Click2Docent, III

I am up to my ass in alligators at the moment, so I was going to leave further gossip about the Click2Learn/Docent merger to my friends and colleagues. Then I received a flock of emails about the merger this morning and felt compelled to express my somewhat contrarian viewpoint.

For background, check eLearning Guru Kevin Kruse, Bersin & Associates, Learning Circuits, Upgrade Program, Click2Learn's press release, Docent's FAQ, and the Saba letter which I said was "like a white tiger pouncing on an aging Las Vegas entertainer."

  • Don't confuse investment analysis with learning effectiveness. A Chief Learning Officer should be concerned with vendor viability, i.e. Is my vendor a long-term player? Aside from this issue, the random walk of the equities market is jostled by the economy, trade relations, currency trades, war, weather, and the short-term perceptions of investors who wouldn't recognize a trend in the learning industry if it hit them over the head.

  • Size doesn't matter. Contrary to what you read in your daily spam, size is largely irrelevant. All the LMS vendors Brandon Hall can count don't add up to a hill of beans compared to the Everest of Enterprise Applications vendors. The big will not eat the small; they will mate with them. Vendors who don't understand this suffer from corporate dyslexia: the inability to see the handwriting on the wall.

  • The "complete suite." Applications from multiple vendors are converging, with web services serving as the universal glue. In an interoperable world, it's an advantage not to license everything from a single vendor. The advantage of having one number to call when things go wrong is trivial compared to the risk of putting all of one's infrastructure eggs in the same basket.

  • Strength in numbers? Heaven knows, I'm not a finance guy, but I don't understand how savings from eliminating redundancies are going to offset the expenses of maintaining multiple platforms, developing a new offering, and launching a new brand in the marketplace. Of course, I still haven't figured out how a government can increase spending, fight a war, cut taxes, and come out whole either.

  • Four out of five mergers fail to meet expectations. 'nuff said.

Overall, make sure you know what you're trying to accomplish, and buy only what you need. And consider financier/philosopher Bernard Beruch?s advice: "Never follow the crowd."

Posted by Jay Cross at October 27, 2003 12:14 PM | TrackBack


A few comments:
- There are non-trivial differences among the LMS vendors with respect to SI flexibility.
- Web services "one world, one song" scenario is probably about a year away.
- Whenever you have vendor spread you always have greater risk with SI until the Starship Enterprise becomes a reality.
- Buying from multiple vendors (best of breed method) means that more of the SI risk/cost/focus falls on the organization; this is good or bad depending on your strategic focus and how custom tailored a solution you need/want.
- One of the "food chain" risks is that the ERP vendors will gobble up all the LMS vendors; my assessment (without name calling) is that we will all be forced to eat at White Castle as opposed to those cool restaurants in SF.


Posted by: Hal Richman at October 30, 2003 01:33 AM

nice site

Posted by: paris hilton slip at June 28, 2004 11:41 PM

30 Poppy Lane
Berkeley, California 94708

1.510.528.3105 (office & cell)

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