For holding in-person customer training sessions, Manhattan Associates needed a virtual labs solution that would make setup and configuration simple for instructors and provide customers with an effective training environment for learning how to use their software.
With Skytap Virtual IT Labs, Manhattan Associates eliminates the need for physical hardware, provides a strong training experience for customers, both in-person and virtually, and saves instructors hours of work through the use of templates and checkpoints.
About Manhattan Associates
Manhattan Associates is a technology leader in supply chain and omnichannel commerce. The company unites information across the enterprise, converging front-end sales with back-end supply chain execution. Manhattan’s software, platform technology, and unmatched experience help drive both top-line growth and bottom-line profitability for its customers.
Manhattan Associates’ Challenge
Manhattan Associates offers comprehensive training courses for customers to learn how to use its supply chain management software and stay up-to-date with the latest features. Prior to Skytap, instructors had to transport 25 laptops and duplicated hard drives to onsite training sessions, which was logistically challenging and required heavy lifting. After each training session and before using laptops for a different customer, the laptops had to be manually refreshed by unscrewing hard drives and replacing them with new ones. This process could take up to two hours and often was conducted at the airport when an instructor was en route to a new training site. Additionally, the education team had to work with the IT team to reset the demo environment, refresh the data, and configure it for a new customer. The process was lengthy, physically taxing, and led to frustration for instructors.
The company also conducts training internally for both new hires and third-party resellers using the same laptops and hardware. Because there were only so many laptops available and customer training took precedence, other training at times had to be delayed or team members had to share laptops.
Manhattan Associates knew it wanted a cloud-based, virtual training labs solution to eliminate the time consuming and difficult process of configuring and transporting laptops across the country to customer training sessions. In considering a solution, Manhattan Associates selected Skytap Virtual IT Labs due to the following product features and capabilities:
- Ease of access for learners through a web browser
- Quick instructor access and simple controls
- Ability to quickly provision environments and build and re-use templates
- On-demand delivery and latency
- Access to data centers across the U.S. and worldwide
The company implemented Skytap quickly and has been successfully delivering customer and internal training through the virtual solution, eliminating the need to transport physical hardware from location to location. Instructors save up to two hours between customer training sessions by eliminating the need to physically reset hard drives. As an added benefit, when training moved remote during the global pandemic, Manhattan Associates was already prepared with a solution that allowed training to continue without skipping a beat. Learners now provide their own laptop and access the software training environment through a link opened in a web browser.
By using Skytap Virtual IT Labs, the education team is also now self-servicing. Prior to Skytap, Manhattan Associates relied on the IT team for technical support to help configure training and data for each customer. With Skytap, the education team can now handle all configuration and setup. Instructors can configure an environment once, then copy and paste the environment for each learner. The use of checkpoints and deploying templates also saves invaluable time and allows for a smoother transition between customer training sessions.
“We write the courses once, we configure the system and mock data completely in Skytap, then customers can take our training again and again with the same data. We don’t have to work with a technical team anymore to reset the environment and hard drives after each course.” – Nicole Paladino, Director, Education Services & Change Management, Manhattan Associates
With customers all over the world, Manhattan Associates utilizes Skytap data centers to deliver strong connection speeds. At times, there can be up to 100 learners using Skytap at the same time from various locations across the U.S., U.K., India, and more.
A Skytap customer since 2012, Manhattan Associates utilizes Skytap Virtual IT Labs to:
- Deliver hands-on software training for customers both in-person and virtually across the globe
- Conduct internal training for new hires, business partners, and third party resellers
- Eliminate instructor frustration with transporting and setting up hardware
- Improve classroom management through the use of checkpoints and quick troubleshooting
- Reduce time spent configuring courses and refreshing data
Another added benefit of using Skytap is the improved experience for Manhattan Associates’ instructors. Due to the user-friendly interface, instructors don’t need to be tech savvy to use Skytap, which allows them to focus more on the course material and provide hands-on support to learners rather than spend time learning to use the virtual labs software. If something comes up during a live training session, the instructor can contact another instructor for support and have them log into the virtual environment and help troubleshoot the issue.
Manhattan Associates conducts weeklong training courses, the majority of which are onsite at a customer’s office. If a learner misses a session, joins partway through a course, or needs to redo one of the training tasks, the instructor can easily make changes to that learner’s specific environment, such as moving them past a checkpoint, completing a certain task, or altering the sample data. The ability to customize each environment on the fly provides a stronger training experience for the learner and ensures they are fully prepared to use the software in practice.
“Our instructors are proficient in Skytap, and we can all jump around in the environments to help one another out during classes. An instructor doesn’t have to take 30 minutes to troubleshoot something in the middle of their class. They can ask a colleague to jump in remotely and help figure out what is happening.”
Fred Gates, Senior Principal Consultant, Manhattan Associates