Wednesday, 28 March 2018 23:31

2018 Learning & Talent Platform Buyers’ Plans Revealed Featured

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Business Drivers Spur  Need for New Features

As technology evolves so do the learning solutions that grow our talent. In Elearning! Magazine’s 10th Annual Learning & Talent Platforms Buyer Study, we reveal how the learning ecosystem is evolving. The study conducted November 14th to December 5th, 2017 surveyed 441 learning executives on platform needs, brand and product awareness, user satisfaction, ‘must have’ features on new or replacement platforms, and insights into the decision-making process. We share the topline findings here, and recommend downloading the complete study for free at: http://information.2elearning.com/2018lmstmsstudy/

CURRENT OWNERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS

Almost half of respondents operate multiple learning or talent systems within their enterprises (See Figure 1). Eighty-eight percent have a learning system deployed within their organizations. A large uptick in talent system ownership was noted with 33% ownership. Cloud-based systems continue to rise with 74% of systems running as Software as a Service or in the cloud. Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) have also reported a slight increase to 31%. The most frequent pairing of systems is Learning Management System (LMS) and Talent Management System (TMS) at 18%, followed by LMS and LCMS at 13%.

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Most learning and talent systems are deployed across multiple locations with multiple US locations and international sites accounting for 2 out of 3 installations  (See Figure 2).

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The learning systems deployed are supporting internal staff (83%) and external customers, suppliers and partners, (74%) (See Figure 3). Support of external audiences has increased 7.2% from 69% in 2016. Customers account for 44% of extended training programs.

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SATISFACTION RATINGS

Owner satisfaction scores have steadily improved for learning platforms over the last five years. This year’s overall satisfaction rating was 2.22, a solid B. Much is attributed to movement toward cloud-based systems that simplify ownership and the updates users receive during ownership. However, learning systems still receive lower marks on Flexibility (2.44), Interoperability (2.47), and New Features & Capabilities (2.52).

Surprisingly, TMSs saw a lower overall score than LMSs of 2.36, a B-. Given that TMSs are newer to the market and can leverage cloud’s ease of use, we expected higher satisfaction scores. The sore points for TMS owners are: Interoperability (2.37), Cost (2.39), Ease of Use (2.42), Flexibility (2.42) and New Features & Capabilities (2.42). However, the owners’ lack of expertise may also be a contributing factor to lower satisfaction given only 31% report they are expert or very familiar with the TMS vs. 72% of LMS owners.

THE NEXT SYSTEM

Dissatisfaction with system's features and flexibility is a continuing concern for learning executives. However, now it is a roar heard from the C-suite as focus on engagement, collaboration and performance takes center stage (See Figure 4).

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In the 2018 study, Employee Engagement is the number one business driver for investment in learning and development. Meaning, learning and development initiatives will be measured against this objective before, during and after the investment.

Why all the focus? According to Gallup 2017 study, organizations with highly engaged employees have 22% higher productivity and 25% lower turnover. Today, 67% of the workforce is disengaged. Plus, 51% of employees are actively looking for their next job; 91% of which will be with a new employer. Engagement is now a C-suite imperative and learning and development is the key.

According to Gallup, 41% of millennials say "a job that accelerates career development is very important." Another 61% say "I want to work at what I do best" - a nod to competency. This is a key tactic to improving engagement. As a result, Personalize Learning has skyrocketed from 0.4% in 2012 to 49% in 2018. With digitalization, smart systems and data analytics, personalizing learning is within the grasp of most learning organizations. And, it is now being funded by most organizations.

NEW SYSTEM ATTRIBUTES

About one out of three LMS owners are replacing their systems and 6% of those without a LMS, are planning to add one. For TMS owners, 8% are planning to replace their system, however 12% of non-owner plan to acquire a TMS. These buyers are investing more than ever on their next system at $1.3 million, up from $1.1 million in 2016, an 18% increase.

Sixty-nine percent of buyers plan to purchase their new learning system within 24 months.  For TMS buyers, 57% plan to make the acquisition within the 24 months.Eighty-two percent plan to purchase a LMS, cloud-based solution (See Figure 7).

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Buyers value Quality, Price and Customer Service when specifying a solution. However, their list of ‘must-have’ features is long. The good news is business leaders are ready to invest to get the features and capabilities needed to drive the business.

When it comes to the learning system, most expect the standard functionality to be present i.e. Course Tracking, Authoring, Testing, etc. The early majority are now expecting Mobile Deployment (68%), Personalized Learning (64%), and Survey Management (60%).  However, only about four out of ten have these capabilities in their current system (See Figure 5).

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On the TMS front, owners expect Performance Measurement, Metrics, Planning (71%), Workforce Analytics (64%), Reporting Tools, Integration and Succession Planning (61%) to be in their next system. They are not generally present in their current system  (See Figure 6).

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BRAND AWARENESS

The study also queried current ownership by brand, awareness and rankings of learning and talent systems by mention. More than 100 brands were named in the study indicating the industry is still quite fragmented. Among owners, the top learning brand only collected 9% share, level with 2016. Among talent systems, the top brand garnered only 12% share.  The complete report on brands, awareness and ownership can be downloaded free at: http://information.2elearning.com/2018lmstmsstudy/

SUMMARY

As technology evolves, so does the solutions and processes we leverage. Learning and talent systems are wonderful solutions. But, they are only as useful as the experts behind the wheel. The C-suite is investing in your team to move the engagement needle and drive performance. Use this research, your team and partners to design the ecosystem your team needs, wants and deserves. The solutions await you.

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