If you listen to the social pundits, we live in a time of excess. Fast food, fast cars, get-rich-quick schemes, instant gratification that takes too long. It’s a go-go world full of a dizzying array of options, choices, systems and solutions.
Should enterprise education be any different? Of course not. Executives like yourself feel the pressure to deliver quickly, and the teams that support you feel the heat of that mandate.
Fortunately, there’s a far-reaching infrastructure on which to rely. You couldn’t get from New York to Los Angeles in a few hours without air travel, and you can’t develop your workforce to ensure quick productivity gains without an army of instructors or the technological solutions that more economically fill those same roles. The Information Age is meeting the Education Age, and we’re all winning.
Let’s talk a bit about those technological advancements, shall we? There can be no doubt these systems are enabling the education that enables results for you. I could trot out the research to prove this, but why preach to the choir? Instead, let’s look at the downside—information overload.
Granted, that’s not much of a negative in this situation. It’s a maxim that it’s better business to have more options than less. And when it comes to choosing the technology that allows your learning initiatives to reach global audiences, it’s nice to have choices.
But that, of course, puts the burden on you to make the right choice.
In this issue of Chief Learning Officer, we’re trying to help, with our “Technology” feature offering advice on how to select a learning management system to suit your specific needs. (See “Assessing Learning Management Systems”.) Again, I don’t have to tell you how important it is to find the right functionality, the right connectivity, the right everything.
Recently, one of our editors caught up with John Higgins, chief learning officer at BearingPoint, the global business and systems integration consulting company formerly known as KPMG. John’s in charge of developing 16,000 professionals in 30 countries, a mission to which you can no doubt relate. He’s spent the better part of the past three years building a blended-learning strategy for BearingPoint, transforming the organization from an instructor-led to an e-learning culture, where today about 65 percent of all enterprise education is delivered in some sort of digital format.
Working with vendors like DigitalThink, Plateau Systems and NETg, John reports good results with BearingPoint’s LMS, which went live in December 2001. But sorting through the options was no small job.
The process at BearingPoint began internally by calling on some of the same work the consultancy offers its clients. As you may well imagine, the biggest challenge was finding someone to meet their long-term needs.
That situation wasn’t helped by the fact that, just like in your enterprise, BearingPoint knew that its needs would evolve over time. What’s more, the typical fluctuations in the vendor market didn’t make things easier. John correctly likens it to purchasing a PC system a decade ago; the biggest choices were what to buy and when to buy it.
For BearingPoint, and for you, it’s just a matter of being prepared. Do the due diligence: Talk to market analysts, talk to your been-there, done-that peers, consider your options carefully.
The story ends happily for BearingPoint. They picked DigitalThink as an LMS provider and gave the company a list of 350 specifications before signing on the dotted line. They’ve been pleased with the results and the integration of that system with their other learning vendors.
There’s another old maxim that comes to mind: You make your ending in the manner of your beginning. When it comes to something as important as picking the partners that will enable the education that powers your productivity, be sure to do your homework.
Editor in Chief