If you've been around Archer for more than a minute, you know how easy it is to shift and change and add and remove things from it, in order to make it your very own such that meets your organization's unique needs. That's part of what makes Archer so great. It's also part of what makes Archer something of an ever-changing system, and it can be a challenge to train brand new users on something that no longer comes close to looking like the lab environments we include in our Archer Academy courses.
Due to this, we are often asked about how best to train new Archer users on an Archer implementation that's been greatly changed from the out-of-the-box configuration. I'm hoping this article can give you a starting point for building your own customized training.
The ultimate piece of advice I can offer is to consider your audience(s), and determine what they really need to know. There are likely to be all kinds of cool things you have leveraged with your Archer configuration, such as data feeds or calculations or APIs or other things that happen behind the scenes. Now is not the time to be highlighting the intricacies of these things, as your users might have not even seen Archer before, and it's going to be important that you illustrate how simple it will be for them to move away from the spreadsheets and manual processes they're used to, and instead to use Archer to make their lives a little easier. Your ultimate goal with the training you build will be to show your users:
General Skills Training: Most Archer users will have a need to understand the basics of how to move around in Archer, how to edit and save a record, perhaps how to search for something, and perhaps how to work with reports. If you don't know that you can click into a bar chart to see the underlying data, for example, you might not ever click into one. For the general Archer basics, you might rely on our free Getting Started series of courses. Simply have your users create an account with us and take a look at the Foundational Skills course, and/or any other courses you believe may help them to more quickly adapt to your own Archer instance.
If you believe your set of users will be better served by viewing a video similar to ours but that showcases your own Archer instance, you might personally view our content, make some notes about things you think your users would appreciate, and then replicate the general how-to's in a video of your own. There's no requirement that you have special video software to create your own version of this - simply record yourself in a solo Zoom or Teams session in which you share your screen and talk through a demo of things you'd like them to see.
In terms of content, definitely take a look at our free courses that you might draw on for inspiration. To log into our learning portal, follow these steps:
Then search the Store for any of these titles:
If you’re looking for wording or structure you can add into your own training, feel free to borrow what you find within our catalog or the Help documentation, and then accompany that with screenshots or video from your own instance so that it all rings true for your viewers.
Process-Specific Training: Once your users have general Archer training available, it's time to consider how best to show them what you want them to do in order to complete a process they may have been doing in another system or series of applications. Remember that smaller videos are easier to consume than longer ones, and it will be easier for you to update/replace smaller videos as your Archer configuration evolves and training updates are needed.
If you have a workflow diagram handy that breaks down a process into swim lanes, consider offering a PDF of that diagram to your users so that they are able to see the full process in its entirety. Then, create short videos that walk through each component (or small series of components) that a given user may need to complete. Name your saved video files in such a way that it's easy for your users to identify what each video covers, and consider including numbered steps in the file names as well.
Once you've built your training, where will you host it? The best place is to host it wherever your users are already used to going to find documentation. Perhaps that's in your own company's learning management system. Perhaps it's on a shared drive somewhere. Perhaps it's held within Archer itself. Wherever you choose, add it to a location that isn't new for people to need to remember to find. Send out emails to targeted groups with links to the training. If the concept of lunch-and-learns exists within your organization, consider holding one of these to either walk through the training, if the training is short enough, or to alert them to the new training available.
Maintaining your training is something you'll also want to plan for. As your Archer evolves, so will your training. If you've kept your videos short, it will be easy for you to re-record small snippets when the functionality changes enough that a new video is necessary. If you've gone the route of creating a longer video for a more involved process, you could elect to record a short video that captures only the changed functionality, and then include that video as an addendum to the longer one. You may think of this as your own Release Notes that could accompany each version of Archer that is promoted to Production.
In terms of what we’ve seen work well for other customers and their needs to train their own end users, it's much as I've described above – some will send their user base to us to view the free Foundational Skills video, while others will create their own version of that video using their own instance (with their own apps/colors/etc.) to share the general how-to’s, such as how to log in/access the system, how to move around between applications, how to search for records, etc. Simply, any general tips that would apply to everyone would belong in that general video.
Then, to accompany that general video that can go out to everyone, they’ll do shorter demo videos for specific audiences or on specific workflows. These shorter videos are appreciated by people who need to know how to do 1-2 specific things and they don’t have the time to watch a longer 30-min video that covers an entire use case with all roles represented. (That said, on the flip side, some users need to see the start-to-finish process, so if that’s true for your group, consider doing one longer video and then offering time stamps to help people skip to just the parts they really want to see.)
Have you developed your own training? We'd love to hear from you about what worked well, and also what might not have worked so well. I hope these tips are helpful! Please add a comment below if you have advice that may help others.
All the best,