How This Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader Creates Personalized Learning Experiences Using the Intellum Platform
Braze gets it. They know marketers no longer rely on one channel to reach customers. They understand how vital it is to create meaningful, personalized experiences to engage customers in today’s on-demand, always-connected world. Their award-winning customer engagement platform connects people and brands across all channels, earning Braze the honor of being named a leader in customer relationship management and mobile marketing automation by both Forrester and Gartner*.
They also understand that they have to consistently educate and engage their own employees to maintain this leadership position. Braze had a learning management system in place to facilitate internal learning initiatives, but they knew it wasn’t nimble or robust enough, to keep up with their rapidly growing global team of marketing, engagement, software and engineering professionals. “It just wasn’t built for our team,” said Jessica Bartlett, Vice President of People for Braze. “We couldn’t assign courses to specific users, and there was no way to follow-up when someone missed a course or to recommend additional learning content. It was a very manual process.”
We get it, too. Engaging the employees of a fast-moving tech brand like Braze takes a lot more than old-school courseware and canned content. Real engagement requires a highly targeted and personalized learning experience that leverages a wide range of formal and informal content, including live learning opportunities, to mimic the way the employee learns on her own time. The ultimate goal is for the system to know the individual learner well enough to automatically present the information she is most likely to need, and consume, every time she returns to the learning environment.
“[With our old LMS], we couldn’t assign courses to specific users or follow-up to recommend additional learning. It was a very manual process.”
~ Jessica Bartlett, Vice President of People - Braze
Braze knew Intellum was the learning technology partner that could help them reimagine their internal learning approach. John Chu, Digital Education Manager for Braze used the Intellum Platform at a previous company. He had first-hand knowledge of the impact the Intellum Platform can have on user engagement when introduced into the mix. They also knew that rapid implementations were an Intellum differentiator. What they didn’t know was how quickly Intellum would be able to implement Braze’s vast content catalog, integrate their HR system, create custom reports, incorporate their branding and train their team. Braze’s rapid growth mode had the company in a severe time crunch - they needed a new experience in place in less than 60 days.
The Plan: Collaborate, Communicate, Educate
Braze wanted an out-of-the-box solution that didn’t have an out-of-the-box look and feel. No problem. The Intellum Platform is designed for visual customization and allows clients to easily add logos and imagery, and alter colors to keep the environment on brand. We helped Braze implement dynamic calls-to-action in their hero images (the large banners that can be turned on for any page in the Intellum Platform) and even agreed to incorporate some custom imagery into Braze’s system-generated reports.
Braze also wanted to be up-and-running in less than 60 days. No problem. The Intellum Platform is designed to implement quickly and allow for simple, rapid integration with existing enterprise systems. When it comes to these kinds of employee learning initiatives, most companies want to integrate their learning platform with their existing human resource information system (HRIS), so that the HRIS serves as the system of record and the learning platform syncs to ensure data integrity and expose trends for analysis. This was certainly the case with Braze; and having spent the last twenty years successfully integrating with almost every HRIS solution in the world, we didn’t expect any problems. But sometimes even we run into challenging integration scenarios.
Typically, the HRIS integration process is quick and painless. The client generates a user data file from the HRIS and, depending on the HRIS and the scenario, we pull or fetch that data via API or nightly FTP upload. When we reached this milestone in the implementation process, something wasn’t right - the exported file wasn’t automatically loading like it should. After some significant digging on both sides, Braze discovered a reporting conflict within their HRIS that was deleting a key piece of information from the user data file, hindering the import. Concerned this might delay the launch, the Intellum implementation team worked with Braze to identify a solution that would keep us all on track. Braze reconfigured some of the system settings to “ignore” the missing data field and adjusted the timing of their user uploads. Intellum devised a solution for Braze to export their user data in a compatible format and transfer the file via SFTP, which would then auto-populate the learning platform. This solution allowed Braze to load their user data correctly without jeopardizing their launch date.
The entire implementation process was a truly collaborative effort, with both teams working quickly to deliver the learning experience Braze envisioned...in the timeframe they needed. Weekly meetings kept the team up-to-date, allowing them to address issues and questions as they arose. John complimented, “The help and support from Intellum has been second-to-none.”
It’s still too early to report on specific metrics, but Braze has recognized significant success with each of their user groups since launching the Intellum Platform:
Learners: Better variety of content, with clear learning objectives and requirements
Success: Braze leveraged Intellum’s open asset approach to mix-and-match content types, like videos, in-person sessions and links; and built a clear, organized learning structure using Topics and Paths. Now, learners can see what courses have been assigned to them, when they’re due and what’s up next.
Bonus: Braze incorporates Triggers and Notifications to provide yet another level of personalization. Working in tandem, they serve to remind learners of upcoming requirements.
Managers: Greater insights to their team’s learning performance
Success: Previously, managers had little to no visibility into how - or if - their teams were completing the necessary training. Using Intellum’s proprietary reporting engine, Braze can now report on anything in their learning database, giving managers full transparency into their teams’ progress.
Bonus: By integrating Salesforce with their learning platform, managers are using these insights to have more productive conversations with their teams, and correlating learning performance with job performance.
Admins: Easier, more automatic enrollment process
Success: Flexible. Insightful and intuitive. Turn-key. The full-featured Admin function automates most of the tasks associated with setting up user profiles and creating groups. This makes it easier for Braze to build curriculums and assign courses to specific learners (or groups of learners), set due dates and track each learner’s completions. As John puts it, “It’s a game-changer!”
Bonus: Braze is also using Links to create auto-enrollments and additional content recommendations, based on a learner’s activity within the platform.
“I’ve worked with 4 or 5 learning management systems throughout my career, and the Intellum Platform is by far the most user-friendly.”
~ John Chu, Digital Education Manager - Braze
The real secret to Braze’s successful implementation was the Braze team. Previous experience with the Intellum Platform was a definite plus; but it was the time and commitment John and the team put forth that made the difference. “They had the most positive, can-do attitude and were just great partners,” said Jill VanMatre, Intellum Account Strategist. Added Tom Larsen, Intellum Implementation Manager, “Braze understands the power of personalized learning and took full advantage of all the functionality available in the Intellum Platform. John was truly focused on getting it done, and getting it done right. He made it his job.”
4 Cities. 4 Countries. 300+ Unique Pieces of Content. 49 Days. One Team.
It’s amazing what happens when two leaders come together. And we’re just getting started. In the coming months, Intellum will help Braze introduce additional features and platform tools, including Certifications, Tribe and Level, to give their learners an even more personalized, more connected, experience.
*: Leader, The Forrester Wave: Mobile Engagement Automation (MEA), Q3 2017; Leader, 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms