Vincent J. Bova, dealer experience manager for RTI, discusses the company’s goals and the future of its recently launched multi-tiered training program.
RTI has created a robust and varied training program — how did that develop and why?
We are proud of our training program, RTIXCEL, which is essentially a subset of initiatives all rolled into one. As you may recall, our new software platform, Integration Designer APEX, was introduced in July of 2017. Our dealers have been doing amazing things with its predecessor, Integration Designer 9, for over 25 years. This new APEX version is leaps and bounds more powerful and we needed a training program that could get programmers up to speed fast. So we developed the RTIXCEL Experience, which is a rigorous three-day training course that meets at our headquarters in Shakopee, MN each month. While the training program has been very well received, we needed to give dealers another avenue to learn on their own; therefore, we also created our online learning management system known as RTIXCEL Online. Additionally, we offer frequent TechTalk webinars, as well as on-site training held at our partner locations around the world.
How many integrators have completed the course, and how is attendance on future trainings?
Our HQ training rolled out in December of 2018 and was packed to capacity. Subsequent trainings saw very healthy attendance, despite record-breaking cold temperatures and snowfall in the Midwest. Demand has been overwhelming, and as we continue to evolve our APEX programming software (and temperatures rise), we expect to see even more installers join us at HQ. Our RTIXCEL Online program also launched in December of last year and it also has been a huge hit, with hundreds of RTI dealers currently enrolled, and numbers grow every day.
How can the integrator customize the training for their specific needs?
This is where RTIXCEL Online, our web-based learning management system, comes in. This allows our dealers worldwide to login from anywhere and learn step-by-step, watch videos on our programming software, view “mock” site walkthroughs, view our products in a 3D environment, and much more. Our RTI Experience headquarters training is rack-based to give our students an opportunity to get their hands on actual equipment. We talk about situations in the field and we learn a great deal about our integrators and their challenges, which is very helpful. There is plenty of time to work with the students independently and discuss some of the specific projects they are working on. We count on our dealers to ask as many questions as they can, and if we can’t answer them all right away, we arrange one-on-one time after the session.
Have you gained new dealers as a result of starting this program?
Since the introduction of the training program and the evolution of our software, we are getting an influx of new deal
ers from various backgrounds. RTI is also committed to the commercial market, and we are seeing a great deal of business opportunities and a new crop of dealers from that segment, too. Our new software platform is leaps and bounds more powerful, so we are seeing dealers move from other platforms that require more capital and employee investment.
When we launched our program, our intention was to watch it closely, and we are constantly evaluating it through feedback and research. Our goal is to continue to enhance the curriculum and make sure the dealers are engaged. Most of all, we really have a great time getting to know these guys and gals. They think they are there to learn, but the truth is that we get to learn a great deal from them as well.
How do the newer technologies enhance the online training experience?
Our RTIXCEL learning management system uses state-of-the-art technology. We have 3D renderings of our full product line. The student can select a product, spin it around, zoom in on different ports, and have access to all the information they need. It’s truly amazing and helpful for dealers who are not familiar with our entire offering. In addition, the programming modules are broken up into bite-size courses no longer than ten minutes each, which keeps the student engaged. This new learning technology is very effective, and the feedback has been great.
We are extremely excited to see where this learning program takes us and how it evolves. We feel that training is a critical component of success in this business, and it gives our installers the tools they need to be profitable. We are still developing other ways to train and plan on offering the course on the road in the short term. We encourage our dealers to take advantage of these great learning opportunities, as our software continues to evolve.