From old systems and long lines of heavy, administrative procedures, to a fully digitised workflow with a full overview of training courses. The armed forces have come a long way in their business development, and there are still great ambitions for the future.
The Danish Defense: Building a new course platform
For many years, the Danish Armed Forces had worked with a number of older systems, all of which were developed to support larger and complex organizations. This meant a large amount of administrative staff to handle the systems and their workflows.
"We had to streamline our workflow, but as is often the case, we reduced the number of administrative employees, instead of making the administration itself smarter or more efficient. It's a classic approach. You want the work to be handled more efficiently, but without optimizing the proper tools" says Peter Sejling Sørensen, Head of Corporate Course Administration.
As such, it was quickly decided that a smarter solution had to be found. Peter was put in charge of a team that grew from 1 to 25 employees. Their primary task was to make the Danish Defense's course administration more efficient.
"We knew that the users had to be the focus, so we looked from the outside in on our business. What are the users' challenges? It was clear that the accessibility of the courses should be the biggest focus point" elaborates Peter Sejling Sørensen
"Our vision was to gather all of our course management in one unified system, rather than the many different tools we used before. That's exactly what we've got now. As an employee in the armed forces, you can quickly and easily find a course, rather than having to find the responsible employee, as they had to before. I personally think that you should have the opportunity to develop throughout your career. With "MinUddannelse" it is now much easier for employees of the Armed Forces to do just that
Peter Sejling Sørensen, Head of Corporate Course Administration.
Rewarding partnership for both parties
After some analysis work, which consisted of user stories, clarification meetings and several workshops, the Armed Forces felt that they were ready to look at potential partners and systems.
"We quickly realised that we weren't looking for a supplier who would just sell us a system and then leave. We sought an ongoing collaboration where we could develop our solution in conjunction with the supplier. Success goes both ways, and we wanted both parties to benefit from the collaboration” says Peter Sejling Sørensen
The various solutions were presented, and after a lenghty internal analysis, Plan2learn's LMS was chosen as the basis for the solution. But that was only the first step. Now the special needs and requests of the Danish Defense had to be identified and adressed before commencing the long development process.
"Even before we sat down with plan2learn, we had user stories, templates and drafts that described how we wanted the solution to look. We had a vision to bring together all forms of educational activities within the Armed Forces in one comprehensive overview. We then showed that to Plan2learn, and they reported back with a certainty that they would be able to deliver exactly that.” elaborates Peter Sejling Sørensen
The collaboration was characterized by an agile and iterative approach to development, where the Armed Forces could continuously adapt and influence the solution to their needs while it was being built. This constant dialogue was essential, as the Armed Forces, due to their size, had a wide range of requirements that sometimes differed from the norm.
"It was a must for us that the collaboration should be agile and be centered around an ongoing dialogue. After all, it is a learning process, and many of the challenges are only discovered along the way" says Peter Sejling Sørensen
MinUddannelse collects all of the courses within the Danish Defense
The new course portal is called "MinUddannelse", and has already been published in an early version, which will be continuously developed over the next few years. Now the Danish Armed Forces have a unified system for all of their course activities, which should help both managers and employees.
"Our vision was to gather all of our course management in one unified system, rather than the many different tools we used before. That's exactly what we've got now. As an employee in the armed forces, you can quickly and easily find a course, rather than having to find the responsible employee, as they had to before. I personally think that you should have the opportunity to develop throughout your career. With "MinUddannelse" it is now much easier for employees of the Armed Forces to do just that" elaborates Peter Sejling Sørensen
When an employee logs in to "MinUddannelse", they will see a dashboard from which they have a full overview of future and ongoing courses, and can quickly search for new training opportunities. The administrative workflow, which occurs in the background of the system's user-friendly facade, has also become significantly easier.
"A manager can now mass register employees for courses, which saves a lot of time and administrative work. In addition, through the dashboard, they can keep track of all the employees' training activities" elaborates Peter Sejling Sørensen
Thus, the foundation has been laid out for how education should be handled within the Armed Forces, but the future still holds a long development plan.
"We have a backlog that is simply overflowing with possible additions and new features, as our agile approach reveals more possibilities on an ongoing basis. So even though we are super proud of the system that we have launched, we will constantly have the users as our focus and find new ways to make it easier for them.” ends Peter Sejling Sørensen.