Nick van Dam
Global Chief Learning Officer
Under the leadership of Global Chief Learning Officer Nick van Dam, who was recently promoted to global chief learning officer of the entire Deloitte Touche Tomatsu organization, Deloitte’s Consulting division teamed up with learning providers like Saba, SkillSoft and Centra to provide a bleeding-edge, high-tech learning infrastructure. Deloitte Consulting and these associates built a “shopping mall” for learning in order to provide a wide range of content to approximately 20,000 people in 59 countries.
Deloitte Consulting has developed partnerships with companies in a wide range of industries around the world in order to solve problems in those organizations. It seems natural, then, that van Dam and his learning team would be able to develop strong, effective relationships with a variety of vendors to enhance the division’s own educational offerings. Deloitte Consulting’s shopping mall, the result of these partnerships, offers users high-quality, relevant, on-demand and user-friendly courses, which they can select according to subject, volume and level of expertise. Saba’s learning management system (LMS) products and services constitute the system’s technological backbone, which integrates the “anchors” of the virtual structure. It also employs SkillSoft’s virtual business library for comprehensive educational content, Centra’s customized offerings for hot skills and remote practitioners, and Maximize Learning’s design and development features.
“We have one portal for them, where they can go to for all of their learning,” van Dam said. “In the back end, we have integrated all the content from all these different vendors and aligned it with a competency framework. We have made the courseware for different skill levels: basic, advanced and mastery.”
This directly led to an increase of more than 25 percent in employee usage of e-learning programs at Deloitte, van Dam said. “It shows you that people are using it,” he explained. “They’re not just in the U.S., but all over the whole world. We’re getting e-mails from people in China, India and Europe. It supports our brand and supports our vision to attract, develop and retain talent within our organization on a global basis.
“From a business perspective, if you think about the learning programs you want to provide to your people, as an organization you always have a choice: make or buy,” van Dam said. “If there’s no need to build, and we can buy, and all the other things are in line, then we should not build our own. The challenge has been in the learning space that everyone knows that integrating content and systems is not necessarily a plug-and-play exercise. In order to provide our learners with a seamless, easy and exciting learning experience, you need to take care that all these different courseware and systems are very well integrated and people don’t have to click through 15 links before they finally go to the course.”
“Working with vendors is critical,” he added. “It’s important not to look at a vendor as a vendor, but as a partner, and take care that you both have the responsibility to create the best learning experience for your user.”
Van Dam praised the performance of his staff, and added that the CLO Learning In Practice Award validated Deloitte Consulting’s learning initiatives for the employees who had participated in the programs. “At the end of the day, they are my clients,” he said. “It’s good for them to see and to hear that they are using something that’s recognized as innovative and world-class.”