Safely and reliably transporting around two billion passengers per year to a number of European destinations, Deutsche Bahn remains the number one railway operator in Germany.
With over 300,000 employees worldwide and 200,000 in Germany alone, the successful adoption of various software applications is integral to the optimal operational efficiency and success of the transportation giant.
Deutsche Bahn’s employees need to be trained in various software applications, and the high costs associated with training new employees, retraining existing employees with each new software release, and low software utilization on multiple software applications present significant challenges to the digital transformation efforts of the organization.
Deutsche Bahn’s quest to achieve maximal operational efficiency via successful software adoption
For Deutsche Bahn employees to be both efficient and effective, they need to be able to work in the numerous applications they use on a daily basis.
Classic training solutions - such as handbooks, video tutorials, and seminars - are associated with well-known problems such as:
- Knowledge Retention
- High Maintenance Costs
These training methods are no longer viable for the digital age and Deutsche Bahn realized that they needed to implement an employee training solution that can quickly scale to meet the needs and specific requirements of their technical operators.
For this reason, Deutsche Bahn decided to test interactive performance support with a pilot project to assess the effects of in-app, on-demand interactive guidance on employee performance.
To begin the pilot project, Deutsche Bahn embedded Userlane on top of their Atlassian Jira installation (a software development tool) to test the effects of interactive step-by-step on-screen guidance on efficiency, feature adoption, software adoption, productivity, training costs, and ROI.
Challenges connected to full feature adoption in Jira
For Deutsche Bahn, as for many other companies, the main problems connected to the use of the Jira platform include:
- Most users only use the basic features and don’t take advantage of the full potential of the solution.
- Customization makes every Jira installation completely different. Therefore, standard trainings or video tutorials might not be relevant for the current environment in which users have to operate.
- Customization is linked to several advantages but requires users to dig deeper into specific functionalities that aren’t always intuitive due to the complexity of the system.
- Implementing Jira or similar software solutions requires companies to train and retrain employees and create training materials.
- Since users only use a fraction of the features the system has to offer, companies often struggle to see a real ROI as they pay for a full-fledged solution.
A pragmatic study demonstrating the successful use of Jira with Userlane
Goal of the Deutsche Bahn study:
Deutsche Bahn wanted to find out how effective Userlane is in guiding software users in real-time within Jira. In order to establish this, it was necessary to ascertain whether Userlane could be a viable replacement for formal training classes and tutorials.
To assess the effectiveness of Userlane, Deutsche Bahn needed to measure feature and software adoption in Jira.
Participants in the study (employees at Deutsche Bahn) were previously interviewed to find out what training materials on Jira they had been exposed to in the past, how long they had already been using Jira, and how comfortable they were with executing different tasks within Jira.
Following this initial interview phase, the Deutsche Bahn employees were then subdivided into three categories based on their proficiency in using Jira: Beginner, intermediate, expert.
For the actual assessment, all participants, regardless of their proficiency level, were asked to complete specific tasks in Jira that they would need to accomplish on a daily basis.
DB monitored how many of those tasks were successfully completed without Userlane. Subsequently, the same participants were asked to attempt the same tasks a second time, this time with interactive on-screen performance support enabled.
The initial objectives and KPIs
For Deutsche Bahn, the main goal was to test Userlane to see if they could improve performance, efficiency, and productivity in a software application while simultaneously reducing costs and increasing the ROI for each software implementation.
To test the viability of Userlane as a potential employee training solution, Deutsche Bahn defined the following objectives:
- Reduce time to proficiency in software application by x2
- Improve software acceptance of users by 70%
- Decrease training costs 50%
Userlane’s interactive on-screen guides proved to be an effective solution for Deutsche Bahn’s training needs. Upon completion of the study, the participants yielded the following results:
1. Successful task completion:
As depicted in the chart above, beginners managed to accomplish only 26% of the tasks they were required to attempt without interactive performance support. Intermediate users completed 45% of the tasks (despite previous trainings), and experts 79% (despite declaring themselves fully proficient and having worked with the solution for a long time).
However, once Deutsche Bahn’s employees were given access to Userlane (with its interactive guidance and virtual assistant that provides on-demand and just-in-time support), the participants managed to accomplish all their tasks in the system successfully.
Participants proved to be up to 5 times more effective with Userlane enabled on Jira. The effect was particularly remarkable for new employees who were only exposed to little to no previous training on Jira. Despite the lack of formal onboarding, they achieved 100% feature and software adoption.
2. Software acceptance:
The bar charts below demonstrate participants' responses to questions regarding Userlane’s ability to increase software adoption significantly:
3. Time to competency and new software rollout ROI
From the results, discovering that beginner software users of Jira only took advantage of 26% of the features of the new solution and that even intermediate and expert users weren’t able to leverage the full potential of Jira either (79% being the best result for advanced users) indicated that employees across the organization only used 48% (on average) of the features they’re expected to use.
In this case, since feature adoption with Userlane reached close to 100% in Jira, Deutsche Bahn realized that through constant performance support, they can double the ROI for each software implementation by ensuring each employee is fully operative and productive in Jira from day one.
This also means that interactive guidance has an immediate effect on time-to-competency by allowing anybody to accomplish any task in the application from the start.
Executives in the department in which the study was conducted viewed these results as extremely promising and concluded that Userlane is an appropriate software training solution to meet their specific needs.
Realizing the full potential of Jira with the use of an EPSS
After the week-long study, Deutsche Bahn determined that the reason for the overall increase in software utilization was due to the implementation of interactive guides on top of Jira. The study results exceeded Deutsche Bahn’s expectations, with almost 85% of participants agreeing that Jira was easy to learn with Userlane as the only means of external support.
Interactive performance support proved to be a valid solution to all the challenges Deutsche Bahn encountered connected to change management and software applications as the vast majority of users felt confident in using Jira and weren’t experiencing any frustration with navigating the application at all.
Deutsche Bahn now intends to implement Userlane on software applications to improve the overall training efforts and to ensure that all employees will benefit from the positive effects of on-screen guidance and performance support, regardless of their software proficiency.