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Pokeshot/// SmarterPath in practice – how Avnet, a leading global technology distributor, taps into the social learning capabilities of Jive


Sandra Brückner, Pokeshot///SMZ’s chief product officer, talked with Avnet’s digital marketing manager for the Americas, Pete Rendek, about how the company uses the Jive-embedded Pokeshot///SmartherPath social learning solution. Together, they looked at which use cases are possible in Jive and how SmartherPath can help implement these. Other topics included why Avnet chose SmartherPath and what new features they would like to see.


Why Pokeshot///SmarterPath?


The primary use case for the Jive-based Knowledge Network community at Avnet is the onboarding and enablement of the many solution provider partners that Avnet serves. Training and enablement of sales representatives via Jive’s social collaboration platform is essential to rapidly spread information and knowledge throughout the community. New sales staff need to be able to access sales training materials and marketing information on the platform from the office or on mobile devices. Avnet’s goal is to leverage the most up-to-date content to train its sales representatives quickly and effectively.

“Jive offers us terrific features that allow Avnet to implement this important use case,” said Pete, “but we needed additional ways to prepare training materials in e-learning formats, as well as more structured and targeted learning options.” Avnet searched for a solution in Jive that was lightweight, easy to use, and quickly comprehensible. “During this process we learned about the Pokeshot///SmartherPath solution.”

“We also looked a number of other products, but what we liked about SmarterPath was that it is very well integrated in Jive, is easy for our customers to use, and meets all of our requirements while offering the potential for future feature sets,” Pete added.

How Pokeshot///SmarterPath supports onboarding and enablement use cases at Avnet


Avnet uses SmarterPath to prepare training materials in Jive, and takes advantage of the variety of possible formats. “We have a lot of SCORM-based training programs, which we incorporate into SmarterPath and the reporting in SmarterPath helps us with validation of course completion,” Pete said.

SmarterPath supports primarily the onboarding and enablement use cases. For example, it makes it possible to assign groups to specific training courses. On the EnablementPath, users find courses tailored to their particular role within the company, which they can complete one after the other.



Future functionalities such as integration into the Jive


We also discussed how SmarterPath could be further developed to include new capabilities. Pete mentioned that integrating the solution into the Jive Gamification Module would be desirable: “This would allow courses to be created as tasks in our Knowledge Network and to reward participants with points, badges or awards; this would increase not only the platform’s acceptance, but also participants’ motivation to finish the courses.” SmarterPath’s road map has gamification integration slated for completion in 2016.



Avnet selected the SmarterPath solution because it provides a simple way to offer courses in Jive and track the learning progress of its community members. Another decisive factor in their decision was SmarterPath’s ability to support enablement and onboarding uses cases. Avnet launched its Knowledge Network community in November 2015, and Pokeshot///SMZ is providing assistance with any user questions related to SmarterPath.

I would like to thank Pete for sharing his comments and feedback regarding SmarterPath.

Onboarding is more than just a list of key information

Most companies now realize that onboarding is an essential aspect in developing a relationship with new employees and ensuring their effective integration into the organization. So this blog article doesn’t focus on why this topic is important for companies, but rather on what the onboarding process involves, what tools can provide support, and how to integrate it into your staff development and digital social learning strategy.

Companies should first put some thought into what incoming employees should actually learn. This is often limited to basic information of the company’s inner workings, for example: “Where can I get coffee? How does the scheduling tool work? Where is the nearest restroom? These matters are important, but should be supplemented with social and professional components, for example: Who are my colleagues? How do my colleagues collaborate? What specialized topics will I be addressing? Whom can I exchange information and views?


Enablement Path
Figure 1: Tool-based, employee-specific onboarding using SmarterPath (Enablement Path)


T-E-S components

It would be difficult to provide answers to all of these questions without the right kind of support. Modern social collaboration solutions like Jive or Office365 offer employees ways to network and share knowledge with colleagues. But there’s more to effective onboarding than having new employees sit at their computers and open a software program. Companies should instead take employees by the hand and guide them along a path, for example: Who are your colleagues? Who should you network with? Where do you find which information? (see Figure 1). This puts traditional, process-oriented onboarding tasks (where can I get coffee?) side by side with tool-based, social onboarding tasks (who are my colleagues?). All of these elements should be incorporated into a so-called digital social learning strategy. When answering the “how” question, it doesn’t make sense to view the various learning components separately. A mix of traditional and modern, electronic components should be used:

  • T: Traditional learning components (offline, in the classroom)
  • E: E-learning components (tutorials, videos, e.g. fire safety instructions)
  • S: Social learning components (communities)
This combination of components can be called a T-E-S components mix. The latter consists of the use of social collaboration elements such as a learning community. Companies thus ensure that employees, from the first day on, not only learn key information about the company but are also encouraged to share knowledge and network with other employees (thus fostering the community idea). A well-thought-out onboarding process is characterized by a balanced mix of T-E-S components. Companies should also keep in mind another important facet of social learning – learning from learners. When new employees enter the company, they bring valuable experience with them that can help the company. Plus, they will notice when processes are not functioning optimally. Companies should capture and utilize this knowledge. Incorporating this facet into your digital social learning strategy makes perfect sense for companies and employees alike.Onboarding and digital social learning – a recap
  • Onboarding should not be reduced to conveying key information, but should also include specialized topics and social elements.
  • Onboarding should be firmly anchored in the staff development and digital social learning strategy.
  • It’s important to integrate T-E-S components into this strategy.
  • The strategy should also take into account the “learning from learners” process.

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About the author:

Sandra Brückner, who studied business informatics at the Technical University of Dresden, has worked as social business consultant since 2012. She joined the Berlin-based social business consultancy and technology provider Pokeshot///SMZ in the beginning of 2014, where she leverages her extensive intranet and community expertise to consult organizations on how to optimize their change management and community management processes. She is also responsible for the fields of social learning and consulting of the innovative social learning product SmarterPath.