Training Businesses: Expectations for 2016

What are your expectations for 2016? More clients, expanding your portfolio, reducing costs? We asked our partners during the latest Product & Services Update webinar and here’s what we learned.

Priorities for 2016

Most of the partners (83%) make it a priority to find more clients. Of course this is no surprise. Also, the majority (61%) of partners are planning on introducing new learning technologies (such as eBooks, eLearning). Focusing on new learning technologies can reduce cost (e.g. there are no printing cost with eBooks or eLearning) but also increase the value you provide (learners receive updates to the course books).

Poll #1: What’s Your Top Priority in 2016?

  1. Portfolio Expansion (56%)
  2. Innovations in Learning Technologies eg. eBooks, eLearning (61%)
  3. Reducing Costs (22%)
  4. Expanding your Client Base (83%)
  5. Maintaining the Status Quo (17%)

Interesting to note is that in 2014, we delivered about 5% of our courseware as an eBook. In 2015, this number has increased to roughly 25%. It’s a clear trend that eBooks are accepted because of the benefits they provide.

Growth Areas for Training Businesses

Another question delivered insight on the growth areas. Our partners see a lot of growth in the transformational areas as 39% of partners list it as a growth area.

Poll #2: Where are You Seeing the Growth Areas in Your Markets?

  1. Emerging Domains – Cloud, IoT, Big Data (17%)
  2. Traditional Domains – ITSM, PPM, Information Security (11%)
  3. Transformational Frameworks: Agile, DevOps, Lean IT (39%)
  4. All of the above (33%)

Arjan Woertman (Head of R&D) who co-hosted the webinar with Sukhbir Jasuja (CEO) commented on this:

Digital transformation is on top of many lists, whether it is from Gartner, Forrester, or IDC. CIO’s are looking at this.  What you see at companies like Netflix and Google, is that the Agile movement is core to any IT work in the organization. Agile work also relates to applying Lean principles, getting rid of waste in processes, or working in a devops-based style. Releasing new features faster by achieving single piece flow in the system.

Sukhbir added:
Digital transformation is definitely a new emerging trend. It’s an area organizations are experimenting with. They are strong movements and we are tuned into it and have done some product development in these area’s and will continue to do so.

Sukhbir expects that traditional areas such as ITIL and PRINCE2 will stay significant for training businesses. Especially with the current developments around ITIL Practitioner and PRINCE2 Agile.

How Can Partners Grow?

During the webinar we discussed how ITpreneurs partners can grow.  Here’s a suggestion for partners who currently offer ITIL:

Infographic on expanding ITIL training with TIPA, Kepner-Tregoe, HDI, KCS, AgileSrcum, PRINCE2Agile, AgilePM, Devops and CCC Cloud Service Managment

Sukhbir commented:
Many of our partners have been emerging from the ITIL domain. As such, there are various options to offer related training. Here are a couple of opportunities to grow:

  • ITIL Practitioner – it will be launched very shortly and we’re setting up TTT programs. We will also be launching more programs related to ITIL, for example RESILIA.
  • Kepner Tregoe – this is an exciting BOK especially if you have an advisory role in the area of incident management and problem management. KT has been noted as one the solutions for problem management since ITIL version 1. We’ve seen lots of good successes from our partners.
  • HDI – I encourage our partners to look at it. The HDI BOK has been around for some time and continues to add new elements that emerge in the market.
  • TIPA – This one is especially relevant for consulting organizations. It has been developed for ITIL processes and has been applied across many large organizations. If you do assessments, process maturity audits, and improvements based on maturity, I’d suggest to check out TIPA.
  • NIST  – NIST Cybersecurity Foundation is a good fit to an existing cyber security training portfolio as well as complementary to IT service management, and security architecture courses.

Note on ITIL Practitioner

Note that the launch of ITIL Practitioner is the largest credential launch since 2008. It will help people who now stop at ITIL Foundation. It will help people learn how to use ITIL and implement it in their organization. Training providers will be able to encourage more Foundation certificate holders to take the advanced program. We can combine ITIL Practitioner with ITIL Foundation so that partners can offer a 4 day program.

Arjan added:

  • Lean IT Association (LITA) – LITA was founded in 2015 and offers Lean IT Foundation and Lean IT Kaizen which are now available and received good results. The power of LITA is that it promotes one single Lean IT framework which is open and. We expect a lot more when the leadership and coach certs will become available as it created a nice career path.
  • Cloud Credential Council (CCC) – The CCC has been around for some time now and in the Service Management program becomes popular among the ITSM practitioners.
  • Secure Coding / Secure programming – This area is suitable for the more technical training providers. We are now offering a complete portfolio of courses in this area.

Increasing Revenues

When asked whether or not our partners expect clients to invest more in training in 2016, the majority (63%) believes they will.

Poll #3: Do You Expect Your Clients to Invest More in Training in 2016?

  1. Yes (41%)
  2. No (26%)
  3. To Some Extent (22%)
  4. Don’t Know (11%)

Sukhbir suggested that to get clients to invest more in training you have to show the value you can provide. You can move out of traditional areas and figure out what would fit the needs of your customers. IT organizations are transforming and so there areas you can offer training for, e.g. Agile, Software Testing, Governance, etc. Since we launched over 300 titles this years, we focus on making sure we have the right training content available.

Arjan suggested that to increase revenues, training businesses can also choose to offering eLearning. With low operating cost and seamless delivery, it’s easy to start. Here are some of the frameworks we have eLearning available for.

How Training Businesses Can Increase Profits in 2016

Increasing revenues is important, but it’s important to also make sure you make a healthy margin. A couple of strategies were discussed during the webinar to do so:

Sukhbir:
We are expanding our portfolio of training materials, quickly. One of the things we launched to help training partners to adopt new products is the Early Adopter Program. It’s designed to help our partners understand the content, the value it provides to customers and be able to ready / feel comfortable in adopting it. The result is that our partners are able to represent the content and then to deliver it. We offer the following as part of the Early Adopter Program, note that it’s a free program to help keep our partners margins healthy:

  • Free TTT
  • Free Exam
  • Free Instructor Guide

Arjan:
As already mentioned, the adoption of digital delivery can reduce cost and the cost of printing and shipping is removed. The eBook can be downloaded and printed by the students. Students also receive updates to the course materials.

Another way to increase profits is to affiliate through ITpreneurs.
We make it easy for partners to work with any of these organizations below. Where we become a front end and taking away hassle of reporting, audits, administration, accreditation and fees. Partners can jump on new programs quickly, by becoming an affiliate though ITpreneurs.

Need More Inspiration?

Curious about more possibilities for 2016? Download a white paper which lists 10 key questions any training business should answer. Alternatively, review the presentation below.


Corjan Bast
Corjan is a creative innovation specialist, disguised as a Marketing Manager as part of the ITpreneurs marketing team. He started asking “why” at the age of four and has never stopped asking since. He strives to continuously improve the marketing efforts at ITpreneurs and is a strong advocate of “humanizing the brand”. He’s an active runner, cyclist and sailor and lives in Leiden, the Netherlands.