Microsoft Solutions

Creating Instructor-led technical training

Microsoft World Wide Learning (WWL) creates 200 – 400-level technical courseware for Enterprise customers. These are deep-dive, hands-on, instructor-led courses that use virtual machines and online labs to simulate real-world business environments. To publish these courses in sync with software releases, WWL must begin course development several months in advance, at times using beta software. With teams of multiple authors, instructional designers and editors developing several modules in parallel, WWL also required expert project management to ensure high-quality courses were released on time and on budget.

Waypoint Ventures has been part of the WWL courseware development team since 2002. Each project has its own set of challenges: a new authoring tool, an accelerated schedule, multiple software refreshes, companion video content. In addition to writers, editors, and release specialists, Waypoint Ventures provides ongoing project management with deep institutional history and adherence to strict quality and legal standards for projects with thousands of moving parts.

WWL returns to Waypoint Ventures for assured success, and for Waypoint's known ability to innovate and pilot burgeoning ideas without losing sight of WWL standards. WWL knows that all Waypoint-managed projects will release on time and on budget, and that the teams will be even stronger when the next project arrives.

Energizing our Microsoft IT Showcase muscles again

When it comes to Microsoft technologies, Waypoint tells an excellent story. We work together with the experts at Microsoft IT Showcase to educate and illuminate people on how Microsoft rolls out technology solutions across its own enterprise environment. Our collaboration on technical and business case studies and articles are key assets for decision makers across industries.

Because the story tellers often already are busily committed to their jobs, we employ a journalistic approach, gathering information from interviews and research. The contributors that we interview and from whose expertise we craft out content all review our drafts for accuracy, as do other subject-matter experts.

At the moment, we’re focused on the growing abilities in Azure, and more specifically SAP for enterprises, including machine learning. A developing story is how to reduce human support to resolve SAP issues, freeing up their time for more meaningful value in the enterprise.

Once we have a technical quality sign-off from stakeholders, Waypoint’s skilled editing staff take over the other elements of quality control. Our editors review content for the usual grammar, spelling, and voice, but we likewise review for accessibility, inclusiveness, and any licensing requirements.

We are as passionate about telling the technology story as we are for making sure our stories are of the highest, most-inclusive quality for all audiences.

The many meanings of compliance: Global readiness

Worldwide publishing enterprises must comply with a growing number of requirements including third-party licensing, global inclusiveness, accessible content, and privacy. Since most of our customers are in the business of developing products and services worldwide, we saw a way to help and have brought together a unique team of experts.

We ensure our customer’s products, services, and communications are globally appropriate and locally compelling by “testing” the content against more than a dozen qualifications, such as:

  • Determining that text and code is free of offensive and inappropriate terminology, and that content respectfully and objectively represents geographic, political, cultural, historical, and religious content.
  • Ensuring that geographical references-- countries and regions, flags and national symbols, and maps and globes--are labeled accurately and used in such a way as to be respectful of geopolitical sensitivities.
  • Guaranteeing that images, audio, and video are free of offensive and inappropriate terminology, and that content respectfully and objectively represents geographic, political, cultural, historical, and religious concerns. This includes use of gestures depicting hands and feet.

Take a test with us...

How did you do? We agree it’s more complicated than it looks! That’s why at Waypoint, we have an experienced Compliance team who can review and cross-review content, ensuring content it is as free as possible from risk.

Stay tuned to this case study for refreshes on other topics considered part of our Compliance team’s expert reviews, including:

  • Accessibility
  • Global Trade
  • Licensing
  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Online safety

Artificial Intelligence for ALL!

Microsoft AI + Research and Global Learning & Development turned to Waypoint to develop an online learning course to introduce AI and Machine Learning concepts to all employees. These are the foundation of Satya Nadella’s vision for Microsoft’s future. They wanted a course to bring AI into corporate culture, engage employees in how AI informs and impacts their jobs, and dispel myths around AI. A successful course also had to speak to the inherent human quality in AI and the ethical responsibilities employees have when working with AI. This was a tall order.

Waypoint assembled a team of experts in multi-media instructional design, animation, accessibility, videography, and learning tools. We facilitated discussions among dozens of AI experts and stakeholders. They sifted through the complexities of AI to establish learning objectives. Based on those objectives, our content designers and developers built a course that inspires both creativity and technical innovation.

AI for ALL! provides an avenue for ongoing education and discussion. In three modules, interviews and animated sequences illustrate AI and Machine Learning concepts. Each module concludes with brainstorming exercises that employees can share and discuss on an internal social media platform. We delivered a course that met our client’s ambitious hard and soft objectives and inspires employees to dream about how AI might improve their jobs.

Digital services for technical content publication

Content isn't quite ready for publication when an edit pass is complete. Waypoint's Digital Services team prepares courseware for digital publication and distribution through various online learning management systems. We cleanly render content into different publishing formats, such as XML and PDF, and validate content controls in markup languages like XML. This preparation ensures efficient publication for our clients and may also reduce bugs in future releases.

Waypoint prepares content for publication in ways that students and trainers directly benefit from. We ensure that traces of extraneous formatting are removed, and we restore formatting, diacritics, bullets, numbering, and relationships that some tools accidentally remove during rendering. These steps enhance a student’s experience by validating that course content will display and progress smoothly. Students learn more from a course when sample software code blocks appear distinctly, inline graphics and videos display at the right time, and lab exercises start when relevant.

We deliver clean content that’s ready for publication because our team members understand the requirements of our clients’ delivery platforms. We look forward to helping more clients transition to releasing content through learning management systems.

Microsoft Professional Program for DevOps

The Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) is a series of online courses and hands-on labs which allow students to learn a variety of technical skills at their own pace.

Microsoft engaged Waypoint to conduct developmental and technical edits on the published courses in the DevOps suite. We updated the courses to ensure that they used consistent structures and terminology. We also wrote alternative text for the graphics in each course to meet our client’s accessibility requirements and style.

One challenge we encountered during this project was establishing a consistent voice across the courses. MPP instructors have varied skillsets from their industry or academic experience. Their range of experience and qualifications enhances the quality of the MPP program, while also introducing multiple editorial voices and tones. We improved the overall quality of the DevOps suite of courses by establishing one voice in the content.

Waypoint places contingent staff through Microsoft Contractor services

Microsoft Procurement turns to trusted suppliers in its Contractor services program to fill temporary staffing roles with quality talent. Waypoint enrolled in the program in 2015 based on a proven track record of meeting our clients’ deadlines, and compliance, conduct, and business guidelines.

As a member of the program, we review external staffing opportunities in our core competencies of Content Creation and Technical Marketing, Learning and Development, and Marketing IT. When members of our talent pool meet the criteria of a Sponsor’s opportunity, we submit them for the Sponsor’s consideration. If, after an interview and a few additional steps, the candidate is selected for an opportunity by the Sponsor, the candidate onboards quickly. We look forward to successfully placing more of our high-quality talent on client projects and building more relationships through existing and emerging programs.