There are a great many training companies out there, ranging from edtech startups to content companies to comprehensive service providers. While each has its niche, some are finding that partnering with companies in other niches can expand their offerings and, thus their consumer base.
For example, Integrity Solutions recently launched the next generation of its Integrity Selling solution, developed in partnership with digital learning platform Intrepid by VitalSource. Cornerstone OnDemand partners with companies like LinkedIn and Grovo to enable customers to access content on the Cornerstone platform. In fact, LinkedIn has an entire integration partner program to combine its content with the platforms sold by organizations like Docebo. Mercer and edX have a partnership in which Mercer curates catalogues of courses with edX. D2L and Kaplan UK together provide self-paced, personalized learning for the accounting, legal and financial services sector. And just this month, UpsideLMS and BizLibrary and Infor and OpenSesame announced content delivery partnerships as well.
“We are really bullish on this segment of training firms that are truly wrestling with that customer experience that they’re trying to solve for,” says Sam Herring, vice president and general manager of Intrepid by VitalSource. “I think you’ll see more and more training firms like Integrity work with platforms like ours.”
Mike Esterday, CEO of Integrity Solutions, agrees: “Most training providers can’t inject millions of dollars to create, support and update the latest technology. Instead, they should invest in improving their content and how it’s delivered on a platform.” Platforms and content providers each have their own unique capabilities – “understanding how to create behavior change versus knowing all of the current technology” – and partnering helps them maintain their expertise without spreading themselves too thin, trying to be all things to all people.
These partnerships can provide benefits to clients, as well. Esterday says that when content and platform providers partner, it creates “synergistic benefits and expertise” for their combined client pool. Scott Roberts, head of business development at LinkedIn, wrote of the partner program, “We want to help organizations minimize the juggling act of multiple platforms, dashboards and tools while still being able to provide employee access to LinkedIn Learning’s unique content and functionality.” Automatically integrating courses into an LMS also enables learners to search for content and managers to gather and analyze learner data, all without leaving their company’s platform.
“Every organization’s needs are different,” says Christian Gainsbrugh, lead developer at LearningCart, which partners with Skillboosters to deliver its soft skills training. “Frequently, the industry evolves in ways that service providers have to be incredibly agile and flexible to adapt to.” Finding complementary companies to collaborate with can help organizations come up with innovative new solutions they might not otherwise have developed. “Because we have many training firm partners who offer best-in-class digital learning programs on our platform,” Herring says, “we can easily recommend them to our clients, and they can get programs set up very quickly.”
Amit Gautam, founder of UpsideLMS, says, “In today’s multi-device, multi-platform, multi-everything world, no system, tool or software can work in isolation. It’s no different for content.” That’s why “it’s no longer a question of ‘if’ a company needs to work with one provider but rather ‘when’ and ‘how many.’” In fact, Gautam says asking any prospective provider what other companies they partner with should be an outsourcing best practice.
As the need to rapidly upskill large, global workforces becomes more urgent, it will be more important than ever to ensure the partners you work with are fully able to meet your training organization’s needs. By working with training companies that also work with each other, you can gain a synergistic blend of solutions whose benefits may just reap a higher return on your L&D investment.