22 March 2021

Q&A Call: Choosing Learning Tech

Heather Gilmartin Adams
Senior Analyst

TL;DR

  • In this Q&A call Stacia Garr is joined with Heather Gilmartin Adams to discuss choosing learning tech
  • Learn what choosing learning tech means
  • Discover initial findings from our research
  • How to get peer feedback about vendor relationships and capabilities
  • Do teams adapt to the technology they have in shaping their agenda, or do they buy technology
  • How should L&D be thinking about tech integrations

Q&A Call Video

TRANSCRIPT

Introduction

 

Stacia Garr:

Great. So thank you everyone for coming today. We are going to get started with this call on choosing learning tech. So for those of you, I don't know, I'm Stacia Garr I'm co-founder and principal analyst with RedThread, and we are human capital research advisory analyst firm. I'm joined today by Heather Gilmartin Adams. Wanna say, hi, Heather.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Good morning.

Stacia Garr:

And we are, Heather is actually going to do the majority of the talking today. Just to quick housekeeping before we dive in these calls are pretty informal. The whole point is to have the informal discussion around a given topic and really to answer questions either that you all have, or that folks have submitted to us in advance. This is based on some of our most recent research on choosing learning tech and Heather's actually in the middle of writing a report on it.

Stacia Garr:

So your active participation in questions is certainly appreciated. As I mentioned a moment ago, we do record these calls and so they will be posted to our website for RedThread research members to be able to access after the call. So just know that whenever you're you're sharing any information again, to the informal component of this, we do like to just give it an opportunity to share into networks. So please be, feel free to say your name and where you're from. And if you want to be connected with folks after the call, you know, we can certainly take care of that. Okay. So with that Heather, can you move to the next slide.

Stacia Garr:

Thank you. So for those of you who may only know a little bit about us, we're RedThread Research, we are human capital research membership focused on five areas, learning and career performance in play experience, people, analytics and diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging. And then, and that's looking at both the practices and the technologies within those spaces. We, as I mentioned, just recently moved to a research membership that folks can purchase directly on our site or for teams or enterprise, you can purchase through contract. But we also do advisory as well as events. So that's enough about us and who we are and what we do. Let's move on to the next slide, Heather.

How can orgs best choose learning tech to help meet business goals?

 

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

So as Stacia mentioned, we've been looking at learning tech for a long, long time for years. We haven't though specifically focused on this question of choosing learning tech and we realized in 2020, we did an update of our learning vendor landscape survey. And we realized there is so much more out there even in 2020 than there was in 2018. And this kind of prompts a question, how do buyers make sense of all of it. And how do you think about choosing learning tech strategically and holistically in ways that work for your organization? And so that's kind of why we decided to kick off this research. We've done a number of interviews we've done a lit review thus far, but we're kind of in the middle of it.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

And so I'm excited to have this conversation with you all today because it'll inform our thinking on the topic as well. So just to give you a little bit of background, the research question that we've come up with is how can we best use learning tech to help meet business goals and sort of some sub-questions that we're looking into are around, what questions are most important to consider, who should be involved, and how can org think about what they already have versus what they might want to acquire somehow? So that's sort of broadly what we're, what we're looking at. What was really interesting was that as we started to have conversations and dive into the literature on it, this question became obvious that this question, the answer is changing. So when I had a couple of initial calls with some practitioners and thought leaders in this space, I asked them, what does choosing learning tech mean? And they basically just laughed, because it means different things to different people. And so if you guys are willing, as Stacia mentioned, we like to keep these informal and conversational. I'd love to hear from you either in the chat or feel free to unmute and talk for you, what does choosing learning tech mean?

What does choosing learning tech mean?

 

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

I have ideas about this that I'll share but I wanted to give you guys an opportunity to weigh in.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Participant from call text said tech that supports and facilitates learning and organization. Oh, I love the breath of that definition.

