Sandbox Training: Hidden Costs, Limitations & the Best Alternative for More Cost-Effective User Training

Note: Consider training clients, sandboxes, dedicated training environments, and virtual training labs interchangeable here. For all intents and purposes, the latter is simply a different way to create and use a sandbox.

As an approach to user training, sandboxes present several hidden (and not so hidden) problems that affect not just the people in charge of managing them, IT, but also L&D and the business as a whole.

These include:

1#: Expensive license fee

Sandboxes are expensive right out of the gate. For example, a full copy of Salesforce is priced at 30% of net spend. If you have thousands of users, it will cost you $100 000s every year.

2#: Learners cannot perform the same exercises on the same data at the same time

Let’s use CRM training as an example. Two different trainees can’t update information for the same customer without creating duplicate entries and interfering with one another. You have to stage a different customer for every single user. And most likely, each of those customers is going to have slightly different settings. You end up with training that’s inconsistent and hard to deliver at scale.

3#: Man-hours are wasted creating and refreshing dummy data

Content developers are forced to create and populate sandbox environments with dummy data for two reasons. One, to replace sensitive information. Two, to let trainees practice at the same time.

This data must be refreshed after every training session to allow the same content to be delivered again. It could be as simple as reloading a virtual machine (VM). Or it could be as complicated as having a whole team of people creating and plugging in dummy data.

If you’re training ten users, that’s not a big deal. But what if we’re talking about hundreds or thousands of dummy data sets? It becomes a monumental task that will blowout your training budget.

4#: Extremely hard to train users on processes that cut across multiple systems

The typical scenario we see is, a company has processes that involve multiple business-critical applications. They might have a sandbox for system A, but not for system B, C, D, and they need to train users on all these systems. Buying and managing multiple sandboxes is simply not cost-effective.

Even with multiple sandboxes, they would need to be integrated to feed each other live streaming data to create a cohesive training environment. That’s exceedingly difficult to do.

Since 2002, we’ve talked to thousands of companies with all possible combinations of these challenges. And our recommendation hasn’t changed: simulations are more scalable and cost a fraction compared with creating and managing a training environment.

Npower saved £3M over three years, and Cargill, $1M a year by replacing their sandbox (and putting their personnel to better use) with our patented authoring tool.

In this post, we’ll show you how to replace your training sandbox with a more efficient, cost-effective alternative (via our authoring tool) and why it avoids the pitfalls listed above.

Table of contents:

  • How to replace your training sandbox environment
  • Main benefits of conducting training using Assima (instead of sandboxes)
    1. It’s far more scalable (and training is a lot more consistent)
    2. Your training always reflects the latest and even future software version (improve business agility)
    3. Eliminate any risky data in your training material (in a few clicks)
    4. Process flow involving multiple applications can be emulated in training
    5. Track what each user is doing right and wrong in granular detail (without extra coding)

Assima helps you unlock substantial savings by replacing your sandbox with the world’s most efficient way to create software simulations. Learn more here and book a personal demo to see it in action.

How to replace your training sandbox environment

Assima can help your team train users without the astronomical cost of building and maintaining a sandbox in several ways:

1 – Assima creates simulations that look and feel like your live system

The sheer quality and realism of our simulations provide all the benefits of a sandbox or production environment, with none of the risks.

2 – Assima gives you the flexibility to create content from any system version

Assima captures your application screens as editable objects. No other authoring tool in the market has this ability (we have four patents on this technology). Content developers can edit any user interface elements directly and bulk and replace any data across lessons swiftly.

With Assima, you can edit anything on screen after capturing from any system version. You don’t have to wait for a sandbox to be created.

You don’t have to wait for a sandbox to be set up to create training content.

Capture from any system (old one, under development, sandbox). Any detail that doesn’t match the latest version or any confidential data and be easily changed post-capture. In other words, you are not dependent on a pre-sanitized system anymore.

Main benefits of conducting training using Assima (instead of sandboxes)

#1. It’s far more scalable (and training is a lot more consistent)

Assima delivers simulations with the same scenario and data to thousands of learners (via your LMS or directly from our platform – your choice). No need for separate logins, dummy data, or data refreshes. This makes your virtual training faster to deliver and perfectly consistent.

#2. Your training always reflects the latest and even future software version (improve business agility)

Every time there’s a change in the live system, sandboxes need to be updated. It’s usually an afterthought. Sandboxes end up a couple of versions behind the production environment. Content developers have to wait for these updates and constantly retouch their lessons. This slows down the time to train and time to use the live implementation.

By letting content developers make any edits post-capture, Assima eliminates the need to wait for a sandbox to be updated, or the need to have a sandbox altogether.

The benefits are crystal clear:

  • It expands the window of opportunity to train users. Your team doesn’t have to wait for new applications to go live before creating lessons. Capture what’s ready and mockup any changes after.
  • You can simulate upcoming features. Add new features to your lessons and deliver training before they even exist.

Your training is not only keeping up with the pace of change. It’s staying one step ahead.

#3. Eliminate any risky data from your training material (in a few clicks)

Instead of painstakingly creating and plugging dummy data, Assima lets you mass replace sensitive data across lessons with risk-free data. This unique feature helps your team deliver training at scale in record time.

#4 Process flow involving multiple applications can be emulated in training

Instead of using multiple sandboxes to cover all your applications, Assima’s authoring tool lets you capture processes from different software and combine them within the same lesson flow.

#5. Track what each user is doing right and wrong in granular detail (without extra coding)

Assima tracks actions and content usage without any work from IT. We’re not talking about basic LMS quiz score tracking. You get full visibility over where every user clicked, what content they came across, what they typed – all in real-time. This lets you pinpoint where training and day to day operation can be improved.

Assima lets teams replace expensive/hard to maintain training sandboxes with hyper-realistic software simulations. Join 4 out of 10 of the Fortune 500 who use us like Airbnb, Bank of America, Toyota, and more. Book a personal demo now!


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