TechKnowledge '04, Day Two

Welcome, Dan, Fred, Beatrice, Amanda, and Elizabeth, who attended this evening's sessions on Blogs & Learning at TechKnowledge.


 Josh Bersin

My second morning of TechKnowledge began with a panel of vendors of LMS and eLearning platforms addressing “Where are they going?” Panelists were Jason Averbook (PeopleSoft), Ed Cohen (Plateau), Lenny Greenberg (Pathlore), Malcolm Hobbs ( Saba ), and Jim Federico (Click2Learn). Moderator Josh Bersin (Bersin & Associates) pulled these nuggets of wisdom and rules of thumb from the panelists:

  • For every $1 you spend on LMS software, expect to spend three or four times more for implementation.
  • 5% to 15% of your cost will be for integration.
  • LMS no longer run in silos. One provider says nine out of ten installs link to HR or financial systems.
  • Jason: You cannot integrate at the business product level.
  • Ed: That's a myth. The LMS can be the hub.
  • It's not going to be a single-vendor world. (I thought of a Ferrari, with body by Bertone, Pirelli tires, Bosch ignition, Dell'orto carburetor, and so on.)
  • PeopleSoft receives 30,500 RFPs a year.
  • You've got a choice with enterprise software. You can customize the software to your processes (paying through the nose for customization and shutting off your upgrade path) or conforming to the best practices imbedded in the software.
  • A quarter of the audience had more than one LMS.
  • Important in the 3-5 year future: enterprise wide performance culture, adoption of industry best practices, total cost of ownership, plug—and-play enterprise software, integration of learning and work, workflow-based learning.


Next I visited a panel of buyers. Steve Teal (Bristol Myers Squibb), Dan Henry (Bank One), and Keith Irwin (Wells Fargo), egged on by moderator Sam Herring (LGuide), told stories of the “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

Lessons include:

  • Be sure who owns the intellectual capital.
  • Determine your requirements before calling in the vendors. The devil's in the details.
  • “Will the vendors come in to you?” “Too often.” One fellow no longer returns phone calls. Advice: don't call them in until you've defined what you want.
  • What if the vendor doesn't follow your RFP process? Watch out. One buyer received 200 pp. of boilerplate ahead of the answers to his questions. How they answer the RFP indicates what they'll be like later on. Eliminate them from consideration.
  • The RFI is educational; the RFP comes after defining your requirements.
  • When choosing an advisor, pick a “partner” who is independent. Lots of great people are available.
  • Research? One person suggested Brandon Hall. Another said the information he received from Brandon was inaccurate and out of date. LGuide used to date-stamp its reports since inaccuracies are often attributable to the age of the report.
  • Watch out for two similar-sounding but very different terms. Configurable means you can flip a few switches to change things to your liking. Customization is recoding – and you will pay for it.
  • Translation: “We can do that” = “Pull out your pocketbook.”
  • Would you buy version 1.0? No.
  • Sign a prenup setting grounds for a no-fault divorce in case of irreconcilable differences.
  • Next was my panel with Ellen Wagner, Harvey Singh, and Dexter Fletcher, orchestrated by Brenda Sugrue. We covered a lot of ground but that will wait for another day; I'm a bit tired.

Next was my panel with Ellen Wagner, Harvey Singh, and Dexter Fletcher, orchestrated by Brenda Sugrue. We covered a lot of ground but that will wait for another day; I'm a bit tired. (My photos of Ellen and Brenda did not turn out.)

Posted by Jay Cross at February 11, 2004 09:17 AM | TrackBack

Thanks for the roundtable session at TechKnowledge, and for providing an introduction to Blogs. I'm also glad to see you've captured some of the info from TechKnowledge sessions I didn't attend.

After I got to your site and read a couple of your posts, I was half expecting to see myself in one of your tirades.... thankfully I only saw a "welcome" at the top of this post.

Posted by: Elizabeth Gillette at February 17, 2004 06:03 AM

Yes true, old as world :)

Posted by: Big Naturals at July 9, 2004 03:13 PM

Well, what have we done without the blog info? Really nice information on this blog.

Keep up the good work!!

Posted by: uggs at July 15, 2004 08:15 AM

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