Large Bank Utilizes CBT in Making Transition to New Computer System

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Large Bank Utilizes CBT In Making Transition to New Computer System

Converting to a new computer system--with a different vendor, operating system and functionality--could have been a major upheaval for San Francisco-based 1st Nationwide Bank. End-user interfaces changed, computer presentation screens looked different, and bank employees had to learn new ways to perform their job functions.

However, with the help of an effective user training program that combined the PHOENIX computer-based training (CBT) system from Goal Systems International, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, and consulting by Dallas-based Electronic Learning Systems (ELS), the bank and its employees successfully completed the first phase of the systems conversion, and operations are running smoothly.

Established in 1885, 1st Nationwide Bank now has 250 full-service branches spread through 15 states. A federal savings bank, it was purchased by Ford Motor Co. in 1985. Two years later, the bank began converting and upgrading the retail division's computer system from a Sperry mainframe to an IBM host environment.

The computer system conversion is a major step in the bank's five-year growth strategy to expand its retail operations nationwide. The new system is designed to bridge the software needs of separete divisions and incorporates the Marshall & Illsley (M&I) Integrated Banking System software for its retail bank operations.

The system conversion from Sperry to IBM affects approximately 1,500 retail bank employees across the nation, who have to learn how to work with the new computer as well as handle changes in the retail operations system. Training this large group efficiently, effectively and economically was a major concern for bank management.

Setting on the Method

1st Nationwide relies on a network of state-based trainers who teach employees through regional workshops at centralized locations, explains Jean Gerrard, project manager for computer-based training. The workshops are supplemented with self-paced workbooks. This set-up requires extensive travel for bank employees at a high cost for 1st Nationwide.

Additionally, removing an employee from the workplace for several days of training also affects productivity and customer service for that time period. With 1,500 employees to train, the impact is significant. Clearly, says Gerrard, an alternate method for systems-conversion training was needed.

Working with ELS (now a division of Goal systems) as its training consultant, the bank performed a detailed analysis of existing training methods and resources, as well as the cost and effectiveness of various training alternatives. CBT at the employee workplace appeared to answer 1st Nationwide's cost and effectiveness concerns.

In fact, the study showed that CBT would save 1st Nationwide $6.5 million over five years by slashing travel costs, reducing employee downtime and cutting classroom expenses for state-based trainers. In addition, the self-paced nature of CBT would allow employees with varying experience levels to learn at their own speed.

At the recommendation of ELS, 1st Nationwide selected PHOENIX CBT software from Goal Systems to ease the transition to the new computer system and to provide operations training for bank tellers and other employees. The PHOENIX mainframe system allows for the presentation of generic courses and the development of custom courses. …