Customer Spotlight: Exterro’s Sarah Hargreaves on Migrating 5k+ Learners to Thought Industries in 90 Days

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Mike Daecher
March 21, 2024

A leading software provider for data risk management, Exterro serves a global community of customers and partners. This includes enterprise grade, blue chip companies in the law enforcement, banking, pharmaceutical, and legal industries. These companies rely on Exterro’s services to keep their critical data secure. 

We sat down with Sarah Hargreaves, VP Global Learning at Exterro, to discuss how she approached change management and accelerated the onboarding process when migrating their learning program to Thought Industries. 

A Quick Migration, with Reputation Intact

Exterro’s existing LMS was deprecating its services, giving the company a hard deadline to work with. Its goals were to securely transition 5,000+ learners in 90 days, with zero downtime or business interruptions. Exterro has a powerful reputation and a unique brand. They wanted to use the migration as an opportunity to take their learning business to new heights and support growth. And, they wanted to maintain the partnership and functionality that their partner community had grown to expect. 

What were you looking for when you chose Thought Industries as your new learning solution? 

We needed the flexibility to deliver a rich training experience, in a number of different modalities, whether it be different languages, videoled training, in-person training, or anything in between. We needed a partner who would not only deliver on our customers’ expectations, but also give us room to grow and expand on our ideas. Thought Industries was the only learning system that could support those needs.

Data Privacy and Security First

Speed was a critical factor, but data security and uptime was non-negotiable for Exterro. Their clients need total reassurance that data security management is always front-and-center, even with an accelerated timeframe to meet. 

Was 100% uptime your most important goal for the migration? 

The Exterro platform is very robust, it’s very reliable, and it’s something that is used on a minute by minute basis by our customers. We could not disrupt the learning of any single student, putting them on pause while we went through a migration journey. That was a really critical thing for us. We didn’t want any downtime at all.

Supporting Exterro with Change Management

5,000 learners, 100% uptime requirements, and 90 days. It’s no easy task! Were there change management hurdles involved? 

The onboarding process definitely met our expectations. It was just a really supportive experience. [However] we had a huge number of learners… and moving anything of that size, it’s going to take some planning. Things can be very fast-paced with so many SaaS-based solutions to support, there are a lot of moving parts for a lot of people. To embark on a significant migration journey and move onto a new platform with great UX and UI, we needed to be sure that all the people involved were confident that nothing would go wrong,

At this point, the Exterro team was admittedly nervous. They wanted to be sure the project would unfold as expected. To stay ahead of change management challenges, Exterro held regular reviews, conducting impact analysis, and brainstorming and scenario planning. They’d really stop to look at how the process was working every step of the way. 

To assist in this part of their journey, the assigned project manager from Thought Industries invested plenty of time in understanding their needs and listening to the ideas and concerns about the project’s impact on their learners and their business. Through this process, it became a relationship built on trust.

Leveraging Multi-tenant Learning Experiences

Exterro’s channel partner community is significant. Each partner needed to feel secure that they could deliver their own services with reliability and flexibility. This is where Thought Industries’ multi-tenancy solution Panorama really shines, and allows Exterro to create personalized learning experiences for staff, customers and channel partners. 

We know that you use Panorama in the Exterro Academy, and when channel partners enter via their portal, they access branded Exterro sites designed for specific learners. Can you share a bit about how that works? 

Panorama is the thing that really sets Thought Industries apart from the competition. Panorama has just blown us away with its opportunities. Absolutely blown us away. 

It’s allowing [partners] to have their own very dedicated and personalized learning experiences that starts right from the top of the LMS that says, ‘Welcome to your [company name] training portal.’ That’s a massive piece of value added support to a customer, to know that you’ve got something that is dedicated for your purposes. They feel that they’ve got something that is exclusive, that they’ve got something that is just for them.

With Panorama, each audience can use their personalized learner dashboards to ‘choose their own adventure’ and decide what training they need in the moment. 

Countless Ways to Differentiate its Learning Business

Exterro’s brand is focused on looking for ways to innovate, to improve learning experiences for their customers, and to differentiate from the competition. Thought Industries has become a partner in that vision, so much more than just an LMS vendor. 

How has Thought Industries supported your vision to differentiate your learning business? 

There’s been an open discussion. It’s been supportive, it’s been thought-provoking and it’s meant that we’ve made really informed decisions about what we can do and what we can’t do.It’s never felt in any way to be restrictive. We are learning every day… I honestly don’t think that we’ve even scratched the surface of what the potential is for our learning platform.

Read more about the impact of Thought Industries for the Exterro team in their full case study.

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