Stacia Garr:

And just kind of following on from, participant from call text's point. And that may seem terribly obvious, but, you know, I think that the point, and I don't want to steal your thunder Heather, but I think the point is, is that in the past, what it tended to mean was choosing LMS. Because that was the definition of what learning tech was.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah, exactly. And that's kind of reflected in the literature, right? There's a lot of this is going on. I'll show you guys the next slide. So this was a word cloud of the lit review that we did. And it might be a little bit hard to see the only two specific tech names that show up in the lit review. So that showed up in the literature enough to warrant making it onto the word cloud where LXP and LMS. And I think that's just a testament to the fact that for a long, long time choosing learning tech meant choosing the LMS or and you know, maybe if you were really forward-thinking choosing an LXP. Participant from call text said in our case tech that enables colleagues to enhance the learning activity enhances the experience of learning attracts learning engagement. Yeah, exactly. So there are all these other things, and participant from call text says seconds those points and would add a vehicle to retain and attract top talent. That's really interesting.

Stacia Garr:

It seems like that would be obvious, right. That's part of what we're trying to do here, but for so many years, that just hasn't been a focus that hasn't even been an outcome. So for those of you who, I don't know I tend to do most of our research on people, analytics and measurement and the like, and the disconnect between the learning world and pretty much the rest of the talent world is just remarkable. Whereas, you know, in, in so many other things we're doing with talent, you're absolutely right, I mean, you know, it's, how do we attract and retain top talent? How do we make sure that we're, you know, engaging these people, et cetera, et cetera, and with learning, it is, well, how many hours did they complete a learning and did they get to the end of the course? And it just, it's almost like they exist in two different worlds, which has been an interesting learning for me.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah. I think the learning world has a bit of catching up to do, data-wise.

Stacia Garr:

Yeah. But it, you know, it's starting, so that's exactly. Yeah.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

It really is. It really is. Oh, participant from call text said tech that enables learning and learning needs could be anything doesn't have to be specific learning tech. Yes. I love that point. So one of the things that we've seen a lot in the last year is leveraging platforms that somebody else that somebody not a learning and development pays for in the organization. Right. So learning is latching onto integrations with Slack and teams and even email sometimes and project management software. So yeah. Leveraging any tech that people are using wherever they are, we're meeting them where they are with learning and not creating specific, you know, learning tech to do that. Yeah. Love that point.

Initial finding

 

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

So you guys are kind of you've already touched on this. But yeah, so one of the initial findings from this research thus far is that L and D needs to be thinking about much more than LMS and LXP's.

And this is actually a model that Dani Johnson, one of our co-founders came up with a while ago. Now it's been maybe a year or two. But it's only now that we're seeing sort of broader thinking in line with this model, ie: that, that L and D needs to take responsibility for not just providing, learning in an LMS, but for helping employees plan their careers and discover content and learning opportunities and consume development opportunities, wherever they are, and experiment with new skills and knowledge and connect with others in the organization and even outside the organization to further their developments and L and D needs to take responsibility for helping employees perform better on the job. Those are sort of the six behaviors that L and D employee behaviors that L and D needs to be thinking about how to enable.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

And, then there are two other behaviors that are kind of admin around managing and creating, learning opportunities and analyzing those learning opportunities so that we can improve. And so the circles on the model are behaviors that L and D either needs to do themselves or support employees, the boxes underneath are all different types of functionalities offered by different technologies. And as you can see, LMS and LXP are just one box each, and there are, I think, 30 boxes on this slide. And and so basically what that means is that there's just so much more out there. And you know, learning has been historically focused on a very small percentage of the functionalities and the technology that we really should be thinking about. And it was interesting when I was talking to Christopher Lind, who is a great, if you guys aren't following him on LinkedIn, you should he's an amazing thought leader in the learning tech space. And what he said is I get it. Like I get it, that people are focused on, had been focused on LMSs and LXP's historically, because there are a lot of them out there. And there is a lot to consider even within that tiny slice of the learning tech world. But we've got to broaden our horizons, basically what he said. Stacia do you have to add on that? Or are there any questions on this model or on this, this general idea, this initial finding.

Stacia Garr:

I'll maybe add, while, folks are thinking about if they have any questions. I think, you know, kind of building on the point I made just a moment ago, a few things that I think are exciting here is, is under analyzed. You know, we are seeing a rise in non-traditional learning players come into the analytics space here. So, you know, we saw a partnership announced between PeopleFluent and Visier a few weeks ago. And I think we're going to see more of that type of work coming through. So at the moment in our people analytics tech study, the only two analytics players we see are Watershed and M level.

