International news agency pilots Aussie software

The world's largest news agency, Reuters, has selected an Australian software company for a pilot that may eventually lead to a global rollout.

The Melbourne-based firm, Panviva, has signed a deal with Reuters to license software to users in Customer Order Management Centres across London, Geneva, Sydney and St Louis.

The deal involves Panviva's flagship performance support solution, SupportPoint, which delivers targeted access to structured documentation about a businesses systems, processes and products.

Initially there will be 500 users, with plans in place to deploy more licenses in the near future as part of a change in approach to training and learning across the entire Reuters organisation.

The Customer Order Management Centre (COMC) is the group within Reuters responsible for managing feeds to the world's financial industry traders - the environment is complex and procedure-rich, and processes are constantly changing to reflect the changes in the news agency's product offerings.

SupportPoint will provide up to date process information and context-sensitive application assistance for COMC operators.

The system's content will be created internally by Reuters process specialists, who can maintain and publish this information to COMC operators without any assistance from the IT department.

Reuters global head of learning, Charles Jennings, said this radically different approach ensures personnel understand the processes they need to follow, and the new Reuters company policy is less about training and more about learning on the job.

"The traditional training method is spent telling people a lot of information, most of which they lose," Jennings said.

"So instead of teaching operators the minutiae of managing data feeds, we deliver only basic training and then back this up with comprehensive online self-service support so that operators effectively learn on the job and have the tools to stay up to date as the job changes."

Panviva CEO,Ted Gannan, said the deal represents a huge shift in thinking for one of the world's most prominent information-based organisations.

Gannan said effective learning is an issue that is appearing on the radar for many organisations, and it will continue to gain attention over the coming years.

"Why? Because we are reaching a peak on many different fronts," Gannan said.

"The quantity of internal information our organisations are managing and the dynamic nature of information and processes are at the highest levels we have ever seen.

"Reuters have realised they can't continue down the same learning path, the old phrase 'innovate or die' becomes a new adage for those managing information and learning and wanting to protect workforce performance, user adoption rates, compliance, training and support costs as well as customer service levels."

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