Reskilling employees to deliver to customers faster than ever
Imagine you’re a large multinational enterprise organization in need of a technology partner to walk you through everything from video and voice, to server environments and cloud. Who do you turn to for help when it comes to upgrading, managing and maintaining your tech?
Thousands of multinational enterprises rely on Dimension Data to help them take the next steps in advancing their technology. They have experts in internal IT, helping to provide technology installation and configuration for all onsite aspects. They also support managing both the public and private cloud.
Given that Dimension Data’s average client is looking to them to provide innovative solutions and ideas in technology, it is a high priority for them to ensure that its talent is top notch. And, they understand that the pace of change is constantly working against them.
“The technology landscape is actually moving faster than any sole person can keep up with, so what we actually need to do is understand people’s skills and expand their expertise quickly,” says Anthony Shaw, Group Director, Talent Development and Talent Management.
That’s why they chose Pluralsight as their skill development partner.
“With Pluralsight we have been able to identify different areas and gaps we needed to build up skills in. We then saw the overlap in the Pluralsight course offerings. This was a huge shift forward for us.”
With all 28,000 Dimension Data employees having access to Pluralsight, they are finding the product they can deliver to the customer has become increasingly more meaningful.
Dimension Data at a glance
FOUNDED IN 1983
FOUNDED IN 1983, HEADQUARTERED IN JOHANNESBURG AND MEMBER OF NTT GROUP
8 BILLION USD
USD 8 BILLION GLOBAL SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR AND MANAGED SERVICES PROVIDER THAT DESIGNS, MANAGES, AND OPTIMIZES TODAY’S EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY
OVER 28,000 EMPLOYEES WORLDWIDE
OVER 6,000 CLIENTS
Tech talent: connecting proficient teams across the globe
With employees spanning the globe, finding out where talent is located and up-skilling them, (sometimes in very different cultures) can be difficult.
“My role is to position the talent that we have within the organization to make sure we’re developing in the direction of our clients needs, both now and in the near-term future,” says Anthony. “Within the next couple of years, we have to make sure we have developed the skills and expertise we need to bring us forward to the next phase of technology.”
When it comes to skills development, Dimension Data is committed to increasing proficiency on its current teams, rather than replacing headcount––no matter where in the world they are working. “We are focused on trying to position the importance of skills development within Dimension Data and then trying to almost completely replace the capability that we have within the people, without replacing the people. This means giving the 28,000 employees we have the opportunity to reskill themselves, because the technology landscape that we work in has completely shifted.”
Pluralsight has been so pivotal for Dimension Data that they have “set up self-registration for licenses so that there’s no approval process to get access to Pluralsight anymore. Anyone can register on our internal portal, and they get provisioned automatically. So, we simply increase our plan as demand comes in.”
By shifting its spending model, Dimension Data has simply moved its instructor-led training budget into an online learning platform and is now able to serve all of its technical staff as opposed to a small percentage of it––and, they’re realizing cost efficiencies.
Understanding skill sets in a virtual world
Not only does Pluralsight help reskill Dimension Data’s current employees, but the platform also supports successful global teams. Meeting the demand for knowledge and innovation starts with knowing where your talent is located and being able to deploy them immediately as soon as the request is made.
“We know we have experts in certain areas, and we can identify them quickly because the likelihood is that they’re going to be in different countries or in different cities or on different teams. Being able to assemble this virtual team as quickly as possible is therefore critical for us as we move forward.”
Anthony continues, “Once those teams are identified, being able to work with an agile mindset is really important because we need to assemble them in a matter of weeks instead of months. They’re going to need to be dropped into a client project with a really quick turnaround and work together as a virtual team.”
Before Pluralsight, identifying skills was limited to certifications and accreditations that were listed in HR documents––a puzzle not easily put together. And in a tech world where certifications are becoming increasingly irrelevant, understanding people’s true skills and where they are geographically has been critical to Dimension Data’s continued success.
Additionally, Dimension Data has been able to create specific learning paths for its employees that align to key business objectives and outcomes.
“We’re trying to teach network automation at the moment––it is a huge push for us. So, we’ve developed a path which included about nine Pluralsight courses, as well as exercises, YouTube videos and a whole range of content. We’ve been able to deploy this path as a tool to help people move away from the old way of working with networks, to the new way of working where everything is software design and configurable.”
When certifications and in-person training don’t cut it
For Dimension Data, like many companies successfully navigating digital transformation, certifications and accreditations are becoming less applicable to what is really happening in the day-to-day world of technology.
“There aren’t a lot of certifications relevant to what support these days,” Anthony says. “Especially in the DevOps world, a lot of technologies don’t even have certifications, so it becomes really difficult for us to know who has what capability. However, for the past 18 months that Pluralsight has been deployed, we have identified all the different areas that we need to build up skills, which has been incredibly helpful. We are able to view high-end technical skills and understand different Skills IQs.”
