The Baker's Dozen: Learning

The top 13 providers of learning outsourcing offer a broad array of services and technology.

by HROT Staff

When asked about where the state of outsourced learning services is headed, most of the top providers named in our annual Baker’s Dozen had one thing in mind: integration of learning with talent management. And that’s exactly what many of these companies offer: integrated learning solutions that support HR’s broader human capital strategies.

Some of the vendors here are standalone learning organizations, focused on all of the pillars of learning business process outsourcing (LBPO); others are enterprise providers that offer learning as well as other HR services. So regardless if your preference is for end-to-end delivery or for a narrowly defined point solution, one of the companies here can surely meet that need.

To determine this list, we asked more than two dozen well-recognized service providers to give us their list of top competitors. In addition, we asked their customers to weigh in on quality of service delivery and overall customer satisfaction, among other considerations. The customer data was then used to determine our buyer’s choice recipient.

As always, the Baker’s Dozen serves as a starting point in your search for a learning service providers. There are dozens more who may be the best fit for your organization, so don’t limit your search to this group only. It’s a big market—take advantage of it.


Accenture

Employees Trained*: 1 million

www.accenture.com/learningbpo

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company with net revenues of $19.7 billion for its 2007 fiscal year. One of the largest learning outsourcing providers in the world, Accenture delivers learning in more than 200 countries and provides a full range of learning and knowledge-sharing solutions, from content development and delivery to comprehensive outsourcing of the learning function. The company offers learning BPO services to large organizations as well as those with 3,000 to 15,000 lives.

Client(s): Avaya, BT, Citrix, Telstra, Unilever

Learning Services: End-to-end enterprise learning outsourcing and workforce-specific learning outsourcing solutions, including global program management of the learning function; learning strategy and planning; development and deployment of leading technologies and business processes; proprietary business interlock process to align learning investments to the business and measure the impact of these investments; content design and development; learning delivery; and learning administration.

Most Common Metrics:
Improved productivity; improved speed to competency; increased sales and revenues; improved customer satisfaction; improved compliance; and reduced costs.

ACS Learning Services

Employees Trained*: 2 million

www.acs-inc.com

ACS Learning Services provides end-to-end learning outsourcing services in a flexible, scalable model, allowing customers to contract for select or discrete learning services or for broader, multi-process learning outsourcing solutions. Supporting clients in 140 countries, the company’s preferred customer base includes Global 1000 organizations with more than 10,000 employees; ACS’ largest client has 140,000 employees. It also provides end-to-end HRO services around the world.

Client(s): University of Miami, Kraft Foods, Energy East, Beckman Coulter, CoreNet Global, CaLPERs, and GSK.

Learning Services:
Learning strategy and assessment services including initial performance assessment through monitoring and measurement; content and curriculum services offering more than 700 hours of pre-developed content, including a specialized CFO finance content library, competency development and performance alignment, and third-party content integration; strategic sourcing; learning administration services including event management, tuition management, course and catalog management, forecasting and reporting, learning systems management, and others; learning technology and managed services include a hosted, integrated proprietary LMS, LCMS, and performance management system.

Most Common Metrics: Recognition by industry advisors, learning organizations, and publications; number of active customers in the Fortune 500; global footprint in North America, Europe, and Asia; and number of learning professionals employed.

Convergys Corp.

Employees Trained*: 460,000

www.convergys.com

As one of the top global enterprise HRO service providers, Convergys also offers comprehensive learning solutions in numerous countries. Supported by fully integrated, multi-channel customer service and data centers, Convergys delivers technology and services to nearly half a million employees worldwide to numerous Fortune 500 corporations through its enterprise HRO business as well as its learning point solutions.

Client(s): DuPont, Whirlpool, and State of Texas.

Learning Services:
Administration and operations services include expertise in market-leading learning technologies and execution of learning-specific administration and employee support in addition to billing, scheduling, instructor and facilities management, roster
management, certification and compliance, enrollment, class marketing, and operations/logistics; learning alignment and governance services such as curriculum survey and analysis, evaluation strategy, leadership development, adoption/communication, engagement management, and others; content development includes design and development of solutions, content conversion, integration, maintenance and management, and digital assessment management; delivery solutions; reporting and analytics covering business impact such as learning analytics, managed reporting, performance scorecards and metrics, self-service reporting, and utilization reporting and analytics; and learning diagnostic services such as assessments.

