5 Advantages Of Having A Globally Distributed eLearning Production Model

At Jilbee we execute our eLearning projects along a Globally Distributed Production Model.

This means that a team, which is based around the world, executes most of our eLearning projects. For instance, it wouldn’t be uncommon for us to be working on a project for a German client where the Learning Engineering would be done in Luxembourg, the Film Production in Germany (at the client location), the Editing in Austria, Animation development in Belgium, Graphic Design in India, eLearning Development in Luxembourg and Sound Design in Holland.

Over the years we have created detailed processes as well as developed a wide network of suppliers to enable such global teams to operate seamlessly and with minimal friction and to be able to deliver high quality eLearning solutions with films and animations.

There are obviously plenty of advantages to be gained from such a global distribution of work (Naturally. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it) but there are also risks and difficulties which come with it.

The focus of this post will be on the advantages gained from distributed eLearning teams. So, here they are:

1. Gain access to a very broad base of talent
2. Have the ability to rapidly scale up if required
3. Retain proximity to the client(despite having production remote from the client)
4. Leverage global sourcing to gain price advantage.
5. Gain flexibility to modify project team structure as required

Let’s now look at each one of these.

1. Gain access to a very broad base of talent
Tapping into a global talent base automatically gives you access to lots more talented people as well as people with a broad set of talents. As long as you don’t constrain yourself by geography or language you will almost always find great people at great prices to suit the needs of your project.

2. Have the ability to rapidly scale up if required
Most projects start with a certain fixed scope. However, in midst of execution, that scope “surprisingly” grows. And sometimes it can grow several folds without any perceivable change in the deadline. Soon you get a call from the client – “Can you handle it? Or should we add another vendor to the project?”

Of course, you don’t want to share the increased budget with a competitor. So what do you do? You ramp up the team.This is where a Globally Distributed Production Model can work in your favor. If you have a deep talent pool in your network you will generally be able to find extra resources and quickly put them on the project.

In our projects, sometimes we need a second animator. Or an extra voice artist. Or an additional eLearning Developer because suddenly there are 30 more pages to build in the Web Based Training. Either way it is essential to have production processes which are able to handle such an influx of scope and resources.

3. Retain proximity to the client
A challenge with global teams is that a significant portion of the production occurs far away from the customer. But with distributed teams, this disadvantage can be turned into an advantage because it is likely that you have someone on your team who is near to the customer. This is especially helpful with film crews. Filming is almost always a local task. You need access to the customer’s premises.

If your entire team is based in a single location, then it becomes difficult to “ship” your team to the customer. But with a Globally Distributed Production Model, you are more likely to find a supplier or partner who has proximity to the customer and can be your proxy if needed.

4. Leverage global sourcing to gain price advantage
Having access to a globally distributed talent pool also means having access to talent at different price points. A certain skill set might be less expensive in one region of the world compared to another. If you are able to eliminate the disadvantages of distance and build production processes that allow distributed teams to work together then you can find the best resource and the best price no matter where in the world he or she lives.

5. Gain flexibility to modify project team structure as required
Sometimes project teams need to change during the life of a project. You may need to replace a 2D animator with a 3D animator or a filmmaker with a film director or a junior graphic designer with someone more experienced. When your team is centrally located pulling off such changes can become challenging. First of all it can create resentment when one team member is replaced by another. Secondly, a centrally located team, by definition, has finite resources. So you may not find the talent you are looking for.

Instead if your talent based was global, it’s more likely that you will find a replacement for your team member and be able to integrate the new person into your existing team.

So bottom line: If you are able to pull of building a globally distributed eLearning production team, your company (and your customers) will be better off as a result.

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