And, another reason in-person training and certifications aren’t cutting it at Dimension Data?
“Things are just moving too quickly. The refresh cycles for the certifications are increasing, but a lot of the time I think they’re actually becoming less relevant. The actual certifications themselves are becoming less important, and I think our business has understood that as well.”
Being able to quickly up-skill for client requests becomes more and more important, as technology starts changing more rapidly. With Pluralsight, Dimension Data is capable of doing that. Understanding different employee’s skills is easy on the Pluralsight platform, making certifications and accreditation less relevant.
Meaningful products: how Dimension Data delivers to customers better than ever
When it comes to what Dimension Data has been able to deliver to its customer, or how that product has changed, Pluralsight has helped provide more meaningful interactions. Because Dimension Data engineers have been able to reskill, especially when it comes to DevOps, they have abandoned the old way of working.
In the past, it used to be that engineers “get a requirement from a client, go and configure everything, then set it up and project manage––and move onto the next thing,” says Anthony.
With Pluralsight, they have been able to “automate deployment, and are now seeing more and more stories that get to the heart of a new way of working. Engineers now look at automation and DevOps, and they basically now automate the pipeline for the client. They have spent time on Pluralsight learning these skills––they’ve learned DevOps and they’ve learned about automation. Now, they go in for a client project and deploy it in a fraction of the time.”
“The evolution is that they now actually have the capacity to contribute meaningful insights to a client that can further enhance their business. Engineers have time to talk about where the client might have bottlenecks, how they want to configure their network and work to make it bulletproof. It is so much more than configuration now, and that adds an increasingly amount of value to our customer.”
Dimension Data is seeing employees skills that directly deliver to the client. These days, they understand that they don’t need to learn one new thing every two or three years, but they need to learn more like 50––and they are doing it.
“That is the message we’re trying to get across––sending someone to an instructor-led course every couple of years is absolutely not enough. People need to be constantly learning new things and giving themselves permission to do so.”
ROI: How Dimension Data knows Pluralsight is working for its teams and customers
So, how does Dimension Data measure the worth of Pluralsight?
“Demonstrated client value.”
There is nothing more important than the value that you deliver to the client and the meaningful interactions that employees have as they deploy products. “I have a lot of testimonials of engineers who have used the skills they’ve learned on Pluralsight as leverage to deliver value for clients. And as I keep hearing those stories, Pluralsight seems to pay for itself. That’s my measurement.”
Dimension Data is also noticing that more employees are finding Pluralsight valuable, as usage is increasing month over month. “Our usage for the platform has increased significantly. In December 2017, employees were logging about 1,000 hours a month. By May 2018, we’ve already increased that number to 2,400. And this looks totally sustainable for us, even though we’ve had an over a 100% increase. This shows us that people have a need, and we don’t want to stand in their way. We want to give them easy access so they can get right in and start learning.”
Using Pluralsight is also more cost effective.
“I did an investigation into our training spend and uncovered that we were spending about 75% of our training on external classroom training, but only trained about 13% of our staff (only 1 in 3),” says Anthony. “So, the savings and skills that come from using Pluralsight are exponential. We can train our entire staff faster and more cost effectively.”
Another big ROI? Measuring skills across multiple countries. “I look at consumption of learning in general across countries and try to identify where we’ve got big gaps. So where I see this, I know right away that people aren't using Pluralsight. Sometimes there is a cultural gap, and we try to address this and give people permission to use their time for continuous learning.”
When you have employees all over the globe that need to work together and keep their skills relevant to tackle new technology, and you want to make sure your investment in learning pays off––Dimension Data shows that Pluralsight is checking all the boxes.
In the end, when you can give your customer more than what they bargained for? Well, that’s the icing on the cake (and, how you successfully navigate digital disruption in an ever-changing industry).
Dimension Data partnered with Pluralsight to get engineers re-skilled in DevOps and automation across 47 different countries.
Providing Pluralsight to any of the 30,000 employees who need to improve their skills, and using the platform to track where skills are in located different geographies across the world.
- Quantifiable and meaningful demonstrated customer value
- Automation that allowed engineers to provide more insights to customers
- Ability to see skills and gaps across employees in different geographies
- Ability to bring virtual teams together quickly to address client needs
- Money saved when giving employees access to Pluralsight over instructor-led training
- Ability to skill-up and reskill more employees, rather than a few
Dimension Data at a glance
- USD 8 billion global systems integrator and managed services provider that designs, manages, and optimizes today’s evolving technology
- Founded in 1983, headquartered in Johannesburg and member of NTT Group
- Over 6,000 clients
- Over 28,000 employees worldwide
- Over 100 prestigious industry awards
- Employees in 47 countries
- All employees have access, without barrier, to Pluralsight when needed
- With Pluralsight, deployments have become automated, giving engineers more time to deliver quality insights to the client