Whenever I speak to customers about implementing a new LMS or a mobile application, it takes very little to convince enterprise learning departments about cloud based solutions. It’s in fact preferred over a traditional implementation model. Here are four major points that outline the impact of cloud based solutions on the enterprise learning function.
1. Information Brokers
IT Departments and Enterprise Learning functions have now become information brokers as opposed to custodians of IT systems or content authors. Back in 2003, Nick Carr’s article about the commoditization of IT ruffled some feathers. Amazingly, his predictions have now come true. Implementing proprietary IT platforms no longer provide any differentiation and all competitors now have access to the same product (such as the LMS) through the cloud. L&D departments should focus on working with IT to ensure that employees get the most out of the cloud based applications. In other words, having great content that cannot be distributed, shared, and used when needed is a handicap and a waste of resources.
2. Knowledge Workers
Leading from the above point, the Cloud opens up an opportunity to turn every employee into a knowledge worker through technology and devices. Tablets such as iPad are being deployed on a large-scale to sales teams and field personnel. In most of these instances, the devices are connected to a cloud based learning and performance support application. This is just the first wave in the march towards cloud based applications that will turn employees into knowledge workers.
3. Competitive Advantage
There were times when the organization automatically gained competitive advantage by implementing a LMS or a talent management system. Those days are long gone. Thanks to the cloud, even a small company can afford to implement sophisticated talent management systems as the cloud has allowed economies of scale to be “purchased” on a need basis. Large enterprises that do not act fast in embracing cloud based learning applications or talent management applications are constrained by legacy infrastructure or unable to make use of new modes of information delivery to employees.
4. Data Security
Data security now assumes center stage when rolling out a cloud based learning application or solution. Devices can be lost, information is no longer within the firewalls of an organization, and Governments want to snoop in on data. Putting in place a consistent data security policy in the cloud era is very important and could impact the success of rolling out a cloud based learning application.