Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Vendor Health Check

We're seeing a lot of renewed vendor activity at the moment which seems to reflect quite overt optimism and aspiration for the market. (Something slightly lacking for a few years after the dot com bubble).

Some of the patterns we're seeing include:

  • Increasing focus by the US-based learning technology vendors on the European market with an increase in local investment in resources and marketing.
    (There are also some similar signs from other international vendors e.g. from Asia-Pacific, and from continental European vendors in the UK market).
  • New market entrants, especially in the sub-enterprise space, often with niche tools leveraging Web 2.0 technology
  • Significant growth in managed learning services, ranging from SaaS/ASP technology platforms through to more comprehensive outsourcing
The e-learning content market is particularly interesting with consolidation amongst the generic and custom content vendors at the high-end, but increasing fragmentation at the bottom-end. I don't believe we yet seen any significant fall out from SkillSoft's acquisition of NETg yet, but the number of niche content vendors we are seeing activity from is increasing significantly.

Some vendor dynamics I'm watching closely are:-

In the technology market: LMS Consolidation/competition at the talent management level, increasing SaaS/ASP delivery in corporates, learning content management technologies and multi-modal content, marginalisation of specialist learning collaboration tools by Web 2.0 technologies, Open-Source platforms, etc.

In the content market: Specialisation and high net value content, content diversification away from e-courses, "rapid" vendors, reengineering supply chains and fragmented buying, changing economics of content production, content validity strategies, etc.

I'd be interested in your views of the above and the general state of the supply-side market ...


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