Most Common Metrics:
Input measures that quantify the scope, cost, and volume of training such as total training days provided, training days per employee, cost per training day, cost per employee, cost as a percentage of payroll, programs completed, certifications achieved, instructor
utilization, facilities utilization, etc.


Element K

Employees Trained*: 4.5 million

www.elementk.com

Element K delivers tailored learning solutions with 25 years of experience in training and professional development. Employing a range of products, services, and platform integration options, Element K serves U.S.-based corporations as well as global organizations. Through parent company NIIT, it serves clients in 32 countries and 12 languages. It has translated its e-learning delivery platform, KnowledgeHub, into 10 languages to support custom programs (e-learning and classroom) in multiple countries. Most of the company’s clients are organizations with more than 5,000 employees, and larger clients have 20,000 or more workers.

Client(s): N/A.

Learning Services:
Training products include a catalog with more than 5,000 e-learning courses and virtual labs, 1,300 courseware books, a
complete e-reference library, and a fully hosted learning management system (KnowledgeHub); learning services including strategic consulting, custom content development, technology management (development, integration, branding, and support), learning program administration, and training delivery. In 2007, Element K added virtual classroom and services, physical classroom management services (facilities and instructors), and performance consulting.

Most Common Metrics: Delivery (schedule, milestones), cost, revenue, program utilization, and customer satisfaction.

General Physics Corporation

Employees Trained*: 1 million-plus

www.gpworldwide.com

Founded in 1966, General Physics Corporation (GP) is an international performance improvement company and a provider of workforce training and development. It has provided training services to more than one-third of the Fortune 500 companies. It first began offering learning services in 1986 through an outsourced contract with the U.S. Army and General Motors. GP currently staffs more than 1,600 employees in more than 35 offices around the globe. More than 1,300 employees focus on providing learning services to more than 40 customers, nine of whom are Fortune 100 clients.

Client(s): Undisclosed

Learning Services: Learning technology management includes needs assessment, evaluation, and selection; integration and customization; hosting; and help desk. Curriculum management includes custom training content analysis; design and development (all media, blended learning); training content evaluation, selection and sourcing; vendor management; and course/program management. Operations services cover training administration and logistics; tuition program administration; instructor resource management; training delivery; and call center. Measurement and reporting services include learning analytics; activity, financial, and performance reporting.

Most Common Metrics: Web-based quality system reporting; corrective action reporting; preventive action reporting; and
performance measures.

GeoLearning, Inc.

Employees Trained*: 13 million

www.geolearning.com

GeoLearning’s products and services are used by more than 500 corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Its web-based GeoMaestro and GeoExpress platforms are used by enterprise and mid-market companies to manage all forms of organizational learning—from traditional classroom instruction to online training to self-directed study. In addition, GeoLearning has a broad partnership networks in the industry, with more than 50 complementary, best-of-breed vendors providing customers with end-to-end services.

Client(s):
Ace Hardware; Palm; Adecco; Edward Jones; states of New Jersey, North Dakota, South Carolina, Arizona, Minnesota, and Washington; Realogy; Kaiser Permanente; Hudson’s Bay Company; and Smurfit-Stone Container.

Learning Services: Training administration includes strategic planning, registration services, scheduling, project management, assessment and testing, vendor management, help desk (administration and learner), staff augmentation, best practices, and benchmarking. Learning content services include instructional design, content development and repurposing, graphics design, material fulfillment, portfolio management, translations and localization, content integration services, and documentation. Learning delivery covers instruction, classroom support, surveying, and feedback analysis. Technology includes on-demand/SaaS LMS and LCMS, delivery platform management, e-commerce, authoring systems, technology integration, systems hosting, and security.

Most Common Metrics:
Student/participant program evaluations; pre- and post-testing; transfer of acquired learning to intended behaviors in the work environment; business result metrics such as ROI, increased production, enhanced quality, reduced costs, increased sales, reduced accidents, compliance, etc.; measures of customer satisfaction (internal and third-party surveying).


