Looking back at my career path, from the on-premise days when I was an instructor to my current role, I have seen the evolution of many different IT trends. I am particularly fascinated by how the approach to training has transformed over time.

Years ago, learning was something you did to prepare for a project and then it was done. It was almost as if learning was turned on and off and happened in discrete boundaries of time. Today, as the speed of innovation increases and professionals – like the ones involved in IT projects as administrators, consultants, and developers – need to regularly consider how to implement new changes, continuous learning is the only way to operate.

While the human element of individual learners needing to effectively absorb and apply training remains, it is unmistakable that the role of IT training has distinctly evolved into a perpetual presence in the innovation life cycle.

Transformed Role of Training

Broad, transformative trends in the IT learning landscape have taken hold in recent years. Among these are increased peer-to-peer learning, modularization of learning content, and digital delivery platforms. The instruction element has also changed. A LinkedIn Learning 2020 Workplace Learning report indicated that while more than a third of all learning and talent development professionals surveyed intend to increase their budgets over the next year, 38 percent plan to spend less on traditional instructor-led training. Comparatively, nearly two-thirds plan to spend more on online training.

The changes and challenges brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic have both underscored and accelerated this reshaping of the IT learning landscape.

The enhanced SAP Training and Adoption portfolio was designed to be flexible, allowing for adapting learning preferences as well as the necessary tools and skills for given roles to continuously and quickly evolve. This SAP portfolio expertly supports continuous learning anywhere, at any time, and in a wide variety of languages.

While today’s classroom formats have evolved, the role of training itself has also transformed. According to a recent McKinsey report, “Skills can and do expire. Organizations need people who can continually learn and adapt.” The report notes that while maintaining up-to-date technical skills and keeping up with the speed of innovation is critical for individuals’ future success, so too is the skill of being “open to new experiences and flexible in their thinking.”

Companies around the globe are recognizing this shift in the role of training. The LinkedIn Learning report revealed that more than half of all learning and development professionals surveyed plan to launch new upskilling programs for employees, and nearly half plan to initiate new reskilling programs. Today’s learners will be successful not by solely consuming new information and courses, but by adopting, implementing, and expanding upon their training to continuously create new value.

Presence in the Customer Life Cycle

Beyond the constant ideation process, training today has a pronounced presence throughout the entire customer life cycle – from end to end.

In the past, when on premise was the industry norm, user training was more of an afterthought. Today, however, customers are seeking or considering training to inform themselves throughout the process – and even sometimes during the initial software selection phase. The continuous learning incorporated with SAP products in turn supports users as they move from the land phase to the expand phase in the customer lifecycle model.

SAP Training and Adoption uniquely utilizes the company’s scale and efficiencies to constantly innovate digital platforms and offer new, relevant training that adds value to each customer’s specific context and needs.

Looking to the future, SAP emphasizes innovation that complements and builds upon its training offerings, ultimately enhancing the overall experiences of learners and customers at every stage of their digital transformation journeys. In doing so, the company can more effectively help individuals and organizations turn learning into achieving on their paths to the Intelligent Enterprise.

Jan Meyer is head of Global Business Portfolio Management and Business Development for SAP Knowledge and Education.