The Optimum team provides ongoing training events, presentations and support, plus rollout assistance for system upgrades. Its resources are split between training users in McKinsey & Company’s London office and those staff based elsewhere in the UK, overseas or working at clients’ premises.
Optimum also runs IT orientation sessions for all new joiners. This two-hour WebEx session covers the basics of their laptop functionality, the in-house systems and an introduction to the Learn Portal, an intranet site that employees can use to manage their professional development.
Several times a year around 50 graduates and specialists from a range of industries are recruited as business analysts in the London office. A critical part of Optimum’s role is to organise and help to deliver to these groups a comprehensive two-week classroom-based IT induction in the desktop productivity software they will use.
McKay said: “These are high pressure periods and there are inevitably last-minute changes in course content and scheduling. So that we can plan and deliver the induction training seamlessly, we increase the size of our on-site team and handle all the course administration including marketing, booking facilities and courseware production”.
This induction programme includes the basic IT orientation along with hands-on, application specific training. Here the course content is based exclusively around a client case study and Optimum works alongside other trainers who teach ‘softer’ communication skills.
Optimum delivers intensive courses on advanced Microsoft Excel modelling and the Microsoft Access information management tool. Bespoke training is also given on McKinsey’s very heavily customised version of Microsoft PowerPoint.
Since much of the consultants’ work for their clients hinges on complex data processing and analysis, Optimum provides specialist training on both the Alteryx data preparation and manipulation system and on Tableau, a platform that provides interactive, visual analysis of data.
In the London office these induction courses are delivered face-to-face but users based elsewhere are trained in virtual classrooms using WebEx. Optimum has developed a range of self-study tools to complement these sessions and help remote workers develop their IT skills.
Another element in Optimum’s services is support in managing and handling both the daily IT queries and the requests for specific IT training that come in from the business analysts and other staff. Optimum provides ongoing one-to-one telephone and at-desk support to relieve pressure on the client’s internal IT help-desk team. Other solutions include scheduling both regular and ad hoc courses.
Staff are regularly faced with desktop system upgrades and roll outs, including communications software for the many mobile users. Whenever there are large-scale laptop and phone migrations, Optimum helps to ensure a smooth transition by bringing in extra resource to provide both training and administrative support.
“Optimum’s role is primarily to provide a totally reliable, flexible resource for McKinsey,” McKay concluded. “Our broad systems expertise means we can rapidly provide them with solutions to a wide range of training challenges and make sure their staff are trained effectively and on schedule”.