SMART Technology Solutions Goes from Ailing Enterprise to Talent Leader with Wide-Ranging Online Learning
Founded in 2007, SMART Technology Solutions had humble beginnings making enterprise-standard technology and consulting solutions more accessible to a wide range of companies. In fact, a major part of the company’s ethos is treating everyone — from clients to suppliers — as family, something that’s held it in good stead through times of significant change and a challenging business environment.
But facing bankruptcy, the company needed to restructure its operations. This meant rationalizing its workforce and transforming its training program in a way that better supported its team member development ambitions. That’s when it discovered Udemy Business, enabling SMART to offer wide-ranging Learning and Development (L&D) courses that redressed the balance between technical and soft skills, help retain its best talent, and achieve triple-digit growth in just a few years.
Challenge: Putting learning at the heart of the workplace
Driven by a goal to help diverse businesses achieve their objectives through the latest technology and expertise, SMART Technology Solutions works closely with its clients to deliver tailored solutions that help boost growth. And with 80% of the company’s original clients still on its books, its strategy has served the company well.
At the heart of this success is SMART’s approach to L&D investment. The company prides itself on fostering highly-motivated individuals committed to customer service and benefiting from an employer that truly cares about their wellbeing.
But as Albara Bahjatt, Co-Founder & CEO at SMART Technology Solutions, explains, even the best-laid plans can suffer temporary setbacks: “We’ve been crazy about L&D from day one,” says Albara. “In the early days, we spent a lot on L&D compared to other startups. Back then, training courses were generally only available on DVD, which was very expensive — anything up to $300 a time. We grew very fast but became overloaded with business. The fact our people were so busy meant our L&D and certifications all but stopped.”
In addition, the company soon found itself a victim of unshackled growth and close to bankruptcy. To survive, Albara and his business partner overhauled SMART’s business model, identifying the company’s best talent to help rationalize and transform its operations. It’s at this point the company also realized the need for a broad collection of L&D courses available on demand, giving its people the freedom to learn what they want and drive their own career progression.
Solution: Highly accessible L&D that’s helped usher triple-digit growth
“While discussing how to get the company back on track, we needed a way to identify our most committed team members to help drive the business — that’s when we came up with our ‘Path to Success’ program,” says Albara. “By getting people to take a personality test, an English language exam, and three Udemy courses, our objective was to reignite a passion for learning in the company.”