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How SPAR implemented multitenancy across their learning and performance platform

SPAR Österreichische Warenhandels-AG (brand name: SPAR Austria Group) is one of the largest commercial enterprises in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe and has been the market leader in Austrian food retailing since 2021. Their core business is food, depending on the subsidiaries there are other areas like sports, shopping centers or retail real estate.

The Challenge

SPAR Austria Group has – next to SPAR - several additional brands (INTERSPAR, Hervis, ICS) with their own brand identities, specific courses and their own administration teams, but also companywide courses for all brands, managed in a central course category. 

The customization requests for the theme were beyond the existing functions of Ventura. Also, it was important that each tenant can configure their theme completely by themselves, without the need from custom development.

Furthermore, a large migration was necessary for combining all SPAR Austria Group’s European subsidiaries into one platform. 

Seminars and webinars are used extensively within the platform. With so many brands in the system and more than 94,000 users, the visibility of seminars, seminar management and roles in the seminars were a huge challenge. 

SPAR also uses performance management and competencies. A transition was necessary with a major migration from Totara Learn competencies in V12 to Totara Perform in V13.

Three different subsidiaries of the SPAR group needed a new home. SPAR, INTERSPAR and the IT division of the group should be placed under one platform and even more subsidiaries from different countries in the near future. What we really wanted to avoid was to disengage the learners of the respective subsidiaries. Therefore, it was important to give every subsidiary a separate look and feel within the system. The new Totara Learn system has no easy task. But SPAR and LearnChamp were ready to go.

The Solution

With the release of Totara 13’s multitenancy capability it was time to level up SPAR’s existing Totara platform, SEPP, and define a multitenancy structure for their additional brands: INTERSPAR, Hervis and ICS. Furthermore, a large migration effort took place in 2021 for combining all SPAR Austria Group’s European subsidiaries using Totara’s multitenancy features. 

SPAR SEPP LMS course catalog

To properly represent the different brands and give the tenants the possibility to configure the theme to the requested extent, LearnChamp further developed the Ventura theme and equipped it with various additional setting options. This way each brand/tenant can configure not only font and button colors but also set their own images for menu items, adapt button shape, upload own activity icons and background images as well as disable features through the theme settings. Furthermore, complex system roles for the brands’ admins were defined, so they can take care of contents, users and enrolment. 

SPAR Interspar course page

Extended seminar and webinar management features were used to ensure correct visibility to the different users/audiences and proper administration. Totara 13/14 brought to SPAR the long-awaited trainer management, which in the past version was managed through a custom plugin.

A major migration from Totara Learn competencies in V12 to Totara Perform in V13 was implemented. Achievement paths were converted into competence profiles and scales. A custom plugin was put in place to export apprentices’ assessment and progress to a third-party system.

SPAR Hervis dashboard

Additionally, a plan was established to ensure that the platform receives continuous upgrades. Thus, always securing best possible functionality and up-to-date features and currently having V15 in place. 

The Result

  • More than 94,000 active users, 6 languages, 8 tenants, 8 tenant specific themes, multiple domain and tenant user managers
  • Single-sign-on and HR import in place
  • Totara Learn and Totara Perform are in use for different use cases of learning and performance management
  • Approximately 2,000 courses with e-learning, seminars and various Totara activities and features
  • Extended seminar and webinar management features for up to 850 past and future seminars. Totara 13/14 brought to SPAR the long-awaited trainer management, which in the past version was managed through custom plugin
  • Ability to assign temporary managers to your employees, while on leave/vacation
  • Certificates overview and print option for managers in compliance with local laws
  • Tailor made access to courses for each target group, providing the right content for each audience in the system
  • Definition of complex system roles for the brands’ admins to do their designated work. Each brand has its own administration team taking care of contents, users, and enrolment
  • Further development of Ventura theme to properly represent the different brands, so each tenant can configure everything by themselves. Besides standard features of Totara (font color, button color) each brand can configure its own images for menu items, button styling, background images and much more
  • Custom blocks and settings for better engagement of the end users. In-site notifications in case of late certification/program completions, high priority notifications for courses with deadlines to manager/employee
  • Badges and gamification for the end user for better brand recognition
  • Major transition from Totara Learn competencies in V12 to Totara Perform in V13. Conversion of achievement paths in Totara Perform to competence profiles and competence scales through performance activities. Apprentices are assessed and progress is exported to third party system (custom plugin)
  • Custom-branded and published Totara App
  • A high-performance hosting and load balancing setup was needed in order to support different countries, working hours and learning activities in the system
  • Successful upgrades to V14 and V15

"At SPAR Group, we have been using Totara successfully for many years. Through the worldwide community and the determined development, the product has made tremendous leaps in development. In addition to learning, the area of performance and talent management is now smartly integrated. At SPAR, we wouldn't want to miss the open and flexible architecture. Totara is the solution for us to unite the very heterogeneous requirements of our company departments within different European countries under one roof." 
– Michael Fally, Department Head Online Training SPAR

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