By Steve Wainwright
In this age of learning-on-demand, it is only right that I reflect on our annual user conference EMEA #Perspectives18 before the dust settles on another hugely successful event. In the shadows of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Chad Gaydos, Skillsoft Group’s Chief Operating Officer, kicked off the biggest and best EMEA Perspectives to date. Hundreds of learning professionals from across the region joined us for a packed day of exciting content and platform announcements, industry insights, analyst findings and plenty of networking opportunities.
In his opening keynote, Chad reflected on the transformational work completed by former CEO, Bill Donoghue in his two years with the organisation, before his retirement earlier this year. Bill’s vision of producing beautiful technology and engaging content is the cornerstone of Skillsoft and SumTotal’s latest product offerings. Chad discussed the impact of our world-class intelligent learning platform, Percipio, and its just-in-time, game-changing browser plug-in ELSA. The audience also heard how SumTotal is committed to staying ahead of the curve, displaying remarkable speed and agility by moving from two to delivering three annual platform updates. Both Skillsoft and SumTotal have ‘Accessibility for All’ at the forefront of their design philosophies ensuring that no other content and platform provider is poised to deliver digital capability to your organisations.
I was inspired to hear Apratim Purakayastha, Skillsoft Group Chief Technology Officer introduce a new motto – learning in the flow of work, learning in the flow of life. AP explained that in this fast-moving digital economy, learning rarely takes place at your desk. Instead, it happens on the train, on your mobile, just before entering a meeting – even in the evening when you get home from work.
When Skillsoft’s Chief Content Officer, Mark Onisk, took to the stage he described “our mission to help people achieve their fullest potential through learning.” In addition to the hyper-successful Watch. Read. Listen. methodology, Mark unveiled Practice – designed to help learners apply the knowledge they have acquired through practical scenarios. Mark highlighted Skillsoft’s hyper-current 90-day content roadmap, ensuring that customers always have access to up-to-date learning solutions at the point of need.
Several themes repeated through the day from our speakers and attendees alike: agility, digital transformation, and talent. A huge thank-you to our #Perspectives18 customer panel hosted by Snehanshu Shah, SVP, Industry Value & Solutions Practice, Skillsoft, with the following participants:
Craige Heaney, Group Head of L&D – Centrica
Sue Hawke, Senior Manager, Head of Global Learning Technologies – Linklaters LLP
Dr. Chantelle Brandt Larsen, Senior Digital Engagement Lead – Capgemini
The panel was extremely engaging and interactive and shed light on how employers in the marketplace must be innovative, adaptable and agile when hiring and retaining talent. Roles change as a reaction to industry conditions, but organisations must offer their employees up-skilling and re-skilling opportunities to improve and stay relevant. I am immensely proud that Skillsoft and SumTotal continue to partner with such forward-thinking enterprises.
Keeping the focus on our customers, it was overwhelming to see the impact Skillsoft is having on organisations such as National Trust. Jon Townsend, Chief Information Officer, outlined how in the eight months since National Trust rolled out Percipio, they have transformed the effectiveness of their IT team, implemented a GDPR re-permission campaign and improved their apprenticeship offering.
Gavin McQuillan (Head of Learning – Royal Bank of Scotland) offered a wonderful quote: “Change is hard, but irrelevance is harder.” He discussed how Skillsoft has been a part of their journey to becoming a digital organisation and that for every £1 spend with us, they return £17, a mind-blowing statistic that further enhances our reputation as the global leader in eLearning.
Before I draw to a close, I must mention our other excellent speakers from the day:
- Harriet Minter (@HarrietMinter), Journalist & Women in Leadership Advocate, who comprehensively smashed a multitude of myths about women in the workplace.
- Andy Lancaster (@AndyLancasterUK), Head of L&D, CIPD shifting attitudes towards mobiles devices at work. Why do we still assume employees are distracted when they’re using their phones?
- David Wilson (@dwil23), CEO, Fosway Group who, as always, gave an excellent overview of the state of learning. L&D must move away from a habit of delivery and concentrate on agile learning experiences.
- Laura Overton (@LauraOverton, Founder and CEO, Towards Maturitywho inspired our audience to make 2018 the year of transformation.
As I end this moment of reflection, I return to Chad Gaydos’ comments from the opening keynote:
“When our partners are successful, we are successful”.
Skillsoft and SumTotal have proved again that our customers are always front of mind. Customer feedback is integral to our content and platform design philosophy as we strive to provide our users with a world-class experience and the tools they require to reach their potential. Thanks for a fantastic EMEA Perspectives and here’s to a successful rest of 2018.
Steve Wainwright is the Managing Director at Skillsoft EMEA.