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'Yes, Virginia,' there will be training

Training issues come up frequently in community discussions about reengineering. Most of the training resulting from reengineering will be targeted to the redesigned processes. Clearly, in order for the redesigns to be effective, employees will need to receive the appropriate training.

The payoff to the Institute, its faculty, students, and staff can be enormous. The training effort is one factor that will help to develop employees who are effective at using the new tools and productive within the new reengineered processes. There are a number of different types of training, which are summarized below.


The implementation of the SAP R/3 financial and management reporting system (see story on page 3 of this supplement) will require training for all those who will use it. Training will be offered at various levels depending on the work processes in which individuals are involved. MIT has engaged the services of Documentation Associates, a training firm with wide experience in SAP implementation, to develop the materials and workshops for those who will use the system.

Training will be offered first to those in the central financial offices, which will begin to use the SAP system in the summer of 1996. Other staff will receive training beginning in the fall of 1996 as the system is "rolled out" to MIT's departments, labs and centers. Comprehensive training will be provided in the form of hands-on classes, self-help materials and guides on the web.


Some parts of the Institute will undergo organizational change, and in some cases, that's already happening. For example, within Physical Plant, Custodial Services and Repair & Maintenance have redesigned work processes, which move these areas into team-based organizations. Likewise, Information Systems is becoming team-based.

An outside vendor, MOR Associates, is working with the teams in Physical Plant as well as training an internal trainer for Plant. Another outside vendor, Forum Corporation, has been selected to be the vendor of choice for the rest of the Institute. It will provide training for areas undergoing organizational change.

For example, Forum is currently piloting training for three new teams and for team leaders. This training involves the real work of these teams. Evaluation of the pilots will be used to improve the training as it extends elsewhere within MIT. Again, it will target those areas that have organizational changes (e.g., teams) resulting from reengineering.

Performance appraisals

In other cases, new policies and practices are being implemented as MIT moves forward. An example is the training about performance appraisals. Fifty-six MIT employees have been trained as course leaders to deliver these programs to administrative and support staff throughout the Institute. There is a program for those who give performance reviews and one for those who receive them. The course leaders are working with their senior management to develop a roll-out plan for their areas. Some areas have already completed their roll-outs. (See the related story on performance appraisals by Darlene Messmer.)


Some people will need basic technical training if such skills are required for the redesigns and for the changed jobs. These individuals will be trained through programs in Information Systems.

ECAT, Procard, TAP

Those who have purchasing responsibilities will be trained on the use of the electronic catalog and on the new credit card system. Likewise, those who work with the appointment process will receive training on how to use the new TAP system.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 13, 1995.

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