Renewable Energy Group, Inc.
Ames, Iowa, United States
$3.2 Bn (2021)
- Ensure employees, especially new hires, are proficient quickly on new applications and features
- Oracle UKP learning platform was fragmented, outmoded, and difficult to use. Knowledge repositories scattered across REG; hard to track use
- Moment new training content was launched it was frequently overtaken by undocumented new application features
- Deployed DAP to provide continuous learning at the moment of need on JD Edwards, Salesforce, and more
- Step-by-step instructions, on-demand help, and in-application guidance create intuitive, self-learning culture
- Analytics help team track user adoption and training effectiveness
- Supports energy business growth: Simplifying software adoption and use drives collaborative agility
- Shrinks time to value: Time to proficiency on JDE, Salesforce, and other applications cut by 50%
- Improves accuracy: Reduces accounting errors
- Minimizes support enquiries: Team typically fielded average of 30 questions from people every day; now it is fewer than five per day
- Enhances employee engagement: New hires benefit from fast, personalized, self-help onboarding experience
Green Fuel for the Globe
REG is spearheading a cleaner, greener fu ture. Founded in 1995, the organization is a leading global producer and supplier of renewable fuels, like biodiesel and renewable diesel, renewable chemicals, and other products.
REG has over 1,200 employees and reported $3.2 billion in revenue in 2021.
The business is growing fast, fuelled by the global demand for low-carbon fuels and the need for immediate decarbonization. The challenge for REG has been to ensure its employees – especially new hires – are aligned with this growth. REG needs people joining the company to be productive in the shortest possible time on critical operational applications like JD Edwards and Salesforce. Existing staff also need to understand and adopt new application features quickly and conveniently.
The existing Oracle UPK learning platform was fragmented, ou tmoded, and difficult to use. With no common, enterprise-wide training process, tribal knowledge emerged, with people trained in a variety of ways on how to use the same application. REG’s growth compounded the problem: the moment new training content was launched, it was often superseded by new undocumented application features. The result was reduced productivity and potential accounting errors.
Abby Essing, Senior Manager in Operations Services at REG, saw the problem first hand.
“Our knowledge repositories were all over the place – in Word documents or screenshots hidden in shared drives. We also had no way of tracking whether people were using the content. To deliver the appropriate learning, we typically defaulted to in-person training.”
In the case of the JD Edwards accounting platform, it could take up to six months to train a new hire. Accounting errors were commonplace as people inadvertently misused the systems – an issue which could potentially compromise compliance. Essing and her team were bombarded with requests for help. “I could fill my entire day just answering questions or take hours scrolling through old emails to find the correct knowledge,” she says.
Five years ago, REG found Whatfix. Essing explains, “Whatfix reimagines our training. The DAP is easy to use – even for non-technical users. It supports in-application guidance across almost any interface and platform. And it’s so easy to update materials, we can at last keep pace with the system changes. Looking back, Whatfix was one of the best decisions we have made.”
Learning at the Moment of Need
REG has standardized Whatfix’s DAP to provide continuous learning at the moment of need. The comprehensive, connected Whatfix digital guidance platform provides contextual, interactive, au tomated user guidance – driving additional adoption and productivity gains across REG applications.
Simple step-by-step instructions within the application (flows), for example, are used extensively to help users learn an objective or complete a task through a series of actions. This way, REG can break down complex JD Edwards, Salesforce, and other application journeys into intuitive steps.
Cassady Dean, a Business Analyst at REG comments, “These step-by-step instructions are ideal for that moment when a user thinks, ‘Just remind me how I complete that task?’ Instead of wandering the office looking for help, the answer is there in an intuitive walkthrough.”
On-demand help combined with in-application guidance and internal knowledge bases are also helping to create a self-learning culture, empowering REG to take charge of its application knowledge. Dean again: “The self-help information is organised by folders embedded directly into the applications, so users find the information they need quickly and efficiently.”
The team also uses Whatfix analytics to understand user adoption and training effectiveness – using the insights to identify opportunities to optimize the user experience. For example, measuring how frequently people use the knowledge repository or step-by-step instructions.
Another interesting use of analytics is to track what people shouldn’t be doing. Dean explains,
“We recently introduced a new order management process, bu t the click bu tton associated with the old process remained. With Whatfix, we could see who was using that old process, flag it to their leader, and provide additional guidance to ensure they used the new process.”
REG has standardized on one common, enterprise-wide approach to application training, learning, and support content. The benefits include:
- Supports business growth: By simplifying software adoption and use, employees are more productive on critical applications – and adapt to application changes more easily. This agility enables REG to react faster to green energy opportunities and grow revenue.
- Lowers time to proficiency: The time to proficiency on JD Edwards, Salesforce, or other applications has been cu t by abou t 50%. “Before Whatfix, the time to proficiency was approximately six months, now it’s closer to three months,” says Essing.
- Reduces accounting errors: By standardizing the way applications are used, REG minimizes accounting errors. “We can provide step-by-step instructions to improve application use. As a result, we have seen a reduction in accounting errors.”
- Reduces support enquiries: REG has dramatically reduced support calls, liberating resources to focus on strategic, value-add tasks. “I used to field up to 30 questions from people every day. Questions like, ‘When Iprocess this order, why do I get an error message?’ Now, I receive a maximum of five calls every day. People can fix everything themselves in Whatfix.”
- Improves employee engagement: Au tomating onboarding streamlines the entire process and gives new hires a more personalized onboarding experience. People can address application problems themselves, inside the application, or access best practices through a self-help menu.
- Supports data-driven decisions: By understanding how users interact with the applications, REG can identify areas of friction and improve user experience. “If we introduce a new Salesforce feature, for example, and announce it by email, some employees will say, ‘I never saw that email’. With Whatfix we can announce it with an information widget and track who opened the widget.”
“Whatfix is an ideal platform for renewables and energy companies looking to improve the adoption of JD Edwards, CRM, or other applications. It dramatically reduces the time spent training and onboarding our employees and supports our environmental stewardship.”