Hewitt Associates

Employees Trained*: 700,000

www.hewitt.com

Hewitt provides learning administration for 15 clients and support to more than 700,000 employees with training needs. It offers training administration services for several large, complex organizations including brand names such as Sun Microsystems, PepsiCo, Marriott, Wachovia, and several others. This year, it said it will provide learning administration services in support of an estimated 4.3 million enrollments. Furthermore, a study of 11 HRO providers conducted by TPI shows that Hewitt has the largest market share (24 percent) among clients with 10,000 or more employees.

Client(s): Sun Microsystems, PepsiCo, Marriott, Wachovia, and eleven other major HR BPO clients.

Learning Services: Technology services include implementation of hardware and software and ongoing system upgrades/maintenance, and system administration. Course and student learner administration services include support for end-users to learning policies and programs. Learning content management system administration include managing applications to facilitate and streamline the process of designing, testing, approving, and posting e-learning content. Content development services include defining user requirements, designing coding, and testing courses. Vendor management services includes managing invoicing and business relationship with multiple vendors.

Most Common Metrics: Transactions completed within time requirements; transaction accuracy; service request timeliness; and transactions
follow-up in timeliness.

IBM

Employees Trained*: 1-plus million

www.IBM.com

With a minimum client size of 20,000 employees, IBM develops and delivers training in more than 30 languages. The company employs more than 2,000 employees dedicated to providing training services, including, nearly 1,000 learning outsourcing professionals serving 74 countries; more than 600 consultants supporting learning engagements (including HCM consultants); and more than 500 content development specialists. The company also has 600 delivery partners. It delivers more than 18.5 million student days of learning each year through more than 8,000 classroom and e-learning courses.

Client(s):
N/A.

Learning Services: End-to-end learning outsourcing services include learning integrated into talent management outsourcing (performance,
succession, recruiting, compensation, and employee development).

Most Common Metrics: Number of employees served; number of hours of finished content developed; number of platform days provided;
number of training days provided; number of major events coordinated.

Intrepid Learning Solutions

Employees Trained*: 235,000

www.intrepidls.com

Intrepid Learning Solutions provides integrated learning and performance solutions to Global 2000 companies. One of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. (No. 79 on Inc.’s 500, according to Intrepid), it was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Seattle. North American hubs are located in Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco, with additional on-site services at client locations. Most Intrepid clients are major global corporations with significant operations overseas, and services are provided in the U.S., EMEA, Latin America, and Asia Pacific.

Client(s):
The Boeing Company, Microsoft Corporation, Autodesk, Inc., and ASTD.

Learning Services: Learning business process outsourcing (LBPO); strategy, benchmarking and research; analysis, design, and production; technology implementation, integration, administration and hosting management, and support; instructor sourcing and management, facilities management, logistics, and training event administration; and program/project management and vendor management.

Most Common Metrics: Service metrics include the ratio of production hours per course hour, instructor utilization, and proportion of e-learning to ILT as well as per-course measures of completion on time, on budget, and to stakeholder specifications. Participant metrics capture any feedback from or about training participants, including instructor reaction, job relevance, and prediction of future business impact as well as follow up information collected from participants or their managers. Business metrics correlate the relationship between participant metrics and business process outcomes. The logical measure of business impact is the degree to which business processes react positively to training.


Raytheon Professional Services (RPS)

Employees Trained*: 800,000

www.rps.com

A subsidiary of technology giant Raytheon Company, RPS has designed, implemented, and managed some of the world’s largest and longest-running training outsourcing engagements in the commercial sector. RPS is also the key training provider in a consortium that has been awarded what will become the world’s largest and longest-running training outsourcing engagement in the military sector. For more than a decade, RPS has worked with clients in Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America, with a focus in recent years on helping clients rapidly expand their training capabilities in emerging markets such as Russia, China, India, Central Europe, and Mexico. RPS provides services to learners in 70 countries and 28 languages. In 2007, RPS achieved a 96 percent client satisfaction rating.

Client(s): N/A.

