BizTechReports Analyst Briefing: Jim Lundy of Aragon Research Describes Emerging Dynamics in Enterprise Learning

A whole lot of digital ink has been spilled describing the importance of innovation and agility to organizations that expect to thrive in today’s turbulent economy. This is held as a truism across all industries, but is especially true for those operating in dynamic environments, where disruptive events regularly occur and the keys to success constantly shift. It has been said that in business — as in nature — the winners are not necessarily the swiftest or the strongest, but those able to adapt most effectively to a changing environment.  Which brings us to this BizTechReports Analyst Briefing on Enterprise Learning.

I will let you read Jim Lundy’s biography below, but in the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I have shared the podium with him on many occasions to explore the evolving role of IT in the enterprise. I have great deal of respect for his perspective on the business of technology.  His team has just produced a new research report entitled, The Aragon Research Globe for Enterprise Learning, 2013; The March to Social and Mobile. I was thrilled to catch up with him to capture his top line thoughts on the rapidly evolving Enterprise Learning market.  His views follow:

BTR: How have you seen Enterprise Learning as a discipline unfold among organizations over the past few years? Is it an idea that is going mainstream…or is it still on the fringes?

Enterprise Learning is mainstream in most large companies and has been for some time. Companies like Cisco, Computer Associates, IBM and , Microsoft depend on their Corporate Learning initiatives to get the best out of their partners and their employees.

The big shift we have seen is that business leaders want more and so often times they may seek their own solution because they need to move faster to get the launch done.

BTR: Where do you see the demand coming…is it driven by large organizations, or are SMBs getting involved in Enterprise Learning as well?

Large organizations are the primary drivers. It is in both the commercial, government and military sectors. Many firms that are doing well in their respective markets can point to their learning iniatives as key reasons why they are doing well. Most don’t want to talk about it because they don’t want their competitors to know.

For both large firms and for SMBs, they are making it easier for people to learn by offering learning channels, which are collections of videos. Videos are very easy to make and this is one of the fastest growing areas of Learning Content. We expect that most enterprises will have their own Corporate Youtube for learning in the next 3 years.

One of the reasons that video is so prevalent is that it is so easy to create a video tutorial and it is also so easy to consume them with the wave of tablets hitting schools and corporations.

BTR: Who within the organization owns Enterprise Learning? Is the CIO the point person…or is IT sort of incidental to the process of adoption?

The Chief Learning Officer is usually the person appointed to lead the charge. They may report to the head of HR or in a few cases to the CEO.

Because of the growing need for integrated systems, CIOs often work in partnership with their CLO counterparts to ensure that the HR applications are integrated with Learning. We see many HR and Learning and Development (L&D) departments that have an IT Director assigned to them to make sure that vendors meet the minimum criteria for integration with existing applications.

BTR: I’ll let our readers sign up for your report to get the details, but can you give us a sense of what key attributes organizations should be looking for from the Enterprise Learning vendors?

Some of the key things we evaluated:

– How Social is the offering for the actual user of the product. Can they interact with other students in a Social Group to discuss the class they are taking.

– How Mobile is the offering. Does the learning application work well on a Tablet. Note we feel that it needs to be a mobile app, not a responsive browser app. Mobile apps are faster. Once the app is there, can the student take the class offline (offline content).

– For large enterprises, is the vendor being evaluated operate in the countries where you have operations. We looked at the three major hemispheres; Americas, EMEA and Asia (APAC).

BTR: How well are Enterprise Learning vendors marketing and selling their offerings?

The challenge for buyers is that Learning has often been absorbed into either a Talent Suite or a larger Human Capital Management Suite. It is hard for buyers to ascertain which elements of those suites are better than others. Since we cover the workplace, we wrote this report to help buyers understand who is doing what in Learning.

The interesting thing about Learning is that it is often one of the most critical applications for HR outside of critical infrastructure, such as payroll or compensation. Given the explosion of new learning content (video tutorials) and the desire by individuals to learn more, it is one of the reasons we are calling this the Learning Resurgence.

About Jim Lundy

Jim Lundy is the founder and CEO of Aragon Research. Jim also serves as Lead analyst for collaboration, mobile, social, content management, user interface and knowledge.  Jim has over 29 years of technology and management experience as a vendor, user and analyst. Jim spent twelve years at Gartner and where he formed and led the Collaboration and Social Software Research Team and also served as lead analyst for Enterprise Content Management and Corporate Learning. Jim has extensive experience in product strategy, development and go-to-market plans.

Prior to founding Aragon Research, Jim was the VP/General Manager of the Collaboration Business Unit at Saba Software. Jim also spent fifteen years at Xerox Corporation in a variety of software and hardware sales and marketing positions. Jim has a B.S. in Finance from Penn State University.

About Aragon Research:

Aragon Research is one of  the newest technology research and advisory firm. Aragon delivers high impact research and advisory services to provide enterprises the insight they need to help them make better technology and strategy decisions. Aragon Research serves business and IT leaders and has a proven team of veteran analysts. For more information, visit http://www.aragonresearch.com

About lcooper

Lane Cooper has over 20 years of experience as a researcher, reporter and editor analyzing the business and technology industry. On average, Lane meets with 600 CIOs and senior enterprise executives every year to understand the impact of evolving technological developments on organizations of all sizes across all industries. He has organized and moderated many live and online events and works with a variety of high-tech organizations to ensure that information is presented in a context that is useful to an audience of sophisticated technology buyers and implementers. He is a Contributing Content Partner to CIO Magazine, Network World and Computerworld. Other news services and magazines that have carried his by-line include: Voice Report, Network World, Byte Magazine, TechWeb, Optimize, Information Week, Telephony, Communications Week, ComWeek International, and Enterprise Systems Journal. He lives in Washington DC, where he is the Editorial Director of BizTechReports, an independent reporting agency that analyzes user trends in business technology.

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