Skillsoft Blog

Time: the hidden cost of free

By John Ambrose

As I described in my 2012 Skillsoft Perspectives Global keynote, “time” is
the single most important asset of any organization. The hidden cost of
“free” is the time required to make that content relevant to the individual in
the context of the organization’s goals and mission. Misdirected time is
the ultimate enemy of human productivity. Skillsoft’s business model has
enabled it to invest literally hundreds of millions of dollars over the years
in building a full spectrum of connected, inter-related learning modalities
that optimize the transfer of relevant knowledge and skills. Unlike the
academic world where reflection and scholarship are an integral part of a
largely time-insensitive learning process, corporate solutions focus on
delivering highest quality in the least amount of time to drive specific
business outcomes. Time equals money.

Moreover, the larger and more complex the organization − the
greater the challenge. An effective, global learning program in a large,
dispersed organization requires not just access to content, but a significant
amount of consulting, tailoring and advisory support to drive successful
business outcomes. This includes subject matter expertise, platform
integration, alignment to initiatives, program design, rollout planning,
marketing communication, alignment to competencies, leveraging of social and
mobile platforms, mapping to initiatives, reporting, and business impact

These services have been key to distinguishing Skillsoft’s
value proposition over low cost and “free” sources of content, as well as
higher priced alternatives such as classroom-based learning which is costly and
not scalable.

Nonetheless, the “free” dynamic is a big driver of why
Skillsoft continues to push its thinking around how to evolve our business
model to continually enhance the overall value and service it delivers. It is clear that all types of standalone content products, including
traditional courseware, face some level of greater pressure especially when the
“buyer” is less discerning about quality, accuracy, relevance, time-commitment,
and consistency of the content.

Skillsoft understands this dynamic and continues to migrate
to a model that leverages our relentless focus on organizational development
and results. Ultimately SkillSoft must and will continue to deliver an
experience that customers cannot receive elsewhere through its unique
combination of content, services and total user experience.

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