a primary goal. “Many tickets submitted to Technical Support were simple fixes that stemmed from a partner’s lack of knowledge about Datto products,” says Dan. “With Docebo we were able to ensure access to relevant education and training resources so that partners could support customers with confidence on their own.”

Launching a Company-Wide Product Training Initiative

Datto branded their internal training program the “Datto Graduate School” and launched the initiative with a company- wide contest where all employees were divided into three teams under three executives.

“The Docebo platform allowed us to track the progress of every employee, run reports on group behavior, and host a wide variety of content,” says Dan. “We had notifications trigger through the Docebo platform as employees progressed, or didn’t progress, through the course content.”

The launch format required all employees to sign in and become familiar with the new LMS platform within a two week period. “This helped us to ensure we left no learner behind,” says Dan. “Encouraging that kind of large scale use of the Academy right away also allowed us to proactively identify and correct issues, which set us up for success with countless other projects.”

Datto continues to provide this static course content on company knowledge and product training, but also hosts ongoing competitive intelligence webinars put on by subject matter experts in Product Marketing.

THE RESULTS: Knowledgeable Employees, Stronger Partners

Supporting an Efficient and Effective Partner Network: Since deploying the relaunched Datto Academy to their partner network, over 18,000 users have been created in the system and the feedback from partners has been universally positive.

Datto now has visibility into which partners are engaging with training resources and are able to identify the partner’s level of commitment to succeeding with Datto. “We’re starting to see that the partners who are participating in training are producing superior quality tickets and faster resolution times,” says Dan.

“They’re also increasingly solving issues independently.” In addition, the conversations taking place between the partners and success teams are more meaningful and informed. “The ability to identify partners that are struggling with product knowledge and require more outreach has improved how the Datto sales team communicates with our reseller network,” explains Dan.

Nurturing a Learning Culture at Datto: Just two weeks after the launch of the Datto Graduate School to its 700+ employees, more than half of the company had completed the program. “Within the first quarter of the initiative we saw an extremely high completion rate of about 95 percent,” says Dan.

For learning professionals struggling to achieve user adoption of new technology, those results are jaw-dropping. Dan credits their gamified launch process and the user-friendly platform.

“Many of the employees who took this training hadn’t yet received any type of formal company awareness training from Datto,” admits Dan. “These results and the feedback we’ve collected lead us to believe our employees were hungry for this type of information and that they learned a lot and enjoyed the program.”

All employees who completed the program were able to demonstrate the Graduate School KPIs, designed to test basic product and market knowledge. “The Docebo platform allowed us to track the progress of every employee, run reports on group behavior, and host a wide variety of content,” says Dan.

With this new baseline established across the company, Dan is looking forward to addressing additional deficiencies in the audience’s knowledge. Standard training on new product features as they are released is going to keep employees and partners alike up to date on Datto advances going forward.

“Now that we have Docebo in place and the opportunity is there, it’s really up to us to leverage it,” says Dan.

THE FUTURE: Expanding Training Opportunities and Providing Value-Adding Content

Now that a level of basic shared knowledge has been established across all Datto employees, Dan is excited to open up the learning opportunities further.

“What’s next is to provide them with more broadly relevant, voluntary training opportunities with third-party content,” says Dan. “The intent is to make this content available by leveraging Docebo’s integration with Lynda.com in their Content Marketplace.”

For external training, Dan is working with content creators in-house to relaunch their core technical content.

“Technology changes so fast that a set of courses from 2016 is woefully out of date in 2017,” he explains.

Datto is also in the process of configuring their system to empower partners further. “The new approach we’re setting up within Docebo will let our partners take their Datto training into their own hands,” explains Dan.

Partners will no longer need to coordinate with Datto to register new users or check up on learner progress. Instead, they’ll have the power to enroll the relevant employees in training and run their own reports to see how they are performing. Dan expects this to decrease management overhead time for his team.

Ultimately, having a platform that is able to handle both internal and external training has allowed Datto to empower its employees and reseller network with critical business information.

“As a company that’s less than ten years old, we see Docebo as being absolutely essential to the continued growth of Datto’s learning culture,” says Dan.