Stacia Garr:

And so you know, it's, it's, it's fun to see some other folks starting to take this more seriously. The other thing that I think is interesting is, you know, we've got perform and performance tracking here, but you and I have had some really interesting conversations recently that have kind of bridge that performance tracking with coaching, and understanding you know, kind of how we can have those two concepts really feed each other, and then how that can potentially connect to performance management. So, you know, one of our hypothesis and things we've been talking about for really, since Dani and I started the firm, was that the areas of learning performance management engagement are all coming together ever more closely. And I think we're seeing that show up certainly in terms of the specific learning tech, but then also in how it's connecting to other areas too.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah.

Stacia Garr:

I'm just going to broaden the partnerships that need to happen from L and D to the rest of the organization. And quite frankly, what the broader tech stack needs to look like.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah. Yeah.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Cause that's one thing that we don't touch on a whole lot yet is the linkages to the other tech, right. So learning tech doesn't exist and absolutely should not exist in a bubble. And so if we're thinking about learning tech, you're thinking not only about how do those pieces interact with each other, but how do they interact with the rest of the tech in the word? Yeah.

How can L&D identify the most important learning tech needs/gaps?

 

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Participant from call text (Speaker 1) said, love this model. I've been using it for a year or so to get a handle on learning tech inventory and determining gaps. I'm curious, one of the questions I'm skipping ahead, but one of the questions that we had was how do you think strategically about identifying what tech you need in an organization? And so you said determined gaps. So if you're willing to unmute and share with us either now, or when we get to that question, we'd love to hear from you.

Speaker 1:

So I'm new to role, has only been like a year and change, but I stumbled across the the article that you guys have published, I guess, back in September or whatever last year. I started, I latched on to that model and have really, we've been going through understanding what our inventory is and the tech and the learning space, but also across the company to show those gaps and then trying to work with our L and D side of things. So I sit in an HR operations group separate from our learning groups. So we have a new CLO. So I've been working understand where the new vision and strategy is going to go from there, so that this way we can kind of help them understand how we can take the technology side of things and learning, help that map and help enable their strategy moving forward. And then that's going to help us start to identify where those gaps might be and help prioritize those. So we can start to look for additional technologies that might be able to help them in there, in that space. I'm not sure if that helped answer your question.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah, that's great. I love it.

Stacia Garr:

And I think that's interesting. You just, you mentioned that you, you report into basically HR operations, not into learning. And so just a question for you kind of back to what Heather and I were riffing on a few moments ago, which is, are you also looking at how all this tech connects into your broader HR tech ecosystem?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I have a link right into our IT folks. So I'm making sure that's kind of what I was getting at before in terms of that's one of the things I love out of the article is don't compete with IT, like work with them because I have a very small group and trying to maintain and oversee all these learning systems versus having IT, do it for their systems. Yeah, I'm kinda tied to the hip with my IT rep to make sure that, you know, we're leveraging whatever they're doing, you know, we're looking at, I think the new Microsoft Veeva was just announced, but that's something to be from a tech IT perspective, not necessarily L and D. So I'm trying to see if we can kind of jump on their coattails with that and leverage the systems that they're bringing in as opposed to bringing in like learning specific systems.

Speaker 1:

Cause you know, it's better not to compete with them because we've seen that with we have Microsoft Yammer and we were bringing in like a social learning platform and Yammer came out first and it took off better than our social learning platform. So it's, you know, again, like we're competing. So that's why no one's going to this one. So, you know, trying to minimize that competition moving forward as well, because IT is going to be ahead of us for the most part, a good number of technology. So that's kind of where I'm focused.

Stacia Garr:

And I think the point to that is, is that the technology that IT is buying is most likely going to be work tech that they're already going to be in. And so this idea of trying to siphon them off from something else to do something just for L and D and it'd be outside of their day to day.

Speaker 1:

Exactly. I want to try and get us more towards like, how do you do stuff in the flow of work, as opposed to let me stop my work, go find something and some other system, and then come back and work. Right.

Stacia Garr :

Exactly.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah. That's fantastic. We'd love to hear how it goes. Kind of, it sounds like you're in the, at the beginning slash middle.

Speaker 1:

The early stages. Yeah. But yeah, no, definitely let you guys know.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah.

