BlueCat sought a solution to scale on-demand training with the ability to quickly provision POC and demo environments to improve its sales process.
With Skytap’s Course Manager feature, BlueCat now delivers a high volume of on-demand training, self-service labs, POCs and demo environments for its sales team, and offers better partner training while more effectively managing costs.
BlueCat provides an integrated DNS, DHCP and IPAM software platform to power enterprise networks from the edge to the core, helping them automate, assure and secure their critical IT infrastructure. Its mission is to help organizations deliver reliable and secure network access from any location and any network environment.
BlueCat’s various software offerings are both flexible and complex, which means the company needs to offer tailored and customized training for each customer’s specific software use case. The company knew it wanted a cloud-based, virtual training labs solution to deliver customer training globally. BlueCat selected Skytap Virtual IT Labs as its solution for instructor-led in-person training due to the access to data centers worldwide, on-demand delivery, and low latency.
After using Skytap for several years to deliver customer training in-person, and after the changing training landscape due to the global pandemic, BlueCat knew it needed a new solution to scale training further and offer virtual ILT in addition to on-demand labs. It also needed to add POC and demo capabilities for its sales organization. In 2023, BlueCat began using the Skytap’s Course Manager feature, which helps companies:
- Quickly build and re-use lab templates
- Automate and schedule the creation of labs in multiple regions
- Control usage and costs with flexible lab access and retention rules
- Support self-service, on-demand training labs
A Skytap customer since 2014, BlueCat utilizes Skytap Virtual IT Labs and Course Manager features to:
- Deliver hands-on software training for customers both in-person and virtually globally
- Create POCs for prospects and use labs during the sales cycle for feature education
- Provide software training for partners
- Educate customers on new features through interactive demonstrations
Prior to using Skytap’s Course Manager feature, BlueCat was delivering three instructor-led trainings per quarter. In its first month of leveraging Course Manager, the company held five instructor-led trainings and two bootcamps with as many as 115 concurrent Skytap environments running at one time. Bluecat’s team called the rollout “a tremendous success.” The company now offers self-service, on-demand training for customers, in addition to live training, which makes it both more convenient for the customer and more cost-effective for BlueCat. The customer success team can now quickly create on-demand labs to help customers understand and implement a new feature or to troubleshoot an issue.
Skytap is now used throughout the organization, not just with customer training. The sales organization uses Skytap Virtual IT Labs to spin up POC and demo environments for potential customers to explore BlueCat’s software tailored to their specific use case. The company utilizes Skytap’s Salesforce integration capability to easily track when a virtual lab is consumed. The automated process also allows the sales team to be self-sufficient in setting prospects up with a demo environment. Salespeople simply enter a Salesforce record ID when creating a lab and Salesforce automatically updates the record with the details.
Additionally, the channel team uses labs to train partners hands-on with the product so they can better serve customers. The customer success team also uses Skytap when presenting on new features and functionalities to demonstrate hands-on for customers. To help measure the effectiveness of labs, BlueCat can pull reports to see which teams are utilizing which labs and see where a user drops off or how long they spend in the training.
“Skytap has always delivered on the things we’ve requested of the platform. I’ve never had that experience with a vendor where I say, ‘Have you thought about adding this?’, and it ends up being in the next release. We love that new features are always being added and there’s a lot of thought being put into the product.”
Beverly Kelly, Technical Learning Manager, BlueCat
What’s Next with Skytap
BlueCat’s future plans for Skytap include adding even more use cases throughout the organization. “We are very excited about the future with Skytap.” The sales team hopes to use labs earlier on in the sales cycle to help potential customers understand its solution, plus use it for sales enablement internally. The customer success and care teams will develop labs to help them better understand what challenges customers are facing and how to help them solve it. Lastly, BlueCat hopes to develop a certification program in the use of its software through demonstrated assessments to help partners validate their skill sets.
“We love that Skytap is a solid, dependable platform. It has made our lives easier and allowed us to scale very quickly and effortlessly and without any of the bumps you’d expect from rapid scaling. It’s reduced the onus of always having instructors available with on-demand labs. We’re able to rapidly create new product demo labs so that we have something ready to show customers right when a product is released.” – Beverly Kelly, Technical Learning Manager, BlueCat