Skillsoft Blog

Top Moments from EMEA Perspectives

Top Moments from EMEA Perspectives
Mike Hendrickson, VP of Technolgy & Developer Products, in full swing.

In a previous blog post, I offered four reasons why you should attend EMEA Perspectives.

Now that the event has wrapped, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how the day shaped up against those promises.

1. Skillsoft executive speakers

Ron Hovsepian, our Executive Chairman, did indeed address our overall strategy and explained in detail how Skillsoft plans to assist organisations in the design and delivery of an engaging learning experience. Ron spoke about how Skillsoft is reacting to the changing business model with a new strategy that focuses on specialization, simplification and focus. In tandem with this new strategy, we also recently announced significant content and platform enhancements that include partnerships with stellar organisations such as Wintellect, Convercent, and MITxPro.

Heide Abelli, SVP of Content Product Management, reminded us all that the old leadership style no longer works. When we talk about leadership development today, we must recognise this and accept that it also means the core competencies are changing too. The rise of teams means L&D needs to think of leaders, and leadership development, in a broader context. Leaders today must embrace and exemplify a mindset that incorporates agility and diversity of thought.  Heide supplied some background details the Skillsoft’s Leadership Development Programme (SLDP) and why scenario-based instruction plays an essential role in our leadership training. Heide also addressed the thorny subject of assessment and explained why it is crucial that companies rate its leaders’ performance to identify areas of improvement.

Potoula Chresomales, SVP of Product Management, shared that Percipio adoption is climbing all the time. We are delighted that the platform continues to engage learners with accesses rising by over 100%, and time spent learning increasing by over 50%. Skillsoft is looking to make further enhancements to include the addition of instructor-led-training (ILT) and a function that will trigger a habit-forming loop with AI-driven personalised notifications.

Mike Hendrickson, VP of Technology & Developer Products, talked about the skills gap, and described what he calls the “D-shaped employee”. This refers to a well-rounded professional who also possesses in-depth knowledge of a particular subject or area. He referred to Skillsoft’s new content partnerships like Wintellect and Security Innovation, and how they will add a focus and breadth of tech & dev content that in the past, Skillsoft was unable to deliver. He also gave a sneak peek at Signals, an exclusive Skillsoft report that offers extensive industry insight and analysis based on our user data. Mike spent some time on Skillsoft Aspire learning journeys, and how organisations can leverage these predesigned learning pathways to upskill and reskill their workforce.

John Arendes, Vice President and GM of Global Compliance Solutions, spoke why the value and ethics of a company are now garnering more attention than ever before. He too gave a sneak peek at ways Skillsoft Compliance customers will soon easily be able to customise their compliance training. He also shared the exciting news that we are starting a Compliance Advisory Council (CAC) here in EMEA. Any customer interested in joining please contact Andrew Nickolls.

2. Shivvy Jervis, keynote speaker

Shivvy Jervis was phenomenal. While on the one hand, she shared her excitement and passion for all things tech, she did ultimately remind us that humans will always play the central role in the workplace. Given that she spends her time travelling the world following the latest technology trends, here is her list of the top four technology areas to have on your radar:

  • Emotive AI: this is referring to the bots or avatars who will help people complete tasks with a human touch. Already such digital humans exist in the form of Xinhua’s AI anchor and Sophie Air New Zealand’s digital customer service rep.
  • Next Gen Data: Currently, 80% of data is dark or unknown. This number will change as the flood gates open, giving organisations access to untold amounts of data for analysis and application.
  • How will we interact with the future workplace: We can expect to see more virtual reality, a more immersive workplace, and the use of augmented reality to boost engagement.
  • Digital identity: 42% of security breaches stem from within the organisation. With the average cost of a data breach hovering around the £3 million mark, companies want to change this abysmal figure. Expect to see the introduction of biometrics as the first line of defence. Shivvy spoke of examples like a heartbeat Id or a brainwave Id.


She also predicted the five jobs of the future

3. Industry expert insight

As the CEO of Fosway Group, Europe’s leading HR industry analyst, we’ve all come to expect rich and in-depth insights from David Wilson. He didn’t disappoint. He presented slide after slide showcasing Fosway’s latest findings illustrating just how ill-prepared most organisations are for the modern workforce. He also reminded everyone just how much technology is impacting HR and why everyone in the industry needs to be aware of artificial intelligence and robotic process automation (RPA) and how each is changing the profession.

4. Customer stories

Canon’s Director People Development, Gerard Pieterse, really brought to life the look and feel of L&D at his organisation.

He played a short video Canon uses to encourage and promote all their incredible Percipio learning opportunities. They also market these L&D efforts through ads as seen below.

Matthew Buskell, AVP Skillsoft, led a panel discussion on the digital native, which included Helen Sussex of CGI, Pete Sims of Direct Line Group, Lynne Scott of Skillsoft and Mohsin Hussain of Linklaters. While everyone agreed that age is not the only factor in determining who is a digital native, what is critical is the ability of people to adapt and learn regardless of their role in the company.

I had the no small task of giving the final thoughts of the day whilst simultaneously summing it up.  I believe Gartner says it best – we need to prioritise three critical areas as we move towards this next chapter: put people first, work on building trust and collaboration, and promote shared leadership.

I want to thank everyone who joined us at the Royal Lancaster and look forward to seeing you all again in 2020.


Steve Wainwright is the Managing Director at Skillsoft EMEA.

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