Additional initial findings

 

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

And that actually kind of links to some of the other initial findings that we have, which is linking texts as Speaker 1 is doing, which is fantastic. When you take decisions to business strategy is recognized as a good idea in the literature, at least we're not seeing that they're seeing there's this gap in the literature because there are a lot of articles on you need to link your learning tech to strategy. And there are a lot of articles on here's how to choose a good LMS or here's how to choose great VR software or here's how to choose a great micro learning platform. But there's, there's this like gap in terms of how to operationalize a strategy holistically before you get to the tactics of, you know, specific platforms that you're going to choose. So that's actually kind of why we're writing this, this particular paper in the first place is, is to kind of fill that gap. And then, and then to Speaker 1's point as well, you need to know what you already have before you start thinking about what else to acquire. Otherwise you're just chasing after the latest, shiny thing and not giving thought to sort of how it fits in or how it's going to meet an actual need.

Do you ever experiment with tech prior to choosing or just leverage RFP responses to make a decision?

 

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

The next one was, do you ever experiment with tech prior to choosing or just leverage RFP responses to make a decision? So I think my opinion on this is as much testing as you can possibly do before you buy the better. So if you can only get demos, then make sure you have a really good couple of use cases that you want the vendor to walk you through in the demo. If you can get a test account and play around with it yourself, even better just leveraging. So one of the, one of the big issues that both vendors and some of the tech thought learning tech thought leaders see with RFPs is that they've become a little bit of a check, the box exercise and, and some vendors will, if the RFP is not super, super detailed and clear, then sometimes vendors will say, yes, we can do this.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

And they can do maybe a version of this, but it's not the version that you need that will meet your needs. And that comes up particularly with integrations, you know? So, so a lot of times an RFP, the line item will be do you do integrations? And the vendor will say yes, and then you'll come to implementation time. And the integrations that you actually need, it turns out, Oh, that vendor, that's not what we meant by integrations. And so the more that you can play around with things before you purchase the better, Stacia.

Stacia Garr:

Yeah. I would add that. Well, a few things, one is, so often the integrations are just, or via API or a flat file CSV upload, and that's in many instances that works fine, but for if it's a specific need it very well may not. But, I think the bigger point here is that it goes back to why, why would we talk about the need for strategy to drive tech decisions versus the other way around is, you know, if you go in and you say, you know, this tech can do all these things, like let's figure out how to use them all. So we get the most value out of our investment. You often end up with a whole bunch of features and functionalities that you just may not need. And even like worse for my position as an analyst, it drives the wrong behaviors in the vendors because the vendors are just looking to check the boxes on the RFP so that they can get in the conversation.

Stacia Garr:

But if, instead you go to a vendor and say, we're trying to achieve this thing how might you help us achieve it? Or here's what we think we need, help us see what we may not, you know, it's much more of that dialogue and it's, you know, RFPs are fine for an initial rough cut. But it's, I think you need to be a lot more specific about it and you're not going to get that only from an RFP. And quite frankly, you're not going to get it only just from experimenting as well. You know, it's that beginning, that relationship with the vendor, having that conversation about what it is that you need. And then also understanding from the customers who may have had similar needs, have they been able to meet them? So that's the other thing that wasn't on this question, but I think is important for folks to do is, you know, go and talk to other customers who are, will surface references and who have ideally been in a situation similar to yours and understand did this vendor actually meet your needs or do they work with you to meet those needs? And what did that process look like?

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah.

How to get peer feedback about vendor relationships and capabilities?

 

Speaker 2:

Thank you. I want to ask you, I am also not so long in this line of work. So I was interested to ask you, so how would you recommend that I go about and ask other people about their experiences, because sometimes it's, for me, it seems a bit intrusive to like to ping people on LinkedIn and say, I can see that, I saw you somewhere using the same technology. Do you have any experiences? I'm sorry if this is like a very obvious question, but I'm also interested to hear, so what, would be your advice on this?

Stacia Garr:

Yeah, so I would start with the vendor. Usually the vendor will have a series of preference customers who have already said that they're happy to talk to potential new customers, and be specific with the vendor about what you want to talk about so that they can find the right person. Yeah. I am looking for someone else who has implemented at this scale with, you know, these types of capabilities and on this timeline as an example. So that's one way. A second way can be if you don't want to kind of go directly through the vendor is a lot of vendors have their own conferences and events. Even now, you know, there's just tons of virtual events and you can either find folks I mean, obviously whenever we go back to in-person, you can just kind of, a lot of times there'll be sessions that are dedicated to a particular topic, and it's easy to kind of bump into people, but even now you can look at who's speaking at those events, because usually if they're speaking there, have you already know that they've waved the flag and said, I'm willing to talk about this vendor.

