Case Study 4 – Mercedes-Benz USA Investing in IT Infrastructure
How should Settle and his team evaluate the e-learning option? What factors should they consider when deciding between e-learning and traditional, classroom-based education?
A: When a company starts a new project, time and cost are essential factors. The second is technical feasibility. Settle and his team need to consider whether they can find a good technology vendor to assist them in project development. Finally, they need to consider whether the e-learning project will meet their expectations.
For traditional classroom-based education, they need to consider the time and money required to expand existing education centers.
Build a financial model to determine if MBUSA should invest in e-learning. Should MBUSA make the investment? What are the key drivers of value? What are the risks?
A: MBUSA’s training responsibilities are divided into three separate areas: technical training, retail training and development, and human resources training and development. For retail training and development and human resources training and development, MBUSA can completely turn them into online learning courses and set course certification standards. For technical training, it can be partly turned into online learning. For example, ongoing training and pre-release training can go online and add online certifications. Other technical training continues to be taught in traditional courses.
I think MBUSA should make the investment in e-learning. Key drivers include: 1. Staffing Capacity. Many organizations recognize that creating high-quality content requires multiple skills and resources, and partnering with an e-learning vendor will be the best option. 2. Transformation of Workplace Learning. The training program is already learner-centred. The important thing is where the learner wants to learn and how. 3. Growth of Technology. With the rapid development of technology, more and more companies have the ability to develop e-learning projects.
Risks include: 1. Content Quality Risk. How should E-learning ensure the quality of training and high-level training certification standards. 2. Privacy Risks. This storage poses great privacy risks to the participants if safety measures for the Learning Management System aren’t in place. The login information of corporate learners and online instructors is also stored online and, if compromised, translates to a breach of privacy. 3. Managing High Initial Costs. High initial costs are unavoidable when going global. The new plan must have a reasonable cost structure.
What are the key factors that Settle and his team should consider when comparing the real Networks solution and the Microsoft solution?
A: The key factor is choosing the right technology vendor. For RealNet works, they are the new streaming company. But their advantage lies in their ability to innovate quickly and occupy a certain market share. For Microsoft, their technology is very mature. And MBUSA and Microsoft have rich experience in cooperation. Microsoft’s Windows operating system is more popular.
4. What factors should MBUSA consider when developing an execution plan for the e-learning option? What are the primary risks and criteria for evaluating the deployment?
A: For MBUSA, first of all, it is necessary to ensure the quality of teaching. Second, we need to be able to provide technical information more widely. For example, provide students with materials anytime, anywhere. Third, the new solution must be implemented within a reasonable cost structure. Its supplier selection criteria include: deployment and management must be cost-effective, simple integration with web-based training applications, and ease of use for technicians. The system must also be integrated with MBUSA’s future use of content delivery web services.
The primary risks and criteria include: 1. Digital Literacy. To attend class online, students will need a certain degree of technological proficiency—including the ability to successfully log in, participate in classes, submit work, and communicate with teachers and classmates. 2. Technical Issues. Low bandwidth and weak internet can affect how quickly students can connect and participate in class. 3. Time Management. How should students flexibly arrange their study time. 4. Technology vendor issues. In any vendor selection process there are generally a number of important criteria, such as pricing, technology, quality, service and so on.
Identify the most important facts surrounding the case.
MBUSA’s four regional training centres are rapidly approaching maximum classroom capacity.
MBUSA training responsibilities are addressed in three separate functional areas: technical training, retail training and development, and human resources training and development.
Junior technicians receive apprenticeship training before entering the dealer organization.
MBUSA provided training and technical support to all dealer technicians.
The Technical Training Department has also developed, produced and distributed all technical documents for each product model and year, as well as course materials accompanying the training course.
Identify the key issue or issues.
Existing classrooms are no longer sufficient to support more technician training.
Mercedes’ culture of continuous innovation makes installation, maintenance and repair procedures more difficult.
Dealer technicians need to support more and more vehicles on the road every year.
The company’s new products are constantly appearing.
As the number of dealer technicians is increasing, dealer training costs are also increasing.
Specify alternative courses of action.
Alternative 1: The most immediate option for the Technical Training Department is to expand classroom capacity in existing education centers.
Alternative 2: Another option facing the Technical Training Department is to strengthen classroom courses through a web-based distance learning and certification programme.
Evaluate each course of action.
For Alternative 1, it extends a proven and successful educational model. However, according to the data, the establishment of a training centre with two or three classrooms at a daily cost of between 5,000 $ and 7500 $ does not include the initial capital required for the construction of the facility, including teachers’ salaries, administrative staff and construction utilities and maintenance. This approach will undoubtedly require a lot of money.
For Alternative 2, through the e-learning system, dealer technicians can obtain information on demand and get support when needed and when needed. Dealers can also minimize the time and travel costs of their technicians and still improve the set of available skills. Distance learning systems will enable MBUSA to expand their training systems without the need to build additional training facilities. It eliminates the cost of copying and distributing videotapes and other documents.
Recommend the best course of action.
I think the e-learning system is the best way for MBUSA. Because this method can maximize the use of existing educational resources without the need to build additional training classrooms. The e-learning system requires lower deployment costs than building a new training venue. MBUSA can choose more suitable technology suppliers in e-learning to meet their needs. For technicians who need training, e-learning provides a more convenient way to learn. At the same time, e-learning can also help dealers eliminate some of the additional expenses incurred by training.
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