Cube Analysis: Skillsoft

Skillsoft (NASDAQ: SKIL) provides e-learning content and software to global enterprises, government, education and small-to-medium sized businesses.

Face 1: Market Focus
Skillsoft’s market focus is on providing e-learning solutions for businesses; although, some universities and government organizations have used Skillsoft products to provide support and training to their employees..

Face 2: Types of Offerings
Skillsoft offers services, content and infrastructure.

Some of the services include consulting services, technical services, solution services, custom development services, and customer support. These services intend to help organizations meet their e-learning objectives. Another service the company offers includes IT certification solutions.

Skillsoft provides companies with the tools and services to author and develop custom content. They have a custom solutions group that creates courseware and they also have tools such as Dialogue, for web collaboration, and SkillStudio, to customize and create courses. Other content offered by the company include book collections or resources, like Books 24×7, and course collections.

Open Learning Services is another service offered by Skillsoft to address Learning Management System (LMS) and Portal Integration.

Face 3: The Buyer
Buyers will be typical of training since the products and services are targeted mostly towards corporations and small-to-medium businesses where learning is bought for the learner with the option of the learner buying for one’s self – say a learner paying fees for one of the Skillsoft certification courses for example. Other buyers may include the government, where learning is bought nationally.

Face 4: Global Markets
Skillsoft’s presence is global and its services appear to be available mainly for countries and clients with excellent internet Infrastructure.

Face 5: Development of the Market
The market supports the import of content and infrastructure and supports export oriented learning technologies and substitution of imports.

Face 6: Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning
Skillsoft offers a variety of products and services which enable them to compete with existing learning systems. Some of their products handle upgrading credentials of employees as well as help support more effective training and development. A blended learning approach to courses helps Skillsoft provide more effective, customized learning and training solutions that respond to the needs of the client.

September 22, 2009   2 Comments

UBC IT Services Analysis

Dodds was confident in his speech and effectively conveyed the capabilities of UBC IT, along with their successes over the past few years. The evidence of UBC IT’s past successes shows that UBC is highly capable of providing students and the university community with the services they need for an enriching learning environment.

Management Team
Dodds emphasizes the importance of formal and informal meetings and how, as a decentralized university, the units and faculties manage to collaborate to develop and provide solutions to the UBC community; different teams within the University help toward the function of IT Services.

Business Model
The business model is feasible and the arguments toward the mission and vision are compelling. Dodds discusses the notion of a global citizenship where the talent pool is organized so everything can come together harmoniously to reach their goals. The trick toward success is to continuously re-evaluate strategies and raise the bar.

Competitive Products
The realistic market size, share and selling price captured are based on enrolment, but more importantly, the reputation of the institution as well as the reliability of the products and services delivered by UBC IT and similar services to support the reputation of UBC as a whole.

Market Readiness
UBC IT clearly has the ability to face the challenges that helps them succeed, particularly since they are driven to continue doing things with success in mind. By bringing together key members and stakeholders in the UBC community, they formulate strategies that ensure the success of their business model.

Technical Innovation
One of the most innovative learning tools to come from UBC was WebCT, proving that the institution has the edge to advance technologically. As well, Dodds discussed going beyond the community with an open source and community source project that will provide benefits to students, faculty and staff at UBC. Dodds did not mention the name of the project but it makes me wonder if he was referring to the Kuali Student System currently in development?

Exit Strategy
UBC IT recognizes success. The annual e-Strategy town hall meetings and release of monthly newsletters are great examples of how valuable decision-making strategies are from different levels within the University community in order to continuously improve products and services.

Overall Investment Status
As an EVA, I would risk my investment capital in UBC IT Services.

September 15, 2009   1 Comment

Royal Roads University OCW

The pitch given by Burgess provided plenty of information about what Royal Roads should do with Open Courseware but did not quite convey how they would effectively overcome risks and achieve success with the project. Throughout the pitch, Burgess presented more factual information rather than clearly pitching why RRU could provide uniqueness in their Open Courseware.

Management Team
Other than mention of a marketing team, there is little evidence of a team in place to execute this plan or which existing teams in the University would or could be used as resources. Providing more information on the teams responsible for executing the plan would have been beneficial in strengthening the pitch for Open Courseware.

Business Model
The idea is feasible but the argument is not so compelling. There is evidence of opportunity and weaknesses but not so much how the University can use its strengths or how RRU will face threats to the idea. In the pitch, Burgess could have focused more on what will make students want to go to RRU or any other university with established open courseware in place? How do the courses from RRU differ from the ones offered by other institutions that are part of the Open Courseware Consortium (OCW) and should these other universities be viewed as opportunities or threats for providing similar learning tools?

Competitive Products
The main competition Burgess identified is MIT, although the other post-secondary institutions that are part of the OCW make the service very competitive. Within five years, MIT was able to grow their open courseware program significantly. As pointed out, if RRU were to do the same, they would have to effectively target and market to students.

Market Readiness
Without knowing exactly how students can or will be drawn into the market, the critical path ahead seems challenging and may take more time than necessary if RRU is not prepared.

Technical Innovation
This pitch did not provide strong evidence of RRU having an edge technically.

Exit Strategy
Burgess makes the destination clear, however the success of the project is brought to question.

Overall Investment Status
As an EVA, I would say at this point in time, unless Burgess could provide further proof that this venture would be successful, an investment cannot be made on this proposition.

September 15, 2009   No Comments

Greetings from Marjorie

Marjorie enjoying a sunny summer day at Canada Place

Summer 2009 at Canada Place in Vancouver

Greetings Everyone!

My name is Marjorie del Mundo and this past summer, I have been working as an Educational Programmer with UBC Student Development to help create the Discover Your Major tutorial for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts. The project is nearing completion and after this, I hope to take a trip to Hong Kong for my friend’s wedding at the end of the month (and meet a couple MET’ers F2F for the first time), enjoy a bit of a break from the world of work, and focus more on school.

ETEC 522 and 540 mark my eighth and ninth MET courses – countdown to May convo!  Unlike many of you, I do not have formal teaching experience and until a few months ago, I have worked in marketing and more specifically, graphic design. Feel free to view my designPortfolio + eduPortfolio. In this course, I hope to explore business ideas in relation to interaction design and educational technology.

It’s great to see some familiar and new names here and I look forward to collaborating and sharing ideas with you all!


September 9, 2009   1 Comment