Abri case study

Achieving a forward thinking learning culture with Abri

See how Abri introduced learning and development plans with Digits LMS.


Abri (formerly Radian) is an award-winning not for profit organisation. The company provides affordable housing to around 18,000 households and specialist care and support to nearly 500 individuals across the south east. They are a diverse and vibrant social business with a strong sense of commercial reality.

Radian Group employs approximately 1,300 people split between Radian (housing) and Radian Support (care and support services). Roles range from support staff and trades people who are completely mobile and often working in customers’ homes to office based roles and others in fixed locations. Due to its diverse nature some parts of the organisation operate under or are referred to by different names, however all staff are part of the Radian Group.

Up until 2012 Abri had managed all their learning activities via a learning management system, however having come to a decision to target particular areas of the training process for improvement, the team recognised that the limitations of the system’s infrastructure had been reached. In particular, an LMS was sought that would allow for the introduction and management of development plans and also a more detailed and elaborate training evaluation process.

Abri’s training offer, The Academy, was a combination of their LMS, eLearning content and a range of face to face courses. Although much of this was managed through the existing LMS, there was a significant part of the training offer that was managed by more manual and antiquated administrative processes, which have been replaced by the new system.

The Academy has a strong brand reputation and the L&D team required a new LMS that would reflect and enhance the L&D offer and the positive attitude towards the company’s learning process.  The Abri L&D offer is managed by a dedicated team of just 3 people. The team is headed up by Craig McHugh, the L&D Manager and is supported in managing and developing the offer by Monika Idec, L&D Officer and Rosa Fernandes, L&D Administrator.

Abri concluded that they would benefit from a new innovative and forward thinking partner to come up with solution to the new business objectives. It was fundamental for the new provider to have a clear road map for development into the future.

Abri approached Digits in July 2012 for a solution to their new training administration requirements. Abri were happy to change business processes to avoid customisation and wanted a close match out of the box which on the whole was met. Very few tweaks were in fact needed to either Abri’s business processes or the system in order to make things work. The system has been a very good fit for the L&D offer.

Digits were able to offer the Corporate package of their long established Learning Manager which was well-matched with the features, functionality, budget, timescale and other factors that Abri were looking for, which included the need to provide a hosted solution and to integrate with the company’s current HR system and content tools. Some customisation was required for the system as a result of a need for all staff to complete training feedback, which originally was only available for courses that were part of a development plan. As the Development Plan functionality was going to be phased in gradually, it was vital that training feedback could be completed outside of this function; therefore development was requested to accommodate this.

The implementation process started in October 2012 and the LMS went live in February 2013 as scheduled. The implementation of the system went well and was closely project managed by the team at Digits. The system went live and any issues that occurred were quickly resolved and managed successfully. With hindsight, more time to implement the system would have been beneficial, however Abri’s tight timescales didn’t allow for this. This would have ensured that we were able transfer all the data from the previous LMS prior to launch and iron out any issues that arose.

The new LMS has been received extremely well by all areas of the business. One area of the business in particular has been extremely positive as the system has allowed them to have much more visibility and control of their training and the administration of it, which wasn’t available before.

There are a lot of plans for the coming years which will enable Abri to develop its L&D offer as a result of having an LMS that will support this. The introduction and use of development plans for particular areas of the business or job roles and the introduction of a full training evaluation process are just two such projects that will massively enhance the L&D offer.

On 5 October, Radian became Abri. We have updated this content to reflect these changes as far as possible.

“Digits are a great partner and their LMS is a great system. Having their LMS as a key part of our L&D offer will enable it to grow and develop in line with the needs of our people and the organisation”

Craig McHugh

L&D Manager at Abri