Without Cegid Talent, we wouldn’t have been able to work during containment.

Paul Betti is Special Risk Training Coordinator at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy (MFA). This branch of the Department of Fire Services (DFS) provides training to firefighters, members of the state’s municipal fire departments, police and emergency service paramedics. It offers a catalog of more than 250 face-to-face and distance learning courses, which it has been implementing since 2017 through Cegid Talent’s Training and Development module.

Hampden firefighters completing a training exercise with the MFA.

(Photo courtesy of Patrick Johnson, The Republican and Masslive.com)


What kind of training does the MFA provide?

Paul Betti: The core of our business is initial training for fire fighters. We subject them to an intense program consisting of 40-hour weeks over a period of 10 weeks. With us, a civilian who has never approached anything other than a barbecue becomes capable of putting out a fire, rescuing a victim or intervening in a road accident. The trainings take place in three different locations each week. Each cycle is two weeks apart and we train several hundred participants each year.


How many people use Cegid Talent’s Training and Development module?

PB: We have 15,000 users in the state of Massachusetts. At the DFS level, 60 full-time employees operate the application, including 15 for the MFA. Even as we speak, a team is working on it every minute of the day: they are experts who help students register, develop new activities and sessions, book equipment and classrooms, etc. As the system administrator, I’m in charge and ensure the quality of the data, grant access authorizations, create the accounts, etc.


How would you describe your main professional challenges?

PB: Our main difference is that we use Cegid Talent for clients, not our employees. They are the end users. Imagine what that means: as soon as a firefighter is recruited, we have to teach them how to use the tool; to avoid creating two different accounts by mistake or inadvertently. The particular use we make of the software also requires us to have impeccable data. Of course, we don’t use the suite to recruit or track performance, we use it for the training aspect. for the training aspect. On the other hand, it allows us to manage a very large catalog that is continuously updated.


What has confinement changed for you?

PB: We realized that without Cegid, we would have had to shut down our business. The other software required us to be on site. One of the reasons we chose Cegid Talent was because we knew it was a cloud-based solution: that proved to be an important criterion for us as it offered more flexibility with no servers to maintain… But we just didn’t understand how valuable that would be for us! Even today, we are still don’t need more than 25% of the workforce onsite. I can carry out all my tasks from home.


For what other reasons did you choose Cegid Talent’s Training and Development solution?

PB: At the time of selection, a team of six people compared four or five different vendors. Technomedia (acquired by the Cegid group in 2016) scored the highest. Obviously, price was a key factor, but there was also the number of users we could manage with it and the possibility of adapting the solution to our particular needs. That scored the highest. Even today, we continue to modify it on a regular basis. The biggest difference, however was that with the solution in place, students could finally access their own files – there was no need to call us anymore! They edit their profiles themselves when they change their contact details, for example, and have easy access to their training history.


Did the teams embrace the change?

PB: The system took about 20 months to implement. At the beginning, it wasn’t easy because resistance to change is strong in our business. Our people felt reassured because there would be no need to manually fill out a paper and retype it within the system.  Also, adaptation of the solution was fairly quick because the team quickly realized how efficient it was. For example: the delivery of certificates. They are very important because they allow students to either be paid for their training or to be promoted. Since implementation, all they have to do is connect to their history to download the document, which is decorated with our logo and, above all, the signature of the relevant authority. There’s nothing to print anymore: we tell them “Look for yourself”! Our phones have stopped ringing all the time and we’re consuming less paper. Likewise, the organization of sessions has become much simpler. You can see at a glance the available trainers, rooms and equipment. The coordinators have a great deal of flexibility and can respond to requests, sometimes from one day to the next, from their sofa.


How did the interactions with Cegid Talent go?

PB: We were impressed by the availability of the Cegid Talent teams. The first year in particular, we had to make about ten major changes to meet our needs. It seemed so easy to tell us that all we had to do was call our dedicated team and the changes we wanted to make would magically appear. Since then, the system has reached cruising altitude and changes are less frequent – but we know we can count on Cegid’s expertise.

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