Stacia Garr:

Sometimes also they have these pretty, pretty sophisticated like networking spaces within the technology right now. And you can go in and just pose a question like to the room, which is actually an advantage of it being virtual versus in person. And get people's perspective. A third way can also be, you know, you mentioned not wanting to cold bump into people in LinkedIn, but a lot of these organizations, a lot of these vendors will have their own LinkedIn groups and where it's kind of acceptable to go in and say, Hey, I'm thinking about implementing, you know, Degree. What's been your experience? And then the fourth way is if you do find someone it might be beneficial just to find keynote, good old fashioned networking, find that mutual connection who might be able to make the introduction for you. I mentioned that one last, because I feel like that's the most obvious of all of them. But I think all of those are ways that you can, you can get to folks who have used the tech.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much. Yes, some very neat ideas. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Let's see participant from call text said, that's a really important point, Stacia. I work in a sales function for a vendor, and certainly from my point of view, if a potential new client approached me with an issue they have, or goal they're looking to achieve, rather than a generic sales inquiry, the demo or platform we provide is going to be way more effective for all parties. And it's really interesting. So we were working with a large tech company on just helping them, helping them figure out their like rating matrix their rubric for an LXP that they were looking at. And we help them. They did a great job thinking through some of the use cases that that they wanted in their demos. And they got really specific, like, okay, we have a person just become a new manager and they need to do this, this and this.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

And how would you, how would you help them do that? And we have an admin who needs to do this, this and this in the backend of the system and how would you help them do this? And so they came up with a couple of demos and they sent them to the vendor ahead of time. And it was really enlightening for them to see the differences in the approaches with the vendors. You know, one of the vendors came back and the vendor seemed to understand exactly the use case, walked them through exactly how the person would do that. Like really gave them a good sense of what it would be like for that person to have that experience. And then the other vendor kind of came back with here's why we're great, you know, and it was an incredibly enlightening experience for the buyer.

What is more frequent: do teams adapt to the technology they have in shaping their agenda, or do they buy technology? 

 

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Right. All right. So the next question is what's more frequent. Do teams more adapt to the technology they have in shaping their agenda or do they buy technology? So this is interesting. It goes back to the question about, should using strategy to drive tech decisions. Right? So I think just to hammer on the point that any technology decision or any technology purchase that's made, not in service of a specific business goal is probably not going to serve you well in the long run. But I think another interesting angle to this question is what we were talking about earlier. Do we leverage existing systems to meet our business goals or do we buy technology to meet those goals? And I think with that Yammer example was great, right? That was a case where we need, it was really a better idea to leverage what you already had. And so I think, I think there's for me, there's a two part answer to this question, is the strategy driving your tech decisions? And are you very aware that you actually need to buy something? Or can you leverage once, you know, your business decision or be your business goal, then you can say, okay, do we have the tech to, to meet that goal? Or do we actually need to buy?

Stacia Garr:

Yeah. And I think an area where I see an opportunity to potentially adapt existing technology is when you're moving into a new space and you're just trying to create an MVP and to understand what might work. So, you know, you might be looking to experiment within just one, one part of an organization and say, okay, we're going to just, you know, it's going to potentially be ugly, but we're going to use this, this existing tech that we have and make some adjustments and just see could it potentially provide the value that we're looking for and, and do that in a low investment type of way. And then moving on, you know, after you get a little bit of a sense of how might play out, you know, in reality, in terms of if it fits the needs, if users would use this type of approach, etc. Then you can kind of step back and say, okay, well, we got the ideas, right, but like, is this actually the right tech or not?

Stacia Garr:

So I think that can be a good opportunity to leverage existing tech. The other area that we're actually really strongly pushing thinking about adapting current technology is with diversity equity and inclusion, and belonging. So we have seen a dramatic increase in the percentage of DEIB or I'm sorry, vendors offering DEIB solutions. And a lot of people don't know that their vendors are doing this. And so we saw, I think it's an 87% increase over two years ago of percentage of vendors who are offering DEIB as a feature. And so I think push going ahead and looking at what your vendor has to offer, whether you're looking at DEIB or you're looking at learning and seeing, you know, does the latest instance of this actually have what I need or have they, you know, if it's a true SAS software, you're going to get the updates no matter what. So have they made an update I don't know about, and it's already there. And I could leverage it to do the thing that I'm trying to do. So I think those are good examples of when to look to your current tech to see if it fits the need before you go and look outside the organization.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah. That's a great point actually. And I've seen it, not just in DEIB, but in sort of learning more broadly, adding for example, talent mobility type features have become really popular skills

Stacia Garr:

Or lightweight performance, I think we've seen.