Learning Services: RPS delivers a full range of training capabilities, including strategic planning for the training function, design, development, delivery, administration, and measurement. RPS has extensive experience in designing large-scale outsourcing initiatives that include transition plans, governance structures, service level agreements, and business impact measurements. Other services include ability to help clients globally integrate their training function; a patent-pending process for redesigning and maintaining clients’ training curricula; the ability to develop training programs in one language, followed by localization and deployment in more than 20 languages; the ability to help clients develop and refine their financial business case for training outsourcing; and a strong program-management discipline influenced by Raytheon’s defense background.

Most Common Metrics: Metrics related to the performance of training processes (e.g., cost per training event, availability of training at product launch) and metrics related to business impact (e.g., sales volume, customer satisfaction, and time to market for new product).


RWD Technologies

Employees Trained*: 7 million

www.rwd.com

Since 1988, RWD has offered a broad range of integrated products and services, which include end-user training, change management, knowledge management, and operator effectiveness management. RWD’s solutions are used in thousands of organizations globally in industries such as manufacturing, energy, automotive, aerospace, healthcare, life sciences, consumer products, financial, telecommunications, services, higher education, and the public sector. Based in Baltimore, privately held RWD serves Fortune 500 and other employers around the world through more than 1,000 employees in offices in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Kazakhstan.

Client(s):
SAP, Frito-Lay, Hirata, MPHI.

Learning Services:
Industrial technical training development and delivery for automation and controls equipment, control software, engineering techniques, equipment maintenance and troubleshooting, product operation, maintenance, and repair, and manufacturing; training logistics and coordination; training management; catalog of e-learning courses; IT procedure and process training development and delivery; SaaS learning management system; process improvements; and training development and deployment tools.

Most Common Metrics:
customer satisfaction, customer cost savings/cost avoidance, speed to competence, program utilization, instructor evaluation scores, instructor utilization, compliance levels met, fines reduced, safety level stabilized, and increased revenue streams through customer training.

SkillSoft PLC

Employees Trained*: 10-plus million

www.skillsoft.com

SkillSoft PLC is a global SaaS provider of on-demand e-learning and performance support solutions for global enterprises, government, education, and small to medium-sized businesses.

Client(s):
Unisys, ADP, U.S. Army, Administaff, and BearingPoint.

Learning Services: E-learning and performance support solutions for global enterprises, government, education, and small and medium businesses. SkillSoft solutions combine comprehensive e-learning content, online information resources, flexible learning technologies, and support services. Content offerings include business, IT, desktop, compliance, and consumer/SMB courseware collections, as well as complementary content assets such as its Leadership Development Channel video products; Knowledge- Center portals; virtual, instructor-led training services; and online mentoring services. Its Books24x7 offers online access to more than 15,000 digitized IT and business books, as well as book summaries and executive reports.

Most Common Metrics: In addition to hosting three customer events a year, SkillSoft also regularly surveys customers.

The Training Associates Corporation (TTA)

Employees Trained*: 170,000

www.thetrainingassociates.com

The Training Associates specializes in contract and full-time IT and professional business skills instructors. TTA has delivered more than 75,000 classes worldwide, taught more than a half million students in more than 9,000 different courses from the 10,000-plus standard and custom courses in its offering. It has more than 500 TTA trainers regularly deployed, 2,000 on agreement and available for immediate deployment, and 8,000 additional trainers registered. TTA clients include leading technology partners, training organizations, corporations, and higher-education institutions throughout the country.

Client(s):
Microsoft, Element K, New Horizons, Novell, SkillSoft, CompUSA, Security Certified, ExecuTrain, CompTIA, and Kaplan.

Learning Services: Expert training delivery for IT and business professional skills in all modalities and to all industries worldwide; trainers and consultants for any size business initiative, up-skilling, migration, and roll-out; trainers and consultants for proprietary and standard technology roll-outs; trainers for staff augmentation, emergencies, and gaps; small classes and low enrollment classes; catalog of more than 10,000 standard and custom courses.

Most Common Metrics:
Customer satisfaction surveys; Microsoft Gold Certified Partner of Learning Solutions and Metrics That Matter; client utilization and retention rates; client/channel revenue growth; trainer evaluation scores; trainer utilization; and diversity of trainer skills, certification, and learning methodology expertise.