ICONICS products, services, and its most precious assets, its people, are always in a state of continuous improvement. We strive to constantly evolve and advance, and of course we apply this approach to our ICONICS Institute. What is this Institute, you may ask? Great question. The ICONICS Institute is comprised of hundreds of “how to” videos to educate our system integrators, customers, and end users. Having evolved in 2020 from our previous documentation-based training, our current Institute is interactive, highly developed, and provides comprehensive help and training materials.

How the ICONICS Institute Came About

Certainly, during the past two years, our Institute has truly blossomed. Yes, mainly due to the pandemic, but it was on this path even before that. At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone was working from home, so they could not attend in-person training or even speak to someone in-person about how to use our software. At this point, the team really started churning out training videos. And at the same time, the term “ICONICS Institute” officially took hold. Look, COVID-19 caused extreme global disruption, but it also showed how resilient and creative we humans could be to develop ways of coping and managing in such a time. The current ICONICS Institute, with its diverse and rich resources, is a result of this type of resilience and creativity and just downright practicality.

ICONICS’ Trainer/Solution Sales Engineer, Cynthia Teng, joined the company a few months before the pandemic. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, she was hired as a Solution Sales Engineer. So, from the beginning of her ICONICS journey, she was to learn everything about its products and was to learn quickly. She was working from home and was asked to join the team discussions on creating training videos. As a new hire, she was extremely excited to be part of this endeavor because it was an incredible learning opportunity. She therefore started to train herself while she started making training videos. In fact, you can see that many of the basic training videos were made by her. Now, Cynthia is focused on training. She reports to Jotham Kildea, ICONICS Solution Sales Engineering Supervisor, and handles all training in the Americas region. ICONICS has other trainers across the globe who are part-time trainers and part-time tech support/application engineers. Once the first batch of training videos was uploaded to the ICONICS website in the spring of 2020, our marketing team felt it was time to unveil the new “ICONICS Institute” to the rest of the world.

The Low-Down on the ICONICS Institute’s Objective & Training

I met with Cynthia to get a better understanding of the Institute’s objectives, along with its breadth and depth of content. Below are the important questions and answers we touched upon. Her passion and commitment, as well as ICONICS’, to providing the best possible training for our customers and partners are evident.

Question: How did you get involved with the ICONICS Institute?

I was still relatively new to ICONICS, so quite honestly, I was like, “Great, let's do this!” I didn’t so much view it as an assignment, but rather more as a wonderful opportunity for me to learn. At that point, I was still getting up to speed on our software, and I was in the right position, in that I was in the same shoes as those who would be watching the videos. I think I was privileged to participate in the earlier stage of the creation of the ICONICS Institute. There were many people involved in building its foundation. For example, Brett Saguid, Digital Visual Arts and Web Designer, created and edited the videos, and Cathy Lu, ICONICS UX Designer/Web Developer, put in a lot of work making surethe videoswere posted. And of course, there were a lot of other people from Solution Sales who contributed to the storyboarding and presentation of each module.

Question: If you had to give me a quick five-minute spiel, how would you explain what the ICONICS Institute is?

For me, from a trainer’s perspective, the ICONICS Institute is a fantastic resource. It's a library, or catalog, if you will, offering a ton of great “how to” videos on ICONICS software. It's THE place to go. So, I view the Institute as a super convenient resource that has quickly become my go-to destination whenever I want to enrich my understanding of a particular module or topic. Think of these videos as supplementary to the online documentation, application notes, and calls to a tech support person on the call training.

Question: What is the objective of the Institute? Would you say it is to guide users on how to use the software and to create a solid foundation of support?

The ICONICS Institute allows people to know what training/documentation collateral we have. The videos help people to truly grasp our software through interactive learning and also helps them by establishing a bridge to fill in the gap for those who don't really know all the powerful things ICONICS software can be used for.

Question: Are there basic videos that help people understand what the software is?

Yes, the Institute has a great foundation of what you might consider ‘basic’ videos. And I actually hear that feedback from some of the system integrators as they expand their bandwidth and have more new hires that they need to quickly onboard. The new hires can learn all the terminologies such as “What is AssetWorX?” or “What is CFSWorX?” and familiarize themselves with the configuration environment in a matter of minutes. The videos are there to explain that and to establish how the different ICONICS products work together to produce the advanced dashboards you see in the actual demonstrations. In fact, it’s easier to create powerful visualization dashboards than one might think, and our videos show this.

Question: The breadth and depth of training videos contained within the Institute is quite impressive. How did you determine what videos you needed to create to help our end users?

We view this as an ever-evolving resource for our partners and customers. So, thinking back to the objective of ICONICS Institute: it is such a great resource; it hosts all the information, and not just the information about the basic functionalities. We also have videos, mainly for system integrators, that go into in-depth detail on how to implement and utilize some of the powerful features that ICONICS has to offer. Those videos are for more advanced users.

Question: What was the feedback from people at the beginning? 

Right from the beginning, we heard really great feedback from our community. They found that watching a 3-to-10-minute tutorial video online was a super convenient way to learn about a process. You see numerous YouTube videos on “How to do this”, and we learned it's easier when there is a video where someone is talking in the background, guiding you through the process, especially with the growing popularity of multi-monitor setups. You can be sitting in front of the screen trying to figure something out or on-site, where you're facing that issue. I’ve heard from attendees in my training courses say that they use those videos on-site to train end users and operators.

An ancillary benefit of this was how it enhanced the efficiency with which our technical support team was able to guide users to relevant videos that help explain the concept of what the user was trying to accomplish, in a visual and easy to understand way. 

Now that you know more about the ICONICS Institute, let me tell you what major improvements are planned.

Stay Tuned: What’s Next for the ICONICS Institute

New Web Navigation

ICONICS plans to revamp the current navigation structure of the Institute to provide a specific guided roadmap to assist users who are brand new to ICONICS and to help them understand which videos to watch. The new navigation will also help advanced users to more quickly get to where they want to be. We’ll improve descriptions and definitions based on user feedback. And new videos will be highlighted, especially videos that explain new software features.

Continued Creation of Help/Training Videos

ICONICS will continue to create help/training videos as needed. With new features and the related capabilities, we understand that new videos are needed for our end users. We also highly appreciated suggestions from these users to provide quality videos. So please send us your comments at training@iconics.com.

Establishment of a User Forum

A little help from your friends, colleagues, and industry peers goes a long way. This is why we are exploring how to scope out a user forum that can work for industry but also conform with the complexities of global export control and IP protection. We envision users helping each other and exchanging information and experience for improved understanding of our products. It’s also a fantastic way to network. In general, it will be a terrific support for all.

The ICONICS Institute – an Ever-Transforming Resource

Just as our technology advances and evolves, so must the resources we provide to our system integrators, customers, and users. ICONICS understands this and is committed to the continuous improvement of its Institute. We also highly regard the experience and opinions of our user base, so welcome their feedback and comments. After all, this will allow us to provide the most advantageous collection of resources.