OLI Systems sought a cloud-based solution to scale global training and make it easier for instructors to set up and learners to participate in training sessions.
With Skytap Virtual IT Labs, OLI Systems rapidly scaled the volume of customer training it provides worldwide and enabled learners to join sessions and explore its software through a simple and secure web browser connection.
About OLI Systems
As the pioneer in electrolyte and water chemistry and its applications to industrial processes with a strong passion for technology innovation, OLI Systems delivers comprehensive, process modeling solutions for water chemistry based industrial applications that enhance operational efficiency, sustainability and engineering productivity while mitigating risk.
OLI Systems’ Challenge
OLI Systems provides comprehensive training to customers globally on its water chemistry software, which was largely conducted in-person prior to the pandemic. To participate in a training session, learners had to download and install OLI Systems’ training software. However, with the majority of its customers in the oil and gas industry that typically has strong computer security and internal IT measures, many learners were unable to download and install the software, which made it difficult to participate in sessions. Not only did it take a significant amount of time for instructors to troubleshoot this issue for each learner in a session, at times there would be no resolution and a learner was unable to participate at all. This negatively impacted its ability to deliver customer training and created frustration for both learners and instructors.
OLI Systems knew it needed a training solution to combat the recurring roadblock of learners being unable to download software onto their computers. In considering a solution, OLI Systems selected Skytap Virtual IT Labs due to the following product features and capabilities:
- Ease of training access for learners through a web browser
- Quick instructor access and simple controls
- Instructor over-the-shoulder access to lab environments for personalized instruction
- On-demand, scalable training delivery
- Global availability and ability to quickly provision environments
With Skytap Virtual IT Labs, learners access their live training sessions by simply clicking on a link that opens a virtual machine in their web browser. Since implementing the cloud-based solution, OLI Systems reports that they haven’t had a single learner who could not access a Skytap virtual machine through their web browser. The company also no longer has to involve the IT department when configuring sessions and setting up learners.
“We went from it being nearly impossible to set up virtual machines for our oil and gas customers to it being super simple through clicking a link to your web browser. I can configure a course in Skytap in just five minutes and it saves us a lot of time and headaches.” – James Berthold, Vice President of Customer Support and Application Engineering
A Skytap customer since 2021, OLI Systems utilizes Skytap Virtual IT Labs and its Course Manager add-on to:
- Deliver hands-on software training for customers both in-person and virtually across the globe
- Eliminate instructor frustration with setting up software on each learner’s computer
- Improve classroom management through the use of virtual machines and quick troubleshooting
- Reduce time spent configuring courses and troubleshooting setup for customers with tight cybersecurity controls
OLI Systems conducts two-4 hour training sessions for each new customer to onboard them on using their software. For these sessions, the company has two live instructors in attendance – one instructor presents while the other instructor monitors each learners’ virtual machine and the chat, and troubleshoots as needed. This setup has eliminated instructor frustration when conducting live sessions and made it easier for the learner to seek help during training.
The company has expanded rapidly in the last few years, and with more customers using their software came the demand for more training sessions. OLI Systems previously held six training sessions per year, and now they conduct around six sessions per month to keep up with new customer growth. The ease of setup and ability to spin up multiple machines at once has made it easier for instructors to accommodate the increased volume.
“Using Skytap has made it so much easier to set up a classroom of virtual machines versus manually setting up each learners’ computer. I see strong value in that case. As an instructor, Skytap also makes it easy to present the material.”
Linton Wong, Application Engineer
Additional Skytap Use Cases
OLI Systems is also using Skytap Virtual IT Labs for non-training purposes. During the sales process when a prospective customer moves to a trial of the software, there can be the same hurdle as the training use case where the individual cannot download the software to their machine. When this happens, OLI Systems can provide the prospect with a link to a Skytap virtual machine and the prospect can explore the software through a web browser rather than a download.
Additionally, the company uses Skytap internally for beta testing on new versions and features of their software. “We foresee using Skytap for a long time,” added Berthold, who has been with OLI Systems for over 35 years.