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Outsourcing Learning
Sunday, August 29, 2004
You didn't need a crystal ball to see this coming. Five years ago, business gurus showed us that profits come to organizations that focus on core and outsource the rest. Don't do your own payroll; don't take your own garbage to the landfill; don't assemble your trucks; stick to the knitting. Outsource! (And I don't mean "offshore" or "near-shore," although that could be the choice.)

On Friday I talked with Chris, Sam, and Heather at Intrepid Learning Solutions. They are dropping the L-guide brand that got them started in order to pour all their energy into learning outsourcing. (They manage training for Boeing. See Brad and Heather's presentation to Emergent Learning Forum last month to grok the dynamics of their business.) They've grown from 10 to 80 FTE by concentrating on outsourcing. Forming a long-term relationship takes a while: it requires the sort of trust that only experience can provide. You take baby steps ("out-tasking") to begin with. As I mentioned to Sam, "You gotta date before you decide to get married."

Emergent Learning Forum dedicated its July meeting to the topic. SRI Learning on Demand is issuing a report on it. Bersin & Associates' latest report is titled The Economics of Outsourcing Training Technology and Operations. T+D will be publishing a series on outsourcing. ASTD says it will effect 50% of major training departments.

Accenture, IBM, and even my Workflow Institute talk about outsourcing learning as if it were already here. So far, I see more smoke than fire. The fire's on the way; IT, call centers, HR, and finance are being outsourced. However, earlier this year, when I asked Accenture for the names of clients who'd outsourced all training to them, I only got one name: Avaya University.

All of which leads me to a release from KnowledgePool. "One of the best-known names in the training and development industry has chosen to focus on its core capability of providing outsourced learning services.... As part of its new focus, the company has launched an 'outsourcing menu' - a list of training functions and projects that it can manage on behalf of clients"

"Outsourcing is an attractive, low risk strategy that enables an organisation to increase capacity, reduce administration costs and accommodate fluctuating workloads," said Rod Edwards, CEO. Low risk? This is the opposite of the message from Intrepid (start small, get to know one another) or Accenture (look for a business partner, not a vendor). One person's outsourcing is another person's out-tasking.

Since outsourcing is so hip, Internet Time Group is getting into the game. Need a report? A white paper? Advice? They are all on the menu here. Tell us what you need. We might be better at it that you are. We'll in-source it for you.


Anonymous Christopher said...

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5:41 PM  
Blogger jay said...

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9:19 PM  
Blogger mia said...

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5:52 AM  
Blogger jay said...

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