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Sophisticated online customer training increases revenue

MSC Software increased revenue from customer training, enabled costeffective distribution of new content, retained millennial customers with on-demand learning opportunities.

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"Our first full year we generated $200k. Our second year we increased to $300k. But the strategic benefit outweighs even the revenue increase. Cornerstone enables us to make training available on demand, which also helps us maintain software revenue."
Jeffrey K. Graff
Vice President, Global Technical Support & E-Learning, MSC Software Corporation

MSC Software is a world leader in engineering simulation software. Since 1963, the company has helped multiple industries save time and reduce costs associated with the design and testing of manufactured products.

Because MSC’s software is highly sophisticated, customer training is crucial to ensuring correct and effective usage. Yet in-person attendance at training centers was in rapid decline. According to Jeffrey K. Graff, vice president, global technical support and e-Learning, at MSC, “Customer training budgets were shrinking. As a result, we were losing training revenue and having a hard time with customer adoption of new functionality because we couldn’t get users to attend our advanced classes.”

More critically, without training, users weren’t as adept at using the software, creating a very real threat to future sales. “Customers have to learn how use our software. We knew we needed to get on-demand training in the hands of our users. The more successful they are, the more successful we are.”

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Why Cornerstone

Graff and his team searched for a training solution that was both hosted and quickly deployable. “One of our executives recommended Cornerstone. I did my homework and looked at other vendors,” said Graff. “But at the end of the day, only Cornerstone offered what we needed.”

With Cornerstone, MSC can create customized portals for customers. “One of Cornerstone’s greatest assets is its flexibility and functionality. When we engage with our larger clients, we can create a custom learning portal for them. The client can also add their own content. This is exactly the kind of flexibility and scalability we wanted.”

Because Cornerstone is a unified platform, Cornerstone also enables MSC to improve collaboration among customers. “There are a lot of communication platform tools out there. What’s unique about Cornerstone is that it integrates the communication piece with the training piece. We can create communities and expand learning by enabling users to help each other out.”

The Results

Increased revenue from customer training. With Cornerstone, training revenue has increased every year since implementation in 2013. “Our first full year we generated $200k. Our second year we increased to $300k. While the public class training revenue is declining, we’re now cash-flow positive with our e-Learning initiative,” said Graff. “It’s helping us with our financials, but the strategic benefit outweighs even the revenue increase. Cornerstone enables us to make training available on demand, which also helps us maintain software revenue.”

Enabled cost-effective creation of and distribution of new content. iSpring, an e-Learning authoring tool whose output is fully-compatible with Cornerstone, has enabled Graff and his team to offer more classes in less time, including niche classes that would typically require onsite attendance. “We now have 40 courses available in Cornerstone. We needed to do it smarter and with scale. What’s equally important is a strategic component which is creating well-trained users so that they can better use our software and we all help each other,” said Graff. “We created a model where we develop all our content once, really well, and then repurpose it for use in live, virtual instructor-led, and e-Learning courses.”

Retained millennial customers with on-demand learning opportunities. MSC’s in-person, on-site training is unpopular with millennial customers. “The way the younger generation learns is not by flying somewhere. They want access to things online,” said Graff. “We knew our millennial customers weren’t engaging with in-person training, but how do you use something you haven’t been trained on? With Cornerstone, we’re retaining our millennial customers by ensuring they can access training on their own schedules and devices.” Added Prathyush Mudumbi Srinivasan, technical training engineer at MSC, “It’s so easy. Users can take training whenever they want, just by opening up their laptop. It’s been very helpful.”

"What’s unique about Cornerstone is that it integrates the communication piece with the training piece. We can create communities and expand learning by enabling users to help each other out."
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Jeffrey K. Graff
Vice President, Global Technical Support & E-Learning, MSC Software Corporation

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