How should L&D be thinking about tech integrations?

 

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah. So there's a lot of stuff that maybe your vendor has rolled out and it wasn't the original reason you bought the platform. And so you're not really thinking about it that way. Yeah, I love that. All right. The next question is how should L and D be thinking about tech integration? So we kind of already touched on this or talked about it a lot. So for me, there are two really important elements to think about. When you're thinking about integrations, one is the user experience and one is how you're using the data that your different systems are producing. So one of the things that we're seeing is a movement away in sort of learning tech purchasing broadly. We're moving away from trying to find one platform that does it all and toward a recognition that there are lots and lots of vendors out there.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

And some of them are really great at this. And some of them are really great at this. And some of them were really great at this. And so how do we create an ecosystem that pieces all of those best in class technologies together. And that's where integrations become really, really important. Right. And so when you're thinking about that, the things that you want to ask vendors about are, can you fit into my existing ecosystem, such that my users can't really tell, and probably don't even know that they're going on to a different system from whatever central access point I've decided they should go to for learning. And similarly, can the data that your platform is producing or collecting, can you put this data in whatever I've decided is my central repository where I want to store and access and compare all of the data that I have.

Most frequent integrations

 

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

So, for me, those are the two big, big elements to think about when you're thinking about tech integrations. I'd be very curious though what you all think and what questions you kind of follow up questions you have. Can you give any examples of most frequent integrations? So a lot of times, especially in enterprises there will be, you know, a central HRS system and a central LMS system. And so those probably are already integrated. And what I'm thinking about is if you're going to add on another piece of tech, let's say you decide that you need a micro learning platform for whatever reason. And so what your micro learning platform would be need to do is integrate with that LMS and potentially even with the HRS. Does that answer your question?

Speaker 2:

Sorry. It might be quicker like this. So yeah, basically, one of my let's say parts of my job was to work on integration between HRS and LMS that we are having. And I'm also interested to see maybe to ask you as well, too because there is now we see a big emphasis on the webinar delivering platforms when it comes to Adobe Connect I don't know, Zoom as well. But then also some teams and I was interested to see, so maybe to see what other intuitions there could be, because yeah, this is I'm fairly new. So this is something that my organization needs, but it could be something else as well. So that's what I wanted to, yeah, mostly HRS. Yes. It's a central system. But then it comes like Teams would have to have a special integration with, for example, our LMS to, for example, enable good let's say webinar, attendance I think that Zoom has some good APIs when it comes to that. I'm not sure for Teams. But yeah, so that's the background of my question.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah. So I would, I would kind of go back to the have your strategy, drive your choices theme that we've been going with. So I hesitate to say like, oh, all organizations are doing these integrations, or, oh, you need to think about this integration because maybe that's not right for your organization. I would it seems to me like you want to figure out what technologies you need and then figure out how to integrate them all all together. And I'd be thinking about it.

Stacia Garr:

But I do think, I mean, so as Heather mentioned, you're going to integrate your HRS, you know, whatever your human capital management system is most likely to, if nothing else, so that you can have the system of record data that you need about folks. And then I think the other area is, you know, when you, when your thinking about most, likely any of your performance activities, you're going to want an integration back to your learning resources to, you know, for instance, people are, have identified that they need to be better at presentations just to pick something you know, there people can then get directed to the resources that help them understand how do I deliver a better presentation. We're also seeing kind of a rise in the connection between learning need, like this learning needs identified through things like performance and experiences.

