By John Ambrose
Oracle’s recent announcement to acquire Taleo for $1.9 billion is another example of the trend toward consolidation and integration in our industry. Just a couple months ago SAP acquired SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion and in February, Kenexa acquired Outstart, a learning content management system provider. So the question is, what is driving this activity and why now?
Customers want simplicity. And they deserve it. Just look at how easy it is to navigate a content- and feature-rich consumer website like Amazon or Netflix compared to your ‘favorite’ behind-the-firewall enterprise application. Then imagine integrating that enterprise app with other business critical apps from different vendors, all on different versions and upgrade cycles. So what’s happening in the Human Capital space is an example of what’s been referred to as the consumerization of IT. This is a good thing. Vendors are moving these applications to the cloud, and they are aspiring to do a better job with the plumbing.
But just knitting together functional components to be able to claim a ‘full suite’ HCM platform in the cloud tied to an HRIS system still doesn’t completely deliver on the fundamental customer promise of simplicity. All the effort to automate and integrate these platforms thus far has fallen short of creating a true customer experience when it comes to learning and development.
This is because a true learning experience that drives business impact and behavioral change is only achieved through the effective application of the right learning content at the right time and in the right amount. Platform automation is a one-time productivity benefit to an organization, but effectively developing the talent of an organization by targeted delivery of content from a trusted, vetted, relevant learning cloud is real value creation which keeps on giving.
So this wave of consolidation is creating a massive opportunity for the industry and our mutual customers. With apologies to Ronald Reagan, it’s time for the HCM vendor community to ‘tear down that wall’ which has traditionally separated parts of their suites from the incredibly rich, cloud-based streams of learning that can be targeted and embedded to drive true performance results. After all, effective learning is not about “consuming SCORM objects,” it’s about making precise nuggets of content harvested from the best courses, books, videos, simulations and other assets available at the point of need throughout the workflow and talent process.
Learning content is so fundamentally critical to the talent process; it deserves to be seamlessly woven into all HCM processes. This is the nirvana clients are requesting, and the gap that is missed in the current wave of consolidation. This is why SkillSoft continues to provide truly platform-agnostic learning solutions designed to drive effective development outcomes regardless of LMS or talent management platform. Simplicity is a good thing.