Cegos distribution and partners update
As we go into 2016, Pascal Debordes, Director of Channels & Alliances, Global at Cegos, shares an update on Cegos’ distribution business and plans for the year ahead. He discusses developments relating to the distribution network and new ways of getting value from being part of the Cegos distribution network – and highlights some of the achievements of distributors.
What do you think will be the main drivers for the e-learning catalogue business in 2016?
Pascal Debordes: The e-learning catalogue business is operating in a fast growing market. It is expanding not only in North America, which was an early adopter of e-learning catalogues and remains the biggest marketplace, but also throughout the entire world, including South America, EMEA, Africa and Asia-Pacific. It will be important to address all these markets.
E-learning catalogues are increasingly popular with small and medium size enterprises. At one time it was mainly large global companies who were interested in e-learning catalogues but in 2015 we observed that small and medium size businesses were showing more interest in learning catalogues as they realized the added value that is possible and the economic benefits and cost efficiencies of buying into that type of solution. Previously, SMEs thought that bespoke e-learning was too expensive for them but now, using an e-learning catalogue solution, they can deliver
e-learning solutions ranging from desktop IT and language e-learning to, increasingly, soft skills.
The growing interest in mobile e-learning solutions has also become a major market driver.
E-learning content is now available for tablets, creating an effective and accessible e-learning solution in a world where employees are increasingly mobile and working patterns are more flexible. Mobile learning delivery will be key in 2016.
What are Cegos’ main strategic objectives for 2016?
Pascal Debordes: Cegos will be meeting the increasing demand for mobile e-learning with the launch of mobile solutions and responding to the growing interest in solutions from small and medium size businesses. We intend to increase the number of partners we have. Cegos works with two main types of partners – global partners who are technology providers and sell our e-learning content throughout the world and local partners who tend to be e-learning companies who resell our content in a limited number of territories. We recruited new partners in 2015 and plan to recruit even more in 2016. We have certainly not yet reached the stage where we do not need additional partners and we aim to continue to recruit more partners to grow the business.
Cegos intends to focus on enriching our offering. We plan to launch new solutions and new technology – but any new solutions will continue to offer Cegos’ main strategic differentiators. Attractive content is crucial and Cegos will continue to work hard to ensure content is appealing to users throughout the world.
The quality of the content is equally important. As a global e-learning leader, Cegos can offer significantly higher quality content than that offered by the growing number of inexperienced new entrants to the corporate training market who are just beginning to develop their content. If a company wants to train its employees to improve their skills they rely on quality content. Potential clients looking for e-learning solutions put the quality of training content high on their list of priorities and Cegos has the edge over the competition in this respect. Too many competitors rely on sourcing generic content, while Cegos develops its own high quality content in-house.
High quality training solutions also need the best technology to deliver the training effectively – so that learners complete the training having actually improved their skills. Cegos has the in-depth expertise required to deliver this. The key is to get subject matter experts, who are often older people experienced in their field, to work effectively with young technology-focused instructional designers to create the best output.
In a global market, localization is important. Cegos solutions may be tailored effectively for different sectors, territories and cultures. Many suppliers promise localization features but their offerings are disappointing. Cegos, by contrast, plans to continue to create localised content that works because they are adjusted in partnership with local experts.
Can distributors get involved in the development of new solutions?
Pascal Debordes: Yes. Distributors played a valuable part in the development of new solutions in 2015, working with Cegos to test a number of prototypes for the Cegos Mobile catalogue. Cegos will continue to work with distributor partners to test new solutions, when testing is needed. In 2016, Cegos plans to expand its mobile solution offering and will be looking to its distributor network for support with testing the new solutions. We believe that keeping distributors in the loop is the best way to develop a solution that will meet the needs of customers.
How will Cegos add value to the distribution network?
Pascal Debordes: Cegos’ new distributor website will deliver real added value in 2016. It will provide all the information distributors might need about Cegos solutions as well as all the latest updates on developments at Cegos. Further announcements about this new portal will follow.
Case studies featuring successful implementations around the world will celebrate distributor successes and provide information about reference case studies that may be shared with customers and prospects that are interested in implementing Cegos solutions. We will also inform distributors about Cegos market plans and launches.
Likewise, we will propose webinars that will share information with and inspire a growing number of partners, many of whom will be working with Cegos on testing new solutions and developing new markets. Distributors attending some webinars will be able to pose questions directly to the Cegos experts who are creating the solutions, from subject matter experts to designers. Marketers will also be on hand to support resellers with web marketing campaigns and share tips and good practice with partners.
Cegos has distributors in North America, South America, EMEA, Asia-Pacific and Africa and plans to recruit more distributors across all these regions. Teams in Paris and Lisbon provide marketing, technical, content development and communication support globally. A team in Singapore supports partners from India to Australia, while a team in Santiago, Chile develops Business jointly with our distributors in Latin America, in co-ordination with the European teams. Cegos offers effective support and added value to both existing and new distributors wherever they are in the world.
How are Cegos’ best performing distributors achieving their sales figures?
Pascal Debordes: Since 2011 Cegos has grown continuously and we grew by 30% in 2015 alone. We have an ambitious development plan for further growth in 2016. We know that we are growing because our distributors are performing well.
I visit all the Cegos partners at least once a year and when I visit the best performers I am always impressed by their excellent standard of product knowledge. This is a critical success factor, which makes the difference between high performers and those distributors who would like to improve their performance. High performers also tend to have high levels of market intelligence. They are abreast of key market trends and are ready and able to provide customers with a consultative approach. They are not doing a hard sell on product, but rather are providing consultancy for a solution sale and adding value. This is not just about persuading customers of the benefits of a Cegos solution but it is also about working with the customer to make sure their deployment is successful.
Many client organisations focus on specific skills gaps they want to address, perhaps as a result of designing a competency framework or perhaps they have undergone an analysis of the skills they are looking to reinforce. The best performers in the Cegos distribution network work with the client to establish a clear connection between the prospective client’s objectives and what the Cegos catalogue can offer to meet those objectives. This makes it easier for the prospective client to select the Cegos distributor as the chosen supplier of its e-learning catalogue, if it can demonstrate clearly to stakeholders how the solution aligns with its strategy.
Cegos’ best performing distributors all work closely with us and keep in regular contact, to make sure they have the most up-to-date information on the solution. We are also happy to work with our distributors to help suggest a creative solution that will meet the individual needs of a client. We invite each and every distributor to get in touch with us and, going into 2016, we look forward to welcoming all our distributors to our new website where they will find the latest information and support.