Any winning solution improves productivity while making things easier and simpler—it’s a given. After all, that’s what technology is all about—helping us become more efficient while adjusting to our rapidly changing environment.

A winning cloud-based training solution is no different

With the globalization of our economy, the reliability and efficiency of corporate training solutions is crucial. Organizations are keen to invest in effective training solutions for globally scattered employees while keeping requirements low for resources, including time, money, and staffing.

This is the strong point that virtual cloud-based training solutions are currently bringing to the training industry “table.” However, not all providers are delivering on that promise.

Now, you can imagine the frustration you, as a training executive, would undergo when sifting through the crowded market of cloud-based offerings. Browsing the many methodologies and brands can give you a headache. Along with the competing claims from providers, concerns about latency, lack of control, poor support, and a bad fit with the company’s IT needs make your job harder. Although the best provider is often the one that suits your specific organizational needs, there are a few common characteristics to consider while searching for the best solution. Here are three of them.

What to look for

1. Configuration support

Make sure you know what’s required of you before committing to a provider. The ideal provider should meet your needs, not the other way around. Some providers require recoding or architectural changes in your operating systems. But this is completely unnecessary. These providers are simply making their lives easier instead of yours. There is no need to change or re-route your existing on-premise software, your exact IP addressing, protocols, or storage connectivity—in fact, they should all remain as they are. Providers who run only on open-source Linux hypervisors may limit support for any other operating system or virtual machines, in order to cut their costs.

2. Scalability

Consider why we use cloud-based training solutions to begin with—this virtual training technology allows us to efficiently reach and support a changing number of students all around the world. That means cloud-based training solutions should be able to easily scale from one to 50 students in no time, allowing them to log in for various controlled time periods to follow the class.

So how do you make sure your provider allows you to easily scale?

  • Ensure your provider has highly elastic server provisioning that can scale from one to 50 and then back to 10, in just a few clicks of the mouse.
  • Check their software licensing to avoid blocked sessions.
  • Make sure the system can track, de-provision, and delete expired student lab training environments, and that your IP and budget are kept safely. That way you won’t find yourself paying for unused servers or live environments going around the web.

Scalability also means you’ll be able to support those scheduled classes for any length of time and any number of students.

Remember the “olden days,” when you had to rent out a room, purchase computers in advance, have the team work on the class’s configuration and networking, upload the material, etc.? If the class was canceled or people didn’t show up, that was your problem, as everything had already been paid for in advance. If more students showed up, you couldn’t accept them, as you couldn’t provide them with computers.

But those days are long gone, and cloud-based training-lab providers should now allow you to “schedule and forget”: when invitations are already sent and servers are prepared, provisioned exactly for each student, and scheduled to de-provision after the session—there are no money losses, no clean-ups.

3. High level of control

Over-the-shoulder teaching is almost mandatory today if we expect true progress while training faraway students. This truly vital interaction between teacher and student allows real case-by-case troubleshooting and student progress visibility.

So, what should you expect from your cloud-based provider?

  • Reporting tools, detailed technical access to usage insights, and analytics to monitor student progress, their level of engagement, content effectiveness, etc.
  • Support in granular hierarchy of permissions by student, group, business division, etc., to control access and views
  • Private-label branding to present your virtual training classroom as an extension of your organization
  • Control over a student’s desktop to provide real-time assistance

Having a high level of control over your training also means providing instructors with their own training infrastructure, independent of IT and completely self-sufficient. A truly powerful cloud-based remote classroom experience should feel as close to a physical classroom as possible, not compromised by IT provisioning delays or logistics issues.

Summing up

Cloud-based virtual training has the potential to improve your training effectiveness substantially. But that requires choosing the right provider based on these three criteria: configuration support, scalability, and high level of control.

These characteristics are vital for a consistent, reliable, and flexible training environment that will make the training process easier and simpler. Well, that’s just what cloud-based solutions are supposed to do.

If your cloud-based training provider meets these three characteristics, you’re on the right path. Now it’s time to take your training to the next level and use the latest learning techniques to increase student engagement, maximize training effectiveness, and improve organizational productivity.