Many software companies treat training as an afterthought, only selling enough of it to get customers up and running. They're missing out on the competitive advantage that training gives them. Instead of using it as an add-on, why not use it to stand out from the crowd?
What is strategy? A quick dictionary search on Merriam-Webster shows it can mean "a careful plan or method" and "the art of devising or employing plans toward a goal". In sports or war, strategies are pretty clear, because no matter what changes during the course of the event, the end goal is the same: to win. In business it's not so clear; in Customer Education (CE) it becomes even murkier.
This blog post is about how to use a maturity model in a very practical sense, but before we get into the how, let's define what a good maturity model does. A maturity model describes each stage of an organization's maturity and what things are generally happening at each stage. This is useful to understand because each organization is at a different stage of development and has different levels of capabilities, resources, and technology to support its operations. For example, a customer education team of eight people with a VP-level leader has a much different level of capability and maturity than a one person education team that just became a full-time role last week.
Before you even think about developing a customer education strategy, you must begin with a goal. It sounds simple enough, but too often, people who lead efforts to develop software training programs for customers just start developing a strategy, or worse, just start training customers on product features, without a clear vision for why education is necessary in the first place.