By John Ambrose
As I described in my 2012 Skillsoft Perspectives Global keynote, “time” is the single most important asset of any organization. The hidden cost of “free” is the time required to make that content relevant to the individual in the context of the organization’s goals and mission. Misdirected time is the ultimate enemy of human productivity. Skillsoft’s business model has enabled it to invest literally hundreds of millions of dollars over the years in building a full spectrum of connected, inter-related learning modalities that optimize the transfer of relevant knowledge and skills. Unlike the academic world where reflection and scholarship are an integral part of a largely time-insensitive learning process, corporate solutions focus on delivering highest quality in the least amount of time to drive specific business outcomes. Time equals money.
Moreover, the larger and more complex the organization − the greater the challenge. An effective, global learning program in a large, dispersed organization requires not just access to content, but a significant amount of consulting, tailoring and advisory support to drive successful business outcomes. This includes subject matter expertise, platform integration, alignment to initiatives, program design, rollout planning, marketing communication, alignment to competencies, leveraging of social and mobile platforms, mapping to initiatives, reporting, and business impact analysis.
These services have been key to distinguishing Skillsoft’s value proposition over low cost and “free” sources of content, as well as higher priced alternatives such as classroom-based learning which is costly and not scalable.
Nonetheless, the “free” dynamic is a big driver of why Skillsoft continues to push its thinking around how to evolve our business model to continually enhance the overall value and service it delivers. It is clear that all types of standalone content products, including traditional courseware, face some level of greater pressure especially when the “buyer” is less discerning about quality, accuracy, relevance, time-commitment, and consistency of the content.
Skillsoft understands this dynamic and continues to migrate to a model that leverages our relentless focus on organizational development and results. Ultimately SkillSoft must and will continue to deliver an experience that customers cannot receive elsewhere through its unique combination of content, services and total user experience.