By Apratim Purakayastha
“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” - Stewart Brand
As Skillsoft’s Chief Technology Officer, I know only too well the challenge of keeping pace with technology. There are days when I feel like I’m with the steamroller and then there are days when I’m the road. Technology is evolving at such a fast pace, that few of us can honestly say we are always one step ahead, let alone always steering the steamroller. Has the pace quickened in recent times? You bet it has. The heralded iPhone is just 10 years old, Google less than 20, and the Tesla less than 5.
The rapid pace of technology transformation is transforming the entire business landscape and society in general. Technology not only accelerated the speed of globalization, it precipitated rapid change in government regulations, promoted a geographically dispersed and multi-cultural workforce, resulting in a demand for agile organizational norms. Technology also enabled the workplace to move into the social media arena increasing the scope of workplace harassment and other compliance issues.
Well, what does it mean for us? More sleepless nights as we try to think of ways to avoid being flattened like a French crepe? I may have sleepless nights binge-watching Netflix, but I believe I know how best to stay behind the steamroller.
Through continuous learning. By providing ample opportunity for your people – who, after all, are your most valuable asset - to develop and hone their knowledge, or specialized skillset. Make the investment in learning so you can maximize the potential use of not only all this new technology, but also the necessary business and digital skills complementing the technology. Continuously growing organizational IQ and EQ will result in higher business performance.
Make it easy to do this. Provide learning that is available whenever and wherever and easily consumable. And offer content that is relevant, adaptive and aligns to both your business goals and, most importantly, career goals. Simply offering a set of standard courses is no longer sufficient. Employees want to learn what they can then put into practice and they want it to be meaningful and challenging.
Thanks to technology all of this is now achievable. We can provide 24/7 learning opportunities and we can offer such learning on a variety of platforms and in multiple ways. No longer is ‘the one size fits all’ approach the only approach. Personalized learning is now de rigueur, and employee expectations are that if Amazon can make me personal recommendations, surely so too can my learning platform.
And we can.
Smart learning platform can match modalities/courses/learning paths to individual competency levels or career goals. But it doesn’t stop there. Sophisticated learning platforms can give feedback and even provide digital coaches who “understand” you…kind of like Alexa, but for learning.
At Skillsoft, we have invested heavily to ensure our technology is adaptive and will ensure the only road our customers are on is the road to success. Just last month, we launched Percipio, a cloud based, state-of-the-art content delivery and learning platform. With a personalized homepage learners are supplied with recommended content, carefully curated channels, and learning paths aligned with their career goals. And since we offer over 120,000 pieces of content across business skills, leadership, IT and IT certification, digital skills, and compliance, we make it as easy and convenient as possible for your employees to keep up in ways that best suit their needs.
We continue to enhance the beautiful and powerful SumTotal platform that offers the industry’s most unique combination of learn, talent, and workforce management capabilities. In contrast to the silo approach, SumTotal’s integrated suite enables rich workflows that link learning and certifications to career growth and productivity optimization—and fundamentally enables a business to develop its employees, cultivate and grow leaders and above all, achieve optimum business performance.
I would love to hear how other companies plan to develop their knowledge base – please share how you build or promote continuous learning within your organization.
Apratim Purakayastha is the Chief Technology Officer at Skillsoft.