A PLM onboarding course is a key piece of the complete puzzle of the user onboarding journey. It is a guided learning experience that introduces the learner (or user) to the basic concepts and system functionalities, like navigation features and useful searches. In this blogpost, we want to share the 7 lessons that every PLM system onboarding course must include. For that, we have selected the PLM system, Ganister, to use as an example.
1. Welcome to the System: What is this PLM System About?
A system onboarding course is the first contact that a person has with the system. This first impression will influence their acceptance or resistance to the system, which will have a big impact on the company’s whole PLM strategy. Bad first impressions move very quickly between people since it’s common for a dissatisfied user to negatively affect other users’ opinions about the PLM system.
According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs ‘a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.’ For these reasons, it is very important to explain the benefits of the system and its role within the company in a simple, fresh, and engaging way.
We recommend using modern graphics to group the system benefits and main features in a condensed view. They can provide an overview that can be assimilated within seconds by the learner.
2. System Login: How Can I Find the System and Log In?
Obviously, a must-have lesson in a PLM system onboarding course is the “How to Login” lesson. It sounds easy to do, but don’t forget to include:
- How to acquire a username and password: Where should the user request login credentials?
- What the needed technical requirements are: Are there system requirements needed to start working with it? (e.g. Java updates, recommended internet browsers, security certificates, etc.)
- How to install the system or where to log in: Depending on if the system is on-cloud or on-premise, you need to guide the user on how to access the system. They may need to request help from the IT department to install it on their computers or maybe they can easily find the links on the company intranet webpage.
- How to log in: Provide visual instructions on how to use the system’s login interface.
3. User Roles: What Am I Supposed to Do in this PLM System?
Business roles are sets of system licenses and permissions that control what you are able to view, edit, create, remove or delete. In this lesson, show the user a comprehensive view of the different business roles that work with the PLM system and the main tasks that each one is able to perform.
This lesson will help them understand the context of sharing and managing data: who will collaborate actively with them, who will see the data they input, who is responsible for what product or part of the product, what they can edit, what they can’t edit, etc.
4. Home Walkthrough: What Information Can I Find in the PLM System?
In this lesson, you want the user to learn what the main features are and how to locate them from the PLM system’s homepage. They need to know where they are, how easily they can navigate through their working views, how fast they can find required information, and where they can request help. Provide them with a guide of the interface.
The more interactive your onboarding course is, the better. Take a look at this labeled graphic that we made for our client. You’re able to click on the hotspots to read further menu information, making it more interesting and more informative than just a regular image.
5. Searching Smart: How Can I Efficiently Find the Information I Need?
Most PLM systems offer powerful search capabilities. And at first glance, you could think that your system is pretty intuitive. But searching is not finding! A good PLM system onboarding course needs to contain an overview of the different available searches and in which cases they should be used.
For instance, imagine that you have lot of information about a document. You know its exact title, its owner, its purpose, etc. There is probably a search that will allow you to input all that data and will point you to the target document.
On the other hand, you might only know that it is a Engineering design review, and you’ll need to search and view multiple results in order to identify the document you need.
In this type of lesson you should give hints and tricks to the users on how to find key information by searching using key data. Don’t go too in depth, though. Remember that it is an onboarding course that should be fresh and agile.
For example, if you are searching for a project in the system, give some tips about the following:
- How should the searches be used, or it is more recommended to navigate through the menus?
- Which of the available searches are best for finding a project?
- Which information should I input to find a project faster? Or which information is usually introduced for a person with my role?
Search topics can be another completely separate course. And it’s worth creating because finding the right information in a short amount of time saves lots of users frustration and time, which in turn affects the company’s budget.
6. Customizing Views and Filtering Information: How Can I Find Information in a Certain Context?
Imagine that you have found the project you were looking for and now you want to start working on one of your assigned tasks. The project contains 85 tasks, so most likely you will need to filter the tasks to find the ones assigned to you.
In this lesson, show the users how to filter table information, how to select different predefined views, and how to create their own view. Knowing how to search, filter, and customize views will make them feel more familiar with the system and more confident using it.
7. Common Final Lessons: How Can I Continue Learning?
To close the PLM system onboarding course you can add quizzes to test the users’ knowledge, a lesson to continue learning, or a guide on how to request system support. The key is to show the available resources to help your users continue along their PLM onboarding journey.