Business software vendor SAP is ramping up the focus on learning management but admits its existing consulting partners lack the skills to offer much-needed services to customers.
Matilda Venter, e-education manager at SAP UK, told vnunet.com the company was still working out how to position its learning management system (LMS) in the market, but warned that services would be critical to success.
"Services will usually be business analysis - what is the current learning strategy and how does it support business objectives and integration with your people management approach," Venter said.
A 3:1 ratio of services to software licences would apply to SAP e-learning implementations as a general rule, Venter said. "You need a process in place to keep that focus. The change management issue is very important. It's like any big system - it requires a change in the hearts and minds of people," she added.
The SAP Learning Solution - a learning portal, an LMS system, an authoring environment and a content management system - was launched in July this year as part of SAP's HR module to support and manage training.
A 'commercial' edition of its Learning Solution due out next year will allow existing SAP HR module customers to support learning across the extended enterprise and offer training and education to their suppliers, customers and channel partners.
David Wilson, managing director for analyst eLearnity, said that service delivery capability was still an issue for the market.
"Although a lot of the consulting partners have a strong story around e-learning they don't do a lot of stuff at the strategy level," Wilson said.
Although SAP was about 18 months behind rival enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor Oracle in product terms, Wilson predicted that in the long term SAP HR module customers would opt for an integrated SAP LMS over a best-of-breed Saba or Docent-style system.
"All ERP vendors are positioning themselves in the same place - to provide an integrated suite of applications around people issues.
"Integration is an issue and that's where the suites could win out in the long term but the functionality isn't necessarily there yet. And all the time, the Sabas and Docents are moving forward," Wilson said.
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