Stacia Garr:

And so those experiences could be coaching. They could be mentorship, they could be internal talent marketplaces that kind of thing, but we're, we're starting to see folks think about how do we bring those connections to bed together. So that folks don't just have a learning need that's been identified, but actually have a way to get there. That's not just content. So I think those are some other areas to potentially think about your integrations. But I would go back to Heather's point, you know, the ultimate question is what is the learning experience or the learning culture that you're trying to create, and then what would be the technology that can enable that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Thank you. I mean it maybe goes back of course, to the previous question, because yeah, only now that was the question that I think I submitted. So it really is about, for example are you aware at any point what is really that you're trying to accomplish on a, let's say through to three years period, or I don't know how long, I don't know. So for many of the contracts with the vendors, how long do they last really? But I would say that it's more long term when, especially when it comes to a bigger organization. So that's why I asked the question and when it comes to integration, it's what you said earlier as well. So people I think when there's promise a lot of things in general, but when it comes to specifics and really accomplishing some things, then I don't see that a lot of stuff is possible. It requires some custom development, which is like, need funds for that. And it's not something that you budgeted for. So I think that's why I asked for most frequent funds. So I can maybe see what could be possible expenditure. I mean, it's even better if you can announce something that you'll need something. So that's why I asked, thank you. Maybe linking too many stuff now.

Stacia Garr:

I think that's good. But one thing just to add on there is make sure that you ask your vendor, the vendors that you're considering at the beginning, what type of support they give for implementation and for basically making these integrations and other potentially more customized aspects of the implementation work. So in our people analytics, tech study, for example, we found 40% of vendors offer that support as part of their subscription and do not have a year one additional cost for that, 60% do not. But, you know, you may find that that offering of support is the thing that tips you one way or the other, and also can be indicative of the vendors perspective on one, you know, the extent to which they're kind of software first versus software to generate leads for consulting, two the extent to which they think you'll need support long-term so a lot of them say, look, we get that.

Stacia Garr:

You're gonna need some help getting set up, but we don't expect you to need long-term support because the technology is mostly self-sustaining once you get implemented. And so we're not gonna, we're not gonna charge for the upfront because we want you to be successful and we don't think you're going to need it longer term. So we're not going to charge for that either that can give you a sense of one budget, but then also what you need, what you should expect from them longer term in their overall philosophy. So I would check into that at the beginning, start of the process.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Heather Gilmartin Adams (40:58):

One sort of tangential thought to that. It sounded also in your question, like because you said you're new to the space you were feeling like I need to know, just kind of what's out there and what my options are so that I can maybe think about how to build them in, in the future, or maybe budget for them. And actually that's a really good point that's come up in a couple of our interviews is learning leaders need to have at least a decent enough sense of what's on offer in market. So that when they're in a meeting and they hear a business challenge, they know kind of whether there's a technology that can assist with that or not. And so I just kind of building up that awareness is in fact a great thing that you're trying to do. And if you're interested, we have a tool on our website that you can play around with that kind of shows you what the vendors in the space are doing. All right. So that was actually the last question.

Stacia Garr:

Before we go to this, are there other questions that folks have that we didn't cover live today? And I just put a link to the tool in the in the chat

Stacia Garr:

Okay. So it sounds like there's nobody who's going to speak now, so we'll forever hold our peace Heather.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Right. So, yeah. Do you want to speak to this Stacia?

Conclusion

 

Stacia Garr:

Two weeks from today. Our next Q and A call is going to be on employee engagement and experience tech. So I know at least one person here mentioned Microsoft Veeva. I wrote a pretty long blog on Microsoft Veeva when that announcement came out. So that will be one of many things that we talk about. In general, we're going to be talking about what this market looks like based on our people, analytics, technology research, and aware where people sit, what they do. What we see as some of the differences in the different vendors and how one might want to approach the space. So it'll be like this, it'll be free flowing discussion. But Priyanka Mehrotra who's on our team and is actually leading this research. She and I will be on together and we will share our thoughts and take your questions. It's going to be fun. So cool. Well, I think with that, want to just say thank you to everyone for your participation and whether it be a chat or voice or, or however you chose to participate. And for anybody who's listening after to the recording, please go ahead and feel free to reach out to us with any questions or anybody who's here today. If you have more questions, let us know. And we look forward to seeing you on another Q and A call soon.

Heather Gilmartin Adams:

Yeah. Thank you everyone. It's a great conversation today.

Stacia Garr:

Yeah. Thank you. Take care.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Gilmartin Adams

Heather is a senior consultant at RedThread Research. Trained in conflict resolution and organizational development, Heather has spent the past ten years in various capacities at organizational culture and mindset change consultancies as well as the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She holds a masters degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a bachelors degree in history from Princeton University. She has lived in Germany, China, Japan, and India and was, for one summer, a wrangler on a dude ranch in Colorado.

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