What "Other Things" Can a Learning Business Successfully Sell to Internal or External Customers?

From Tony Karrer – in a LinkedIn message from him asking that I forward a message to someone who until very recently worked for me, now elsewhere in the Enterprise due to a merger’s realignment of people to business functions.

He also asked for me to write a Blog Post on his question (below). So here it is – and here is his explanation…

I’m organizing an online event on July 23 that will address the question:

While training as a publisher of courses and courseware faces an increasingly challenging market, what other things can learning businesses successfully sell to internal or external customers?

This is discussed in greater detail in my post – Business of Learning: http://elearningtech.blogspot.com/2009/06/business-of-learning.html

The July session will consist of roughly three different panels (CLOs/VPs Learning, CEOs of Training Companies, CxOs of Software/Services Vendors) discussing what they see as the opportunities. I may have an analyst / consultant group as well.

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My (Guy’s) response/thoughts…
As always, it depends.

Not all Learning Businesses have strength in every sub-discipline to ISD: analysis, design, development of technology-based solutions for on-demand access and/or scheduled deployment.

And as Learning is but one of many “levers” to pull on to improve process performance of individuals and/or teams – and the real goal if PERFORMANCE COMPETENCE of the individuals, processes, organizations, and Society as a whole, then expand your service offerings into others that help select and/or enable the human variable in processes.

Those with really strong backgrounds and bench strength in analysis might think of offering, besides courses and courseware:
  • Process mapping efforts
  • Process streamlining or “lean” efforts
  • Process variability reduction/Six Sigma efforts
  • Business Process Architecture mapping
  • Human Attributes & Values Needs analysis
  • Environmental Supports Needs analysis

You could offer these additional service because you either have most of the analysis data gathering tools and techniques – to enable you to “also do” these, or it’s a small step to segue to that desired capability.

Those with really strong backgrounds and bench strength in analysis and in design might think of offering, besides courses and courseware:

  • Business Process Architecture design
  • Organization & Job design
  • Staffing & Succession Systems design
  • Recruiting & Selection Systems design
  • Training & Learning Systems design
  • Performance Appraisal & Management Systems design
  • Compensation & Benefits Systems design
  • Reward & Recognition Systems design
  • Information Systems Architectural design
  • Materials & Supplies System design
  • Tools & Equipment System design
  • Facilities & Grounds System design
  • Budget & Headcount Planning System design
  • Culture & Consequences System design

You could offer these additional service because you either have most of the analysis data gathering and design data generating tools and techniques – to enable you to “also do” these, or it’s a small step to segue to that new capability.

Those with really strong backgrounds and bench strength in analysis and design and in development of technology tools might think of offering, besides courses and courseware:
  • Process mapping tools
  • Process streamlining or “lean” project tools
  • Process variability reduction/Six Sigma project tools
  • Business Process Architecture mapping project tools
  • Human Attributes & Values Needs project tools
  • Environmental Supports Needs project tools
  • Business Process Architecture project tools
  • Organization & Job project tools
  • Staffing & Succession Systems project tools
  • Recruiting & Selection Systems project tools
  • Training & Learning Systems project tools
  • Performance Appraisal & Management Systems project tools
  • Compensation & Benefits Systems project tools
  • Reward & Recognition Systems project tools
  • Information Systems Architectural project tools
  • Materials & Supplies System project tools
  • Tools & Equipment System project tools
  • Facilities & Grounds System project tools
  • Budget & Headcount Planning System project tools
  • Culture & Consequences System project tools

You could offer these additional service because you either have most of the analysis data gathering and design data generating tools and techniques and the development of technology solutions – to enable you to “also do” these, or it’s a small step to segue to that new capability.

But
But – as always, it depends.

If the Learning Business was originally focused on instruction using a wider look at Performance and Instructional needs within that – then they might be able to pull these other offerings off.

But if they do not, and they’ve been producing instructional one-offs with a narrow view of the entirety of Enterprise processes, developing them one at a time or in larger groups of Modules, then they probably cannot make the transitions to these other new, more sophisticated offerings.

But maybe they can do it.

And perhaps they should have a strategy that has them partnering with one or many other groups – who each have both the experiences and bench strengths in these potential offerings – and then cooperate together versus compete together.

Whatever.

Because – as always, it depends.
It depends on where you are starting from and what’s quickest and easiest to “get to.” Where you can be “most successful most quickly” to produce profits to fund additional expansion of your product/service offerings.
And then it’s on the other 3 in the “4 P’s